I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like peas fresh from the garden. If you want them for Christmas, now is the time to plant them. As peas are best eaten as soon as they are picked, home grown is the way to go. Peas prefer to grow in the cooler months, so plant in spring, autumn or late winter, allowing 60-70 days to maturity. They prefer warm soil, which is well drained, not damp and, although they like cool weather, they don’t like shade. They thrive in rich, organic soil which has had compost dug in prior to planting.
Dwarf peas should be planted around 5cm apart, in wide rows 10-15cm apart. Climbing peas are usually planted in double rows with their support structures between.
Twiggy sticks are best for stakes, as peas like to curl their tendrils onto the projections. When I moved to my current property, I found the tallest peas I’ve ever seen. They grow to about two metres, have pods with at least eight peas in each one and, unusually for giant vegetables, they still have a good flavour.
During the growth period, keep the soil moist and ensure weeds don’t choke them. And when you’ve harvested your crop, please don’t overcook them. A minute or two in water that has come to the boil is all they need or, even better, eat them raw.