Peas and beans are very easy to grow from seed and they germinate quickly. You can speed up germination by soaking the seeds in water overnight, but this is not essential. Select a sunny position and deeply-dig well-rotted animal manure and blood and bone fertiliser into the soil before planting seeds. This should be all the nutrients needed for the season. Plants will need supporting on a trellis which you can easily make from twigs and other materials you may already have. Broad beans grow on a sturdy stalk that will benefit from staking. Stagger the planting over a couple of months to avoid a glut and ensure a steady supply of produce.
Water the seeds in after planting and wait until they have germinated before watering again. Increase watering during flowering and fruit development but avoid waterlogging.
Pods will be ready for picking from about 10 days after flowering. Pinch out the top shoot of the plant as soon as harvesting begins. Pick snow peas when the pods are developed, but before the seeds start to appear. Beans and podding peas should be picked once the pods are rounded and bright green. Check daily and keep harvesting to ensure ongoing fruit production. Use sharp scissors and avoid pulling on the pods as this can uproot the plant. To store pods, dry them thoroughly and refrigerate immediately.
Crop rotation is one of the best ways to prevent diseases. Wait four years before replanting in the same bed. The roots of pea and bean plants hold valuable nitrogen so cut plants off at the base once the growing season has ended. Leave the roots in the soil to rot down, and add the stalks to the compost bin. You’ll be left with nitrogen-rich soil that’s perfect for growing tomatoes or cucumbers and you can even re-use the trellis.
(Sow autumn - winter)
(Sow early autumn - late winter)
Early Long Pod
(Sow spring - summer)