So far this year my time in the garden has been spent on clearing out junk, general tidying up, discovering which plants survived the winter (and Storm Doris) and preparing for the coming year. Plotting what I am going to grow is for me one of the most fun parts of the process. Sorting my seed packets, and sifting through wrappings of kitchen towel containing varieties of seed which, if I’m lucky, I have remembered to label.
Today I sowed my first seed of the year. I went for peas (Early Onward variety) simply because that is what I have already. In pervious years I have bought so much seed I find myself overrun. I have no room to sow everything, and though some of them will find their way in seed swaps or donated in other ways, my main goal is to use up what I can.
The pea seeds are actually a little old. Their questionable viability means a crop isn’t guaranteed, but my thinking is that if I sow early enough I can determine whether they will succeed and if not, I still have time to get more, fresh seed. Either way a second sowing can be made in mid-June when risk of damage from the Pea Moth has passed.
To give them the best chance of germination I have sown them into trays which wil be kept in the greenhouse until they are strong enough to go outside to be planted into the soil.
Early Onward are a popular variety as they generally yield well, are quite reliable, and are quite sweet and tasty. This variety we like to to eat raw, possibly even more than cooked so they often don’t make it into the kitchen at all! They grow to a height of about 60cm (24in) and a spread of 25cm (10in), supported by canes and netting. If left to trail across the ground they are at risk of disease, also training them up canes makes it easier to pick the pods.
This is an open pollinated variety so you can save seeds from the plant and they will come true to type next year. Seeds are saved by simply leaving some of the pods on the plant until they have hardened and dried. Then, on a dry day, pick the pods and store them in a dry place for a few days, then remove the pea seeds from the dried pods, discard any that are blackened, and store them in preferrably paper such as an envelope. Remember to also store them in a location where they can not be reached by snails (who like to eat the paper) or mice (who will gladly scoff all of your peas).
As to their progress of this little lot, I’ll keep you posted.