Growing peas on the balcony

Ever since I was a little child I’ve loved peas. Fresh peas. As with so many tender vegetables (fennel, kohlrabi, capsicum) they taste magnitudes better fresh. I urge you to forget about frozen or worse canned or jarred peas! Try the fresh stuff – and grow it yourself. Because by the time it arrives in the supermarkets and grocers it tends to be sad and limp.

The good news is growing peas is easy. I learned it as a child. My mum prepared the bed and with a stick made a light furrow. And I carefully laid the peas, about a centimeter deep. I was eager to get as many peas as possible so my mum had to constantly remind me not to place them too close to each other. Covered up with soil the first shoots emerged and grew quickly.

And the same is happening again as I am growing (too many too close) peas!

Two weeks ago I prepared the bed. In this case, a plastic planting pot for my balcony. I mixed a general potting mix (from Bunnings) with some wood ash that I collected from a wood fired oven. Garden or Dolomite lime will work as well. Everywhere I looked it said “add some lime” – which is not a very precise (satisfactory) instruction. I added about two cups of ash into 15 litres of soil. Let’s see how the peas go with that – so far so good 😉 Look at these shoots!

2weekold peas
An army forest of two week old pea shoots

They are lean and lanky, probably because they grow in a more shaded spot stretching for light. I hope a strong wind or cold snap won’t force them down.

I sowed two different varieties. On the left, shot up 15 cm in only two weeks are Snow Peas from Mr. Fothergill’s Little Gardeners line. On the right, only just emerged have the shoots of “Greenfeast” another one of Mr. Fothergill’s  seeds packets (from last year actually, so I’m glad they were still viable).

Given the speed of growth – one can see the difference a day makes without time-lapse! –  I realised it was high time to put up a support for the tendrils to grab onto. The balcony railing is  only another 15 cm away, and I was too lazy to get any other materials than those I could find in the house & garage already. So I simply tied some household (cotton) string  around a nearby shoe rack which functions as a stool for other pots, the container’s edges, and the railing.

 

This should build a sufficient bridge to guide the peas to the railing where they can go wild. Oh sweet peas of mine 🙂 I can’t wait for them to flower!

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