Tue. May 17th, 2022

Peas and beans masterclass: best expert content

Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from T&M

Neat & compact, Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ is perfect for growing in containers or small gardens
Image: Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from Thompson & Morgan

In our search for expert advice on growing peas and beans, we turned to some of the best grow-your-own bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers. Whether you’re new to growing veg or a seasoned gardener looking for tips to get more from your pea and bean plants, there’s plenty of food for thought here.

Benedict Vanheems writing for GrowVeg

Growing beans up teepee supports

Growing beans up teepee supports
Image: GrowVeg

Growing peas and beans from seed is very easy and makes a great project for introducing children to the joys of vegetable growing. For full instructions on growing beans from seed, check out Benedict Vanheems wonderful article over at GrowVeg. Including a helpful video, he covers how to grow bush types and climbing beans from scratch. Follow his advice for “week after week (after week!) of tender, tasty pods.

T&M blog

Pea ‘Rondo’ from T&M

Outperforming many other varieties, ‘Rondo’ provides excellent yields of the highest quality
Image: Pea ‘Rondo’ from Thompson & Morgan

One of the great things about growing peas and beans is that while they like the sun, they don’t need full sun all the time – partial shade will suit them nicely. Having said that, they do benefit from good drainage and having plenty of organic matter worked into the soil. The horticultural team at T&M says: “For best results prepare the site over the winter, digging in compost or well-rotted manure, followed in early spring by a dressing of lime or calcified seaweed.” There’s also a section to help you deal with common pea and bean pests like pea moth, black fly and birds.

Charles – Charles Dowding

Charles Dowding sitting in front of pea beds

Charles grows pea shoots to start harvesting from early May
Image: Charles Dowding

Over at the ‘no dig’ expert’s YouTube channel, Charles Dowding talks about sowing peas under cover and planting them in a polytunnel. He also explains how to interplant peas and grow the seedlings between other crops. Always a fascinating speaker, Charles doesn’t always wait for the pods to ripen. Find out how to enjoy an early spring harvest of delicious pea shoots while you wait.

Terry – Terry King’s Allotment Gardening on a Budget

Gutter method using for planting

Using the gutter method, the roots of your pea seedlings aren’t disturbed when you slide them into the trench
Image: Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget

One super easy way to get your peas started is to sow them into lengths of guttering. Once they’ve germinated, simply take the gutter, flip off the end cap and slide your pea seedlings en-masse into a pre-prepared trench. For a demo of the gutter method, watch the video at Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget. Terry’s top tip? Don’t drill drainage holes in the gutter because, once the roots begin to grow through, you’ll find it hard to slide the seedlings out.

Dan – Urban Turnip

Closeup of Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from T&M

Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ is one of Dan’s favourites over at Urban Turnip
Image: Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from Thompson & Morgan

Keen to grow broad beans? Over at the Urban Turnip, popular container gardening blogger Dan says there are three opportunities to sow broad beans: “early autumn (usually October or November), late winter (February) and up until the end of spring (March to May).” He loves to grow dwarf broad beans which he says are easier to manage and less prone to pests. Check out his excellent post to find out how to sow yours, and discover why Pythagoras turned his nose up at this delicious vegetable!

T&M blog

Pea ‘Shiraz’ from T&M

Rich in healthy anthocyanin (antioxidant) pigment, purple ‘Shiraz’ mangetout is healthy and attractive 
Image: Pea ‘Shiraz’ from Thompson & Morgan

Looking for the perfect variety of peas to suit your needs? Visit T&M’s blog and read our post on how to grow peas. Here you’ll find some of our top picks – like pea ‘Meteor’ which produces a crop just 12 weeks after sowing; big cropping variety, pea ‘Jumbo’; or the antioxidant rich deep purple ‘Shiraz’.

Benedict Vanheems writing for GrowVeg

Man standing behind a bean teepee

Benedict Vanheems shows different supports along with advice on how to make them
Image: GrowVeg

Except for bush varieties, most beans and peas require some kind of support to grow against. If this has you stumped, head over to GrowVeg and watch as expert grower Benedict Vanheems demonstrates five ways to support your pole or runner beans? Starting with the bean teepee, Benedict also covers A-frames, V-frames, trellis, and wire mesh or cattle panels. A brilliant run down of the best options, this video is essential viewing for bean enthusiasts.

Tony O’Neill @ Simplify Gardening

Man showing off V-method of supporting beans

Tony prefers the V-method to support his beans
Image: Simplify Gardening

Over at YouTube Channel, Simplify Gardening, Tony O’Neill reviews the various support methods for beans. In his opinion, the great benefit of the V-method is that it allows the bean pods to dangle outside the structure. Exposed to much more light and air, the beans grow longer and straighter because they’re not impeded by leaves and stems. An excellent video that also details some tips for soil conditioning, watch this before getting your beans into the ground.

