Growing Climbing Peas


Latest Update 7th April 2017.

Climbing Peas
  • You can't beat organic peas harvested from your own garden and eaten the same day, they are simply delicious.
  • They are also very nutritious containing lots of vitamins and minerals and are a great source of dietary fibre.
  • When harvested, peas lose their sugars very quickly, so its best to cook or freeze them for storage without delay. I often snack on them straight off the vine which is the best way to get high nutrient value.
  • I use aerated compost tea to control powdery mildew on all my susceptible plants including peas.
  • I usually grow two double row of climbing peas in a Garden Ecobed starting them in fibre pots in the EcoPropagator and transplanting them when they are about 75mm tall.
Description.
  • Variety:                                                    Greenfeast. 
  • Family group:                                           Fabaceae.   
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Legumes.  
  • Garden bed type:                                      Garden Ecobed.  
  • Recommended soil pH:                             6.0 - 7.5.  
  • Minimum sun per day:                              5 hours.   
  • Plant spacings (centres x rows):                150 x 200 mm.
  • Planting Depth:                                         20 mm.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     9 - 11 weeks.
  • Good companions:                                    Potato. radish. carrot. turnip.  
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate. 
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
 
Nutrition.
  • This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.   
  • It is a good source of protein, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin and manganese.  
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Growing Conditions: 
  • Peas grow best in full sun, but they enjoy cool conditions.  
  • They need well structured, rich, moist organic soil.
Soil Preparation.
  • Clear space for peas in March by removing debris and spent mulch from the soil.
  • Add a 60mm layer of home made compost, and cover it with 50mm of fresh straw mulch.
Growing Instructions.
  • In April, sow 20 climbing pea seeds in Jiffy (fibre) pots.
  • Sow them 20mm deep in organic potting mix in their pots and soak them in dilute seaweed extract for 30 minutes.  
  • Transfer them to an EcoPropagator and bury them up to their rims in the propagator's compost wicking medium.
  • Set up one of the Ecobed's climbing frames in the prepared bed, and when the peas are about 100mm tall, plant them out in their jiffy pots.
  • They should be buried up to their rims in the soil, and watered just once to consolidate the soil around them.
  • Set them 150mm apart in 2 rows located on opposite sides of the climbing frame and rows 200mm apart.
  • Apply a foliar spray of aerated compost tea every 4 weeks with all the other edible plants.
Repeat Sowing.
  • In May, sow another 2 rows of peas as described above. 
Harvesting and storage
  • Pick the peas as soon as they fill the pods.  
  • Use a pair of scissors to snip the pods off the vine thereby avoiding damage. 
  • Pick them when you are ready to use them, as their sugars start turning to starch within a few hours.  They will stay sweet if you shell, blanch (2 minutes) and dry them as soon as they are picked, and store them in a freezer in resealable plastic bags.
  • If you have a glut, allow some to fully mature on the vine.  When the pods have all dried fully, remove the vines from the bed (I cut them off at the base leaving the roots and nitrogen fixing nodules in place).  Hang the vines to fully dry out and then thresh them to recover the peas.
  • Store the dried peas in a covered container until you want to use them.  Use them in soups or stews after soaking them in water for a day or two.  
  • If they are open pollinated, you can use some of your dried peas as seed for next years crop, but be careful you don't grow more than one variety at the same time.  You could get cross pollinated seeds of uncertain quality.
Organic Pest Control.
  • Slugs and snails.
    • Self adhesive copper tape bonded around the base of your Ecobeds protects plants against slugs and snails.
    • If these molluscs get into your Ecobed as eggs laid in your compost, kill them with organically acceptable iron based snail pellets.  You should only need to use a small number of pellets.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.
    • Aerated compost tea helps plants resist whitefly damage.
    • If they manage to get established despite the tea, control them by spraying your crop thoroughly with organic neem oil (Eco-neem in Australia) as early in the whitefly's life cycle as possible.
    • Spray again in a few days to ensure second generation whitefly do not survive.
  • Powdery mildew.  
    • A monthly foliar spray of aerated compost tea is a useful deterrent against powdery mildew. 
    • A solution of 1 part cows milk to 9 parts water makes a reasonably effective organic pesticide against powdery mildew.  However, it needs to be applied early before the fungi gets well established, and repeatedly to keep it in check.
    • As a last resort spray the foliage thoroughly with an organic horticultural fungicide (Eco-fungicide in Australia).
  • General:
    • Regular applications of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of plants by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  They defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.