Is there a better way to make a house your home than to grow your very own garden? Not only is it a learning experience that adds beauty and nature to your place, but it also results in an abundance of your favourite herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Gardening is a great hobby to take up when you have some extra time on your hands. You will find that it’s an ideal way to relieve stress, kickbacks, and have some quiet moments to yourself. The act of nurturing a plant and then reaping the fruit of your hard work is much more rewarding than you think!
You might be wondering, “How do I get into this hobby? Where do I start? What are the easiest plants to take care of?” We would recommend starting your garden with a few flowers, herbs or spring onions that are easy to cater to. And if you want to step into the hobby of growing vegetables, what better option is there than green peas? They’re easy to sow and a very rewarding plant to reap since you can cook your favourite pot pie, stew, or soup with your very own produce. Read on to find a detailed guide on how to grow your own garden peas.
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Peas, scientifically known as Pisum sativum, are edible pods in green or yellow, usually grown in cooler regions. Even though peas are categorized as fruits biologically, the layman terms them as veg. Peas have a slightly sweet taste that pairs perfectly well with fruits, other vegetables, and different kinds of meats.
Even though the word pea is used for dried legumes, there are three main kinds of fresh peas that you can find. Peas can be categorized into:
- Garden peas: Also known as English peas, they have a thicker inedible pod to be opened to reveal the peas. These peas are neutral to sweet flavour, making them ideal for pies, soups, and baked savoury goods.
- Sugar snap peas: They have a thicker yet edible pod that contains small-sized peas. These peas can be eaten raw or incorporated into cold salads.
- Snow peas: These are flat pea pods with tiny peas inside. Snow Peas fall more into the sweet peas category. They are also called Chinese peas as they are commonly used in Chinese stir-fries.
These main types of peas can be further divided into more cultivars, depending on the region and technique of growth.
When to plant your peas
As we mentioned above, the pea plant cannot survive harsh summers. It is an autumn/winter (or early spring) plant, but you can implant the pea seeds in early summer. If you have an indoor garden with a controlled atmosphere and soil, you can plant peas any time of the year. However, it is always recommended to let the peas grow in a natural atmosphere for the best taste and nutritional value.
If you live in a warmer region, it is best to sow peas by the end of the summer. Some varieties of peas take more time to grow than others. For example, English peas take a bit longer to grow than sugar snap peas and snow peas. In most varieties, you will usually have three months from sowing peas to harvesting peas.
Preparing the planting site
The first step is to prepare the soil of the area where you will grow your own peas. Here is how to do it:
1. Soil temperature
The temperature of the soil matters a lot when it comes to planting peas. Even though peas are a winter crop, this does not mean you can implant the seeds into wet and cold soil. The soil has to be warm and well-drained to start the germination process. If your planting site is not warm enough, then alter the temperature of the soil using cloches, polythene or mulch. The warmer the soil, the quicker the seed will germinate. Then, you can sow seeds in the full sun to harvest peas earlier in the winter season.
2. Trellis for support
Peas grow in two different forms: bush and climbers. The dwarf variety, like the bush plant, has a sturdy structure to support itself, while the taller varieties need support to grow tall. A trellis, chicken wire wall, pea sticks or mesh net can provide a platform for the plant to climb onto. You can also use 1.2-1.5 m tall branches of trees and tie the growing pea plant onto the branch with the help of a twine.
3. Weed Prevention
Ensure no weeds are growing around the planting site, as it can hinder the growth of your pea plant. Pea seedlings are very delicate and can be taken over by weeds or any other invasive plant. Clear your garden of wild weeds and plant invasive crops like mint and radish in a separate space to save your pea plant. You can also use raised beds to plant your peas in order to avoid any contact with weeds.
How to plant your peas
Once you have your soil prepared, the next step is to start sowing seeds. These are the few steps you need to follow when planting peas:
1. Soak the seed
Soak the pea seeds in water overnight to speed up the germination process. It will allow the sapling to come out easier and faster in the right soil. Stabilize your soil with mulch made of organic matter to promote the healthy growth of your crop.
2. Keep it well-spaced
Proper spacing is critical if you want to grow different types of peas in your garden. Peas pollinate on their own so if you want to avoid cross-breeding, ensure a distance of 10 meters in each plant.
3. Sow them deep
When you sow seeds, dig a hole that is 2.5 cm deep to provide the best growing condition to your plant. Most people throw the seeds around the garden and wait for the plant to grow. It can result in the seeds getting damaged or dried out. Also, sow your seeds 5 to 6 cm apart, so they have enough room to grow.
4. Water Well
The best tip to grow your peas faster and more efficiently is to keep the soil moist. Once the plant starts producing flowers, it needs water to grow the pea pods to the fullest. So, water your plant thoroughly once a week or whenever the soil begins lacking moisture.
Caring tips for your peas
Growing peas in your garden can be quite rewarding as you get to enjoy plenty of meals with your homegrown crop. However, it won’t be possible without giving your plant ample care. Here are a few care tips that will help your pea plants grow healthier and more fruitful:
- Use a good anti-pest spray to keep your crop free from pea moths, aphids, nematodes, and other creepy crawlers. Anti-fugal medicine for your crops is also necessary to develop resistance to Downey and powdery mildew.
- Do not overwater your plant, as you do not want the pods to rot. Water only once a week and let the plant grow to slowly utilize the moisture collected from the soil.
- When you are harvesting peas, start picking the pods from the bottom of the plant to utilize the most mature ones first. Picking early peas will allow the mature peas to rot and damage the plant in the long run.
As we mentioned before, gardening can be a surprisingly therapeutic and rewarding hobby. There is really no reason not to take it up. With only a few moments a day in your garden, you’ll end up having your very own supply of herbs, vegetables, and fruits; that’s the magic of gardening! Pea seeds are ideal for sowing this season (yep, don’t wait for next year) since you can reap them quickly and use them in your autumnal soups, stews, and potpies. Follow our detailed guide on how to grow peas all by yourself to add yet another member to your plant family.