How To Grow Peas or Mangetout and some sample Recipes
Peas or mangetout photos
Growing peas or mangetout
How to grow peas or mangetout is very simple to do. Peas or mangetout are so easy to grow even a child can do it. My parents have been growing vegetables when I was young and I learnt a lot of techniques from them and peas is one vegetable I like growing and eating because of its sweet taste and texture. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Also its nutrient content is very good for our health.
Best place to grow peas or mangetout
Find a sunny place in your garden with good loose soil that does not retain moisture as peas are very delicate vegetable especially the roots. The roots and stem easily rots. Peas do not want water retention on the soil because it will rot the pea roots. So make sure you only water it when the soil dries up and do not overwater it.
If you have not enough space in your garden, you can grow peas or mangetout in containers or pots. As long as you have well-drained soil or homemade compost not moist to use on the pots or containers, it will be okay. Peas can be grown straight into the soil no need to sow. Some gardeners sow them inside their house or in the greenhouse and then transplant the peas outside in the garden or pots when they develop their few leaves.
This year I tried both, growing the peas directly to the soil and growing some on containers and they are both successful. I also grown some peas on the raised bed. I have lots of peas to use in my stir fry dinners. If possible I will eat them fresh. I don't want to freeze the peas as they taste better when they are cooked and freshly picked from your back garden. You can tell the difference from a shop bought frozen peas and fresh peas. Freshly picked peas taste much better than frozen peas. That is why I don't like freezing peas or any vegetable come to that. Vegetables always taste better when fresh. I only eat frozen peas during winter time when peas can't be grown then.
How to grow peas or mangetout
I used three ways of growing peas or mangetout and here they are:
1. Grow peas directly to the soil -- As I have limited space in my garden, I made a plot to plant peas direct to the ground. I dug holes on the plot and put some compost mixed with my home made compost into the hole and mixed them to the soil underneath the compost. Then I flatten the compost mix and put the pea seeds on top of the compost then cover it with soil. I put about five or six peas on each hole to allow for extra seeds as sometimes some seeds are eaten by worms under the grown when they start to germinate. You can also dig a straight line on your plot if you like then put your compost in then your pea seeds on the top of your compost with at least two inches apart then cover them with soil about an inch or two thick on top.
2. Growing peas or mangetout on raised beds -- I tried growing my peas as well on one of my raised beds and it seems a success. In fact, the peas have lots of ready to pick now peas and flowers which I am quite excited about because I like picking the fruits of my labour. I am experimenting at the moment, I put some climbing beans around the peas along the side of the raised bed. I planted the peas first so the climbing beans are just climbing the stakes at the moment which means when I am finished with my peas, I got the beans to harvest next. I planted also some mustard greens on the raised beds first then the peas and then the beans. I already harvested the mustard greens before the peas started flowering. So all in all, I planted three kinds of vegetable in my raised bed which I harvest one after the other.
3. Growing peas in containers or pots -- I put a mixture of home made compost with multipurpose compost that we bought from the shop in the container. I added a little bit of soil then mixed them all up. I then put the pea seeds on top of the mixture and spaced them out. I made sure I put some extra in case some seeds won't grow or will be eaten by worms under ground. The peas that I grow on the container is also a success. The peas has lots of fruits and are also ready for picking. Planting in pots or containers help when you haven't got enough space or if you live in flats. Peas can be grown in sunny balconies as well. As long as there is lots of light and sunshine peas will grow.
Photos of my home grown peas and where to plant them
When to put support
When the peas are about four to five inches tall, it is time to put support. There are two ways of doing this. You can use any twigs that you get from pruning your fruit trees like plum trees. The twigs from plum trees are very sturdy indeed and good to use for supporting beans or peas. You can also buy sticks from the garden centres or twigs even. I saw they sell twigs in B@Q apart from sticks. Some gardeners use strings for beans and peas but I prefer sticks or twigs for my peas to climb in. They are more practical and easy to put up. If possible I use my plum tree twigs because it saves me money as well. The stakes or sticks are expensive to buy. I also save the stakes after each use by keeping them inside the shed which will save me money in the long run.
When to pick peas
When the peas are ready for picking, start picking from the first fruits from the bottom of the stem going upwards to the top. Try and pick as soon as the peas are ready to encourage more flowers therefore more peas to pick. If you want to leave some seeds for the following year then don't pick until the pea pods turn yellow and seeds inside become bigger and hard to touch. If you have flat peas, it is better to pick them early but if you have sugar snap peas, best to pick them when they are a little bit blown up but not too hard as you will be cooking these with their shell same as the flat peas. But you can also let the peas mature and use them as canned peas or just boil them like the one we eat with fish and chips.
How to cook peas or mangetout
I sometimes just boil the mangetout for about five minutes with enough water to cover the peas and then drain the water, put some butter if you like and stir then use it as a side dish for your meat or even fish meals.
In my country, we use peas in many stir fry dishes like chicken stir fry, vegetable stir fry, beef stir fry, pork stir fry or even cold salads. Peas or mangetout is used in many Oriental noodle dishes like chow mein and Pancit noodles and also Oriental fried rice dishes. Peas are also used in curry dishes. Peas or mangetout is widely used in the Far East. Peas is one of the most expensive vegetables in my country.
Here are some recipes that peas/mangetout are used
Green Vegetable stir fry with peas:
- 4 spring onions - cut up
- 1 courgette - thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove - crushed
- 250gms broccoli florets - cut up
- 125gms peas or mangetout - top and tail off
- 1 red bell pepper - sliced thinly
- 1/2 cucumber - thinly sliced long ways
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger root - grated
- 3 tablespoon ground nut oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oils in a wok and add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the broccoli, courgette, red bell pepper, mangetout and the spring onions. Stir well and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cucumber to the wok last then stir fry for a few more minutes then add salt and pepper to taste or you can use soy sauce if you like instead of salt and serve at once. Best eaten with rice when freshly cooked. This recipe is very good for vegetarians. The above recipe serves about 4 to 6 people.
Tofu, yellow bean sauce and mangetout stir fry
- 125 g mangetout - top and tail off
- 1 large onion - thinly sliced
- 230 g firm tofu - sliced into cubes
- 1/2 jar yellow bean sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil
- 125 g carrots - sliced
- noodles or rice to serve
Heat the vegetable or sunflower oil in a wok. When the oil is very hot, add and cook the carrots and sliced onion for about five minutes, stirring continuously until soft. Add tofu and yellow bean sauce then cook for 10 minutes. Tofu and yellow bean sauce can be bought from ethnic food shops like TAJ Mahal and from major supermarkets.
Stir in the mangetout and cook for about 2-3 minutes. When cooked, remove from wok and serve with rice or egg noodles. This kind of stir fry can also be used as fillings for jacket potatoes which are also good for vegetarians.