Eats, shoots and peas

Last year I tried to grow mange-tout peas in one of our raised beds and it was a complete washout. There really wasn’t enough room to grow the number of plants needed for a decent crop of peas, and the dreaded snails had their fill of the tender leaves before they really had a chance to get established. From half a dozen plants, I must have managed to harvest twelve or so mange-touts.

Then this year, I had a lightbulb moment – thanks to watching Alys Fowler in her BBC TV series The Edible Garden. She suggested growing pea plants for their shoots, rather than for peas. Plant peas close together in a container (six inches of compost is plenty), then put them in a reasonably snail-free environment. When the plants are a few inches high, just cut off the tops, from the tendrils down to below the first set of leaves below them. Eat cold in salads. Yum, yum.

Pea shoots in the morning sun