How to grow peas
A guide on how to grow and harvest peas, plus three great recipes for using them in your kitchen.
We all have a bag of peas in our freezer, but have you ever tried to grow your own? It’s easier than you might think to sow and harvest this classic British ingredient.
Peas are easy to grow in a large pot. Some reach 1.5m, so choose short varieties, such as Kelvedon Wonder and Feltham First. Fill a 15-litre container with a soil-based compost and mix in a handful of fertiliser granules. Make holes with a dibber (a pointed garden tool with depth markings), 4cm deep, every 5cm and drop a seed in. Cover and water. If you live in a mild area, you can sow in March, or wait until April. Keep moist and when climbing push 60cm lengths of hazel or birch twigs into the pot.
Peas are ready when pods are swollen. Pick them just before cooking. Pea shoots are best eaten raw and fresh.
What to look for when you buy
Whether they’re fresh or frozen, peas should be shiny instead of dull and very vibrant green. The outer skin should be delicate and not too tough or chewy. The inside of the pea should be slightly sweet and delicate.
How to eat them
If you’re lucky enough to find good fresh peas, you can pop them straight from the pod and eat them raw as a snack. Otherwise, you can add them to classic soups, risotto and pasta dishes, or serve them mashed with fresh mint. The pop of a raw pea makes a lovely addition to summer salads.
Here are three of our favourite recipes using peas…