We are growing four varieties of pea this year. Our early pea is ‘Excellenz’; a new variety for us. Their simple pure white flowers have already been drifting away to leave green pods plumping up in the sun – the first few should be ready to pick in the next day or two.
Alongside these, we have our regular mangetout pea, Carouby de Maussane, which is covered in purple blooms which will soon give way to fresh green pods to be picked and eaten whole.
I find that the pods of this mangetout do need to be picked young, as the larger pods which have hidden behind leaves and stalks tend to display a slightly more bitter taste.
I managed to slip two further varieties into the garden this year; heritage Purple Podded peas, whose flowers begin a pale sky blue before deepening into two-tone purple which then gives way to the most amazing dark purple pods.
These purple pods look wonderful amid the fresh green foliage of their plants, and I look forward to picking and tasting the peas – apparently the colour fades to green upon cooking, so they won’t put in such an unusual appearance if they make it to the kitchen.
Finally, we have masses of beautiful pink flowers tumbling across the Salmon Flowered Peas grown from the seeds that Matron kindly sent me last autumn.
Another new and unusual variety which I’m really looking forward to trying – and saving some seeds for next year again.
The splash of colour from these pea varieties is rather enticing in the kitchen garden – giving the sweet peas a run for their money long before they come into bloom.