If you want to start growing vegetables but don’t know how, growing peas and beans couldn’t be any easier. They are the ideal plants to grow when you’re just starting out.
They don’t need any special treatment when it comes to soil but they like it to be well draining. I planted mine in containers and used ordinary potting compost that you can buy at any garden centre or even supermarkets.
You can grow your own from seeds or buy ready grown plants. I used to buy them at boot fairs or market stalls but have now grown my own from seed. It couldn’t have been easier.
Growing from seed
This year being 2020, it was a little more difficult to find plants or seeds. Garden centres are all closed during the pandemic lockdown and buying things online is also difficult due to delivery problems. Luckily I found a seller on eBay that was selling seeds. I have bought seeds and plants on eBay before and I have always had a good experience. Just check that they have good feedback and be realistic about the outcome. Not all plants or seeds will do well, that is part of how nature works, but I’ve had a really good success rate so far.
I bought a packet of Purple Magnolia sugar snap peas and Moonlight runner bean seeds. You can plant them out directly into a bed in Spring or in pots under cover. I chose to plant them in small cardboard pots and placed them in a propagator on a sunny and warm window sill.
Great for kids
I’m still amazed at how quickly they germinated, they poked through the soil after only two days. It goes to show that they need warmth and moisture. I think they are the ideal plant to grow if you have children and want to show them how food can be grown. It can be a bit disheartening if you have to wait very long for a seed to germinate, but with peas and beans on a warm window sill, there is not a lot of waiting. They are also quite sturdy little seedlings and will survive some prodding by little hands.
Children will love to look after them and potting them on when they grow a little bigger. And it’s a very good way to ensure that they will eat their share of beans and peas if they helped grow them.
Once the seedlings were growing, I took the lid of the propagator to minimise any danger of mould.
I did the same with the runner beans. Again, I planted them in another propagator, in small cardboard pots. I didn’t plant them very deep, I just poked my finger into the soil, popped in the bean and then covered it up a little. Make sure you water them and put the lid on the propagator. Keep checking every day and lift the lid to ventilate a little, but I found they liked it to be warm and humid.
The beans were just as quick as the peas and sprouted after just two days.
Once the peas and beans reached an unmanageable size for the window sill, it was time to pot them on in their permanent place. You can either plant them outside once it’s warm enough, or you can harden them off if the weather is still a little unpredictable. Hardening them off just means you take the pots outside for a few hours a day so they can get used to the weather. Your seedlings had a constant temperature indoors, and can get stressed if placed outside suddenly. If the weather is warm, you can plant them outside with no problems.
When planting out, you can either plant them in a bed in the ground or use containers. I planted mine in our old recycling waste bins. I also planted some in pots. You can use any container as long as they have drainage holes at the bottom to let the water drain. They will grow quite tall, so make sure you provide some support. I used bamboo canes made into a wigwam and my husband made me a support for the peas using chicken wire.
I placed them against our house wall which is South facing, so they are protected and in a warm spot. You can see the beans in the big round pot with the bamboo wigwam and the peas are in the green box. I planed parsley and coriander next to the peas to use up the space in the box.
A few weeks later…
After two weeks the beans have grown all the way up the bamboo canes and have started to flower.
My beans have white flowers this year. The variety I planted last year, which I can’t remember, had very red flowers. I love trying out new varieties and I also think they look very pretty. I think a vegetable plot can look just as beautiful as a flower garden, what do you think?
As you can see in the picture above, the peas have outgrown their chicken wire support and we had to make another bamboo wigwam for them to climb on. They now have very pretty purple flowers.
Have I inspired you to grow your own beans or peas? Are you already growing them? I would love to hear what you grow in your garden and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
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