I don’t have a huge amount of space in my vegetable garden, so I want the plants I grow to work hard for me and provide as high a yield as possible. I grow and have grown a number of different shelling or podding peas in my garden. But today, having just harvested a big batch of mange tout peas, I wanted to talk about why I think they can be a great choice for a smaller garden.
One thing I love about growing these sorts of peas, from which you eat the pods while flat, or eat whole while the peas inside are small, is that they provide a much higher yield in a smaller area than peas that have to be removed from their pods. Successional sowing also means that you can enjoy them over quite a long period.
They take a lot less work too, since there is no shelling involved, and you can eat them straight from the garden. They taste great (though you should remember that you need to buy the right varieties, as the pods of shelling peas can be fibrous, and don’t always taste as good.
Unlike peas for shelling, mange tout do not have to be left on the plants to mature. Pick some, and the plant will just go on continuing to produce more. You can eat them raw in salads etc. or use them in a range of recipes. You can blanch and freeze mange tout as well. So it’s not all about just living for the ‘now’. If you want seeds for next year, you can always choose heritage varieties and leave some pods to mature.
Peas are often a great choice for a vegetable garden. But think about varieties. And consider choosing peas that you can eat the pods from as well, not just the seeds. I certainly love having these plants in my garden.