This years the peas have been spectacular. We’ve been eating pea salad and green soup nearly every day. I have three varieties this year – the reliable ‘Sugar Pea Norli’ which I’ve grown for several years. It has white flowers and continues for weeks, turning out lovely little mange tout peas:
Then I have the slightly mad but beautiful Carouby de Mousanne, which I grew for the first time last year. It has glorious flowers and is worth it for those alone:
The peas are nice but not quite as good as the shy little Norli and the plants are a bit of a monster, taking over the pea netting and drowning out the Norli last year. So this year I sowed the Carouby de Mousanne it in a separate bed, with some strongish supports, and a new companion – some seeds that I had acquired at a seed swap event, in a anonymous looking brown envelope, marked ‘pea salmon pink’.
They look quite innocent there and I thought the colours might go well with the beautiful Carouby de Mousanne:
Which they do, but, together these plants are rampaging right across the raised bed, drowning out the broccoli and swiss chard, growing quietly beside them and completely overwhelming the rustic wigwams that I made to support them. The lettuce underplanting them was lovely – I think the slugs couldn’t find the lettuce for all that pea forest. And then I noticed that some of the peas were developing proper peas inside the pods. The ‘salmon pink’ are ordinary peas and not mange tout at all. I had to stop an assistant gardener in his tracks as he diligently harvested peas for yet more salad – ‘don’t pick the pink ones- we need to let them develop into proper peas’. ‘Which pink ones, they’re all green?’ ‘The ones on the plants that have pink flowers’ ‘But they’re all mixed in together. I’ll leave it to you then’ he sighed, giving up on my inexplicable gardening habits.
I’ve never managed to grow proper peas before so I’m secretly pleased that these have grown so well without me realising what they were. Maybe that’s the trick to growing vegetables. Another note to self – look up any variety that you pick up in a plain brown envelope – only today I thought of looking it up – it seems that the salmon flowered pea is a heritage variety, and needs ‘strong support’.
Meanwhile, I found a strawberry growing very happily in the paving stones, right in the spot where last year’s plants had been violated by vine weevils.
Clearly it is better to let the plants decide how and where they want to grow rather than attempting to tell them how to do it.