I started my new garden by spending several days clearing the area of briars, roots, rocks and the like with a pitchfork, cutters and spade. I used no weedkillers or pesticides. I dug in three beds[slightly bigger then a square meter each], and planted the following seeds:
1]Broad beans [bunyards Exhibition]
2]Peas [Early Onwards]
3]Mangetout and Sugersnap
I watered them in well and kept a eye on them over the next few months to keep them free of weeds. If you want your seeds to germinate faster, it is a great idea to soak them overnight in a bowl of water. Peas and bean need a lot of water and if you have any organic compost, the broad beans really benefit from that. Seaweed mulch also helps.
When my seedlings had reached a certain height, say 4/5 inches, I bought bags of canes[cheap bamboo sticks you can get anywhere] and pushed 1 cane firmly into the soil beside each plant and carefully [loosely also to allow for growth] used garden string to tie the plants to the canes. This gives them much needed support as they grow taller and taller and allows them to concentrate on growing flowers rather then extra branches for support. The more flowers you have, the more peas you will have!
Its a continous process,loosely tying up the plants every week but it is really important and shouldnt be neglected. Regularly weeding will help keep slugs and snails away and let you see when the first fruits of your labour appear!
I recommend you tie the tops of the canes together to make a sort of wigwam shape as not only does it look neater but it helps protect the plants against the wind.
Since the start of July, I’ve been harvesting my peas and every week have gathered large pods to pop in the kitchen and either eat whole fresh or steam lightly for 4-5minutes and serve with a knob of butter. You could also make pea soup, ristio or a summer salad.I harvest from the peas as soon as they are ready as this in turn encourages the plants to grow new flowers and bear more food and so in another few weeks, you can harvest again.
My Mangetout and Sugersnaps didnt do as well as the peas, particularly the sugersnaps. I think the weather isnt quite warm enough here in the West, however we have had some tasty crunchy mangetout for dinner for the last few weeks, so I would try growing them again next year. I might sow them in a more sheltered spot maybe.
I was finally able to pick my broad beans today and served them lightly steamed with our sunday roast dinner. I am thrilled with the size and lenght of the pods. Its quite wonderful after months of work to be finally eating my own food.