Category Archives: Peas

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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Pre Germinating Peas or Beans

Pre germinating Peas or Beans

Sometime you may find yourself with some seeds that are well out of date but you may still want to try and grow them either because they are rare, scarce or of unknown origin

When it come to Peas or beans one of the ways to get the best germination and also avoid lots of wasted compost or space on a propagating bench is to pre-germinate then before sowing

Technique

Take your seeds and in a container cover them with luck warm water and leave somewhere like the kitchen for 12 hours during which time the outside coating of the seed will soften and allow moisture to enter swelling the seed which encourages the seed to germinate.  Any that don’t discard at this point

Drain the seeds and place a piece moisture retentive cloth like that has been dampened but is not soaking wet into the bottom of a plastic container.

Place lid on the container and keep at around 75 degrees as we want to achieve quick germination and peas are affect quite a lot by temperature

Germination temperature for peas : 40 F to 85 F – Days to emergence: 9 to 13 –

Optimum around 75 F.

9 days when soil is 60 F.

13 days at 50 F.

It may take as long as 4 to 5 weeks at 40 F.

As soon as the peas show the first emerging shoot carefully pick them out of the container and place them into short root trainers pots of Multipurpose compost  roughly 2cms deep and cover with more compost.

 

 

 

 

When the peas emerge grow them on in a cold frame till around 5cms high when they can be planted out into a growing bed.

 

 

 

 

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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 construct a Pea Harp

Pea Harps are an attractive alternative way of supporting your growing Peas, they are quick and easy to make with the benefit at the end of the growing season the foliage and the supporting natural string can all be composted.

You will need  9 Bamboo canes about 6ft 0r 7ft  Long

1  Large ball of natural string Twool is great

sharp knife

 

This film shows how to tie a clove hitch knot

Heres a classic Bean Wigwam

 

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