Growing peas is a garden favourite with our little green thumbs. They simply love tending to their pea patch, picking peas straight off the vine and popping them straight in their mouth. Needless to say, most of your homegrown peas will never make it into the kitchen! Pea seeds are best sown in autumn through to winter and are therefore perfect for getting kids out and into the fresh air through the cooler months. Because they are climbing crops, they’ll need a wire frame or trellis to latch onto, which is all part of the pea-growing fun!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
My First Garden
Trellis or wire frame
Good quality potting mix
Pea seeds from your local nursery
Pea straw for mulching
HOW TO GROW
- Soak your pea seeds overnight to soften their hard exterior shell.
- Choose a spot for your small garden bed that gets plenty of sunlight.
- Prepare with potting mix and build a trellis or insert a wire frame for peas to hitch a ride.
- Sow seeds into damp soil and don’t water again until they germinate. Pea seeds are prone to rotting, and rotting pea seeds are a tasty treat for garden pests!
- Once they germinate, water 2 times a week for the first month and then cut back to once a week.
- Mulch with 3-5cm of pea straw.
- Your pea pods should be ready to pick 9-12 weeks after planting. Don’t forget you can eat the pea shoots too, which add a nice touch to salads.
UNCLE PAULY’S PEA, PANCETTA AND SHELL PASTA
Try this tasty dish for some pea inspiration in the kitchen. When using peas that have been picked straight from your child’s garden bed we doubt they’ll be pushed uneaten around their plate.
400g orrechiette (shell-shaped pasta)
2 tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta, cut into short lengths
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400mL chicken stock
The juice of one lemon
1 cup of podded peas from your garden
Handful of pea shoots
Handful of mint leaves
Finely grated pecorino cheese to serve
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente (about 10-12 minutes). Strain and set aside.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta, shallots and garlic, stirring until pancetta is crisp (about 4 minutes).
- Add stock and bring to the boil.
- Add peas and cook until just tender (about 2 minutes) and remove pan from heat.
- Add to pasta with lemon juice and serve topped with pea shoots, mint leaves and pecorino. Bellissimo!
Peas make look tiny but they are actually big in nutritional value. They are loaded with protein and fibre and are a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C, energy-producing B vitamins, bone-building vitamin K and unique phytonutrients with antioxidant properties. Interestingly, they are also a reliable source of beneficial omega 3 fats for healthy growing bodies.