Category Archives: pea harp

The best tasting Mangetout for home gardeners

Until you have grown Mangetout peas and eaten them fresh you may wonder what all the fuss is about
Mangetout is French for “eat it all” and comes from the fact that the whole pea – including the pod – is eaten.

All peas are well worth the effort of growing, but mangetouts and sugar snaps  are totally different from shop bought  being particularly sweet and crisp

the reason for this is most peas are picked and harvested and frozen by very high tech machines so retain there sweetness were as mangetout  and sugar snap are harvested and packed which allows them to lose there sweetness

this is them compounded by having the ends snipped of and this allows them to dry out as well so they lose there crispness

for these reasons if you are going to grow peas or only have room for one pea and they are pretty enough to be grown in the flower border I would recommend these varieties

‘Carouby de Maussane’ Originating in Maussane near Avignon in France, not only is the flavour superior, this beautiful plant has several unique or unusual traits and clearly differs from modern conventional peas.

The vine of ‘Carouby de Maussane’ are exceptionally beautiful and  you could grow it in the flower border just for its beauty.

The pods that are thin, flat and wide and grow to 12cm (5in) or so long, they are very sweet and tender. They are at their best harvested when the peas are barely showing, but remarkably they retain their flavour even when they reach a huge size and don’t develop any fibre layer at any stage.

 

‘Swiss Giant’ A real gourmet treat. Old French variety not in fact Swiss!  Flat, slightly curved pods which are incredibly sweet. Classified as a snow pea, but not at all like Chinese snow peas. and also called a snow pea  ‘Snow pea Gigante Svizzero’

Grows to around 160cms so a tall growing pea and needs good support either using a Pea Harp or a homemade netting support

Pick when the peas have just started to swell for best taste.  Very long harvest period

Both can be sown Sow: from February – mid May and mid September – end November for overwintering and early peas

 

 

 

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Growing Mangetout Peas

With Mangetout Peas at your local greengrocer so expensive that they are practically priced per pod, there would seem to be a good cause for growing them at home they are also called Snow Peas in some parts of the world
Mangetout is French for “eat it all” and comes from the fact that the whole pea – including the pod – is eaten.

Interestingly the Mangetout peas you buy are unfrozen so until you have grown your own Mangetout you will never know the true amazing crunch and gorgeous sweet flavour. Perfect for eating raw in salads, gently steaming or using in stir fry’s.

To get the sweetest flavour, peas are best when picked young and cooked within 30 minutes of harvest, before the sugar has turned to starch.  Supermarkets sometime offer the ‘convenience’ of pre-trimming them and all this achieves is to make them dry up quicker.

We have got used to our peas tasting fresh when we eat them and its due the modern techniques that are used to harvest them, they are harvested and frozen by the machine as it crops the Peas so they are perfectly fresh but this doesn’t happen with Mangetout as they cannot be picked in this way.

One of my favourite mange tout peas is ‘Carouby de Maussane’  – originating in Maussane near Avignon in France, this is a beautiful variety in every way.  It is fantastic for culinary use, it produces vigorous vines 3-5ft tall.  ‘Carouby de Maussane’ could merit its place in your flower border grown up obalisks or supports  as the vines are covered with beautiful lavender and purple flowers and the leaf axils are stained with dark purple.  The pods that are thin, flat and wide and grow to 12cm (5in) or so long, they are very sweet and tender. They are at their best harvested when the peas are barely showing, but remarkably they retain their flavour even when they reach a huge size and don’t develop any fibre layer at any stage.  Best harvested when the peas are barely showing inside the pods.

Mangetout freeze well so better to pick regularly and freeze any excess as this will keep the plants producing.

Sowing

Sow seeds from the beginning of April to mid-June for outside crops. I start mine in rootrainers or modual and protect from mice as they are notorious in ‘sniffing out’ seed of this nature!  Interestingly once germinated Mice are not a problem

Planting

Peas require a sunny, position with well-drained but rich soil with a neutral pH, so if yours is at all acidic, the ground should be limed  or apply calcified seaweed a few weeks before sowing.

If your No Dig growing topdressing with “greenwaste”  compost can work very well.  Plant out in double rows about 25cm apart, leaving 7.2cm between plants within the row and around 90cms between the double rows

Plants are tall upto 1.5m  and need to be grown on a pea harp or along canes or netting or tradionally into ‘pea sticks’ and will take around 65 day to start to crop.  To maintain the peas  growth Water well if the weather is dry

Harvesting:
Regular picking is essential for a truly fresh pea. The more you harvest, the more they will produce. Pick from the bottom of the plant working upwards.

Over wintering

As the name snow peas would suggest you can

sow in September for overwintering in tunnels or greenhouses

Pests

Slugs and snails will cause damage to young plants

Protect young plants from pigeons with netting

Pheasants love young pea plants and will dig up the plants to eat the sprouted seed so take precautions (especially with Autumn sowings) if you have pheasants in your area.

 

 

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How to tie a Clove hitch knot

You will find a Clove hitch the most useful knot to use around the garden and perfect when constructing supports for growing climbers like Peas, Beans ,Squash, Tomatoes Melons and Cucumbers.

Pass the end of the rope around the pole. Continue over the standing end and around the pole a second time. Thread the end under itself and pull tight to form the clove hitch.

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Bean Wigwams and Planting Climbing Beans

In this video I will show you how to build a simple wigwam support using the right knots that will  strengthen the structure and then plant out my climbing bean plants.

Its not to late to sow beans directly into the ground in your vegetable beds, and there are a huge variety of beans that will give you a great crop.  Beans are a super crop that can be used in so many ways, as green beans, as mature beans and for store cupboard items too.  A real all round vegetable that is versatile and tasty.


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