Tony – The Little Farmers Farm

Pea 'Bingo' from Thompson & Morgan growing in containers

Pea ‘Bingo’ grows happily in pots or containers
Image: Thompson & Morgan

If pigeons are your problem, you’ll appreciate Tony’s excellent video over at The Little Farmer’s Farm. He demonstrates how to protect your pea plants with an ingenious combination of a pea column created from a tube of garden wire surrounded by pallets – a pea corral. This is a great idea for anyone growing their peas in pots. A clever space-saver that also stops the birds stuffing their beaks with your crop.

Terry – Terry King’s Allotment Gardening on a Budget

Spraying runner bean flowers with water

Using a quick & low-cost method, Terry King ensures that his runner bean flowers don’t dry out
Image: Terry King’s Allotment Gardening on a Budget

Hot dry weather is sometimes a problem for runner beans because it can stop the flowers from setting pods. Aside from regular watering, Terry at Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget shows an ingenious and low cost way to encourage runner bean flowers to set – simply spray them with water on a regular basis – a great gardening tip from a man who clearly knows his stuff.

Lucy @shegrowsveg

Overwintered peas on a table

Overwintering your peas means you could get an earlier crop
Image: @shegrowsveg

Should you go for autumn or spring sowing of peas and beans? Overwintering gives your crop an early start, but also risks mice eating the seeds before they get going. Over @shegrowsveg, Lucy usually prefers to direct sow in spring, to “avoid the whole irritating transplanting situation.” But with some old drainpipe tempting her to try the gutter method, will she be converted?

LL @bnbkitchengarden

Pea 'Ambassador' from Thompson & Morgan

Pea ‘Ambassador’ can be successfully overwintered to produce early crops
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Over @bnbkitchengarden, just take a look at LL’s module full of overwintering Ambassador beans. A great pick for autumn planting, Ambassador beans are hardy and mildew resistant. As LL explains, she’s only planted one seed per cell to give the roots plenty of space to grow into until she eventually transplants them into the garden.

Stephanie @theenduringinggardener

Runner Bean ‘Firestorm’ by Thompson & Morgan

If treated like a dahlia, runner beans can be grown year after year
Image: Runner Bean ‘Firestorm’ by Thompson & Morgan

Got a runner bean you particularly like? Stephanie at @theenduringgardener shares a photo of the runner bean she’s kept alive and thriving for four years. Each year, once the plant has died back, she says: “I dig up the increasingly large tuberous root and treat it the same way as my dahlias. Come spring I pot it up in the greenhouse, water it and it starts to regrow. It gets planted out – this year in a large tub – and hey presto runner beans for supper tomorrow!

Anjee @plot26a

Closeup of dried beans or pea pods

Dry the beans or pea pods of your favourite varieties for use next spring
Image: @plot26a

If you don’t like the thought of overwintering peas and beans, another tactic is to allow a few pea pods to fully dry out and harvest the dry peas for use as seeds the next spring. Anjee @plot26a shows how it’s done, albeit inadvertently. Her beans didn’t get watered while she was away on holiday, but never one to be deterred, she says: “Hey ho, I’m now drying beans for seed next year!”

Mandy – MandyCanUDigIt

Parmesan covered runner beans

After roasting and leaving to cool, cold runner beans are flavourful and delicious
Image: MandyCanUDigIt

Glut of runner beans? Mandy at the wonderful gardening blog, MandyCanUDigit has some brilliant ideas for using up a mountain of runner beans. Our favourite has to be Parmesan roasted runner beans – full of delicious Mediterranean flavours, this aromatic dish makes an excellent antipasto to serve with sun dried tomatoes, olives and feta.

Stephanie @theenduringinggardener

Climbing French Bean 'Mamba' from Thompson & Morgan

Enjoy the taste of summer with a freshly made French bean dip
Image: Climbing French Bean ‘Mamba’ from Thompson & Morgan

Successional planting is the best way to avoid a glut of peas and beans, but even if you sow every couple of weeks, you may still get more produce than you can handle at once. Stephanie @theenduringgardener makes a French bean dip to help use up the surplus. All you have to do is, “steam them, put them in the food processor with butter, pepper and salt and purée.” Do check it out, it looks absolutely delicious.

Anjee @plot26a

First veg pea flower on allotment

It only takes a few weeks after pea flowers first appear for the pods to follow
Image: @plot26

Anjee at @plot26a also posts a beautiful snap of the first pea flower of the year – surely an exciting time for all pea and bean growers, but did you know pea and bean flowers are edible? Along with lovely tender pea shoots, what a great addition to your spring salads. Just make sure it’s the vegetable pea flowers you’re munching on – sweetpea flowers are toxic.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of some of the best online content about growing peas and beans. All that remains is to choose your favourite pea and bean seeds and add them to this season’s growing schedule. More questions about growing? Why not check out our Pea and Beans hub page, packed with helpful information and advice?


Published at Fri, 21 Jan 2022 06:32:28 -0500

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