Self sufficiency post #1 and it’s all about the Peas really. I’ve always been quite successful with peas in the Spring. I start with the rush of enthusiasm experienced by many gardeners and sow trays and trays of peas. By the time these peas appear I remember to sow some more but then summer shimmies along and I get caught up with other tender greens seeking my attention and no more peas. So what’s the change for this year?
This year, I’m sowing every two weeks from August till I get sick of peas (!) and I’m growing both dwarf and climbing varieties. I have Alderman Tall climbing, Snow Pea Goliath, Sugar Snap Dwarf and Blue Shelling.
The reason for trying out the climbing varieties is that, unlike the dwarf varieties, the climbers will fruit, then grow a bit, then fruit, then grow a bit and finally give you a third lot of peas. Whereas the dwarf varieties give you one lot of peas and then shut up shop. The dwarfs really put the pressure on for successional sowing but the climbing peas allow a little room for error! I’ll try them both and see what happens.
You may have read about sowing peas in old bits of guttering? It does sound like a good idea. I tried it once. It wasn’t a good idea for me. You really need to be an octopus to pull this one off. Two hands to hold the guttering and two hands to gently slide the peas and soil into the ground. As I cautiously manoeuvred the guttering from the greenhouse to the pea bed I managed to knock down a willow obelisk, trip over the dog and lose a third of the peas that I’d painstakingly grown. Perhaps I’m just clumsy. Perhaps you don’t really need guttering to grow peas. I sow 6-8 peas in little plastic trays (2 trays per variety) with good seed compost. If there’s one thing that peas don’t like it’s over watering.
You’ll know when you’ve done this because the pea seeds go mouldy. You can see in the photo above some mouldy Alderman Tall Peas looking a bit worse for wear. It happens. Don’t be disheartened just grow a few extra peas to allow for casualties.
Here’s what I’m sowing in the first half of August.
Pea Alderman Tall Climbing
Pea Blue Shelling
Dwarf Sugar Snap
Snow Pea Goliath
Beetroot Bull’s Blood
Broccolli Tender Stems
Broccolli Sprouting Summer Purple
Radish Pink Beauty
Eggplant Long Purple
Eggplant Purple Gem
Lettuce Lollo Bionda
Lettuce Little Gem
Rhubarb Cherry Red
So when can I expect some food from this sowing session? Well, I’ll have some radish next month in September followed by spinach, baby beetroot and lettuce and of course peas in October! Eggplant will be a lovely surprise in February and rhubarb won’t be ready for 15 long months. It doesn’t seem much does it but if I continue sowing little and often through the year the menu will increase!