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Sometime you may find yourself with some seeds that are well out of date but you may still want to try and grow them either because they are rare, scarce or of unknown origin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


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.






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.


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


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

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


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.




Green compost in a No Dig Bed

One of the problems with starting a No Dig bed is that to make one you need either well rotted home made compost or well rotted farmyard manure both of which you may not have if your new to gardening or live in a town or city

Most councils are now obliged to run a “Green waste” recycling scheme and as long as they conform to British Standards Institution’s Publicly Available Specification 100:20  11 there perfect for garden use

Every batch of compost made to this standard is analysed and tested for impurities and contaminants by an independent laboratory, and all procedures are fully documented part of this test is the germination and growing of Tomatoes to test for  contaminants


The result is a compost perfect for all gardens, that can also be used as an environmentally-responsible alternative to peat but with a higher PH so also help cut costs by reducing use of artificial fertilizer and lime




Teaching you how to grow your own vegetables and fruit