I plant peas in the similar idiosyncratic manner as I do broad beans, except they need something to climb up. I either put up a wire fence or a wigwam of canes. At the base of the fence or wigwam I dib three holes about 4cm deep and near enough to each other that a plastic bottle with the bottom cut away and the screw cap discarded will fit over all three. I then drop individual seeds into each hole. Finally I gently cover the holes with soil using the end of the dibber and cover each set of three seeds with the plastic bottle.
I can only speculate where the seeds disappear to, but disappear they do. The books would have us believe it is mice, and Joan was adamant that voles finished off her bonsai apple tree by eating its roots, but how can they remove legume seeds without disturbing the soil? Surely they donít have such good manners that they leave the soil as they found it, except minus their snap? I am convinced itís the Pea Fairy, despite Joanís protestations.
Peas, like beans, are rich in nitrogen, which is why onions don't like them. Despite the alium's dislike of the stuff nitrogen is beneficial to the soil, which is why legumes ( peas and beans) are an essential part of crop rotation. It is best to leave the roots in the soil,and cut off the stalks at the end of the season, adding them to the compost heap.Pea moth can be a problem as it leaves a grub which eats the peas inside the pod.The simplest way is to avoid it is not to sow in May when the pea moth is active. Early or Late sowings should avoid the time when the eggs are laid.Peas are a good example of why the successive planting of some crops is not a good idea because as the first crop dies back it is prey to some diseases which then spread to any emerging plants nearby
Pea Moth "lures" are available, they are traps similar to those for the Codling Moth in apple trees which simply attract the Males using pheromone and give them an untimely death by sticking them on a grease card. The females are then not fertilised. Hey presto no pest.
This has a number of effects. It provides some protection against the seeds disappearing. It creates a mini greenhouse in which the seedlings may flourish and be protected from extremes of weather. It stops slug damage. Finally, it delays the inevitable arrival of pea and bean weevil which creates such a visually attractive serrated edge to the leaves. These are little brown insects which may be found in the growing tips or in the soil at the base of the plant. They donít seem to bother mature plants but they can worry smaller ones, especially in dry weather when they seem to flourish. However they are easily picked off once you know what you are looking for. In bad cases they can be shaken off into a paper bag.
Peas: Planting Guide
mid March onwards
when ready, not too big or too small
I plant under mini cloches
traditionally planted in drills
watch out for weevils
Cut off at soil level when dry, save seed, leave roots in soil for nitrogen, add foliage to compost