How I Support Peas

growing peas

I love seeing peas scrambling up natural pea sticks, tiny tendrils stretching out, curling tightly around their rustic support like miniature green springs. However, when it comes to supporting taller and heavier cropping peas (‘Blauwschokker’ for example), sometimes a sturdier or taller form of support is needed. Using several long bamboo canes and pieces of chicken or welded mesh wire, I fashion together support structures that have served me well for many years, even through gales. Unlike netting, wire mesh is safer for wild birds, so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

peas

Measure out the area that you wish to use for planting, then cut your wire to fit using wire cutters making sure it’s at least 5 ft high. Take a cane and pass it through one of the lower holes of the wire at one end, repeat again somewhere in the middle and one last time near the top. Leave at least 7 inches of each cane bare at the bottom of the wire, these will be pushed into the soil. Repeat this process for the other end of the wire and pop another cane or two in through the middle section for extra strength. Once you’re happy, push the bare cane sections into the soil, keeping it taut as you go. If you use chicken wire, secure to canes with short lengths of garden wire if needed.

peas

peas on chicken wire

For some years now I’ve grown peas this way, the support structures can be left permanently in place and to save growing space and adhere to crop rotation practices, place the support structure near the end of a raised bed and refresh several inches of soil every spring to keep diseases and pests to a minimum.

Meteor Peas in Flower

I’m growing Meteor peas which can be autumn or spring sown, after a disastrous attempt at autumn sowing I decided to wait until March before direct sowing again. This time germination was a success, the plants are romping away and flowering already but my joy has quickly turned to dread because of a pest called Pea Moth. Pea flowers are self pollinating so I’m keeping my peas covered with fleece –  just in case the gorgeous weather we’ve been blessed with encourages pea moths to emerge earlier than usual. 

I have disturbing visions of eagerly opening up a pod only to be met with nibbled peas and caterpillar poo!