Pea pods opened in half to expose the peas inside
How to collect and prepare peas for propagation

You can't beat the flavour of freshly harvested peas, and if you harvest more than you need then they are ideal for freezing to be used later when your pea crop has finished. They are also easy to grow, suffer from relatively few pests and diseases and unless you have a reason to stop growing peas you will not need to purchase another pack of pea seeds if you collect, prepare and store your own pea seeds for future propagation

Collecting the seeds from pea plants is probably one of the easiest gardening jobs you can undertake as the same pea we eat is also the seed we sow. It is just a matter of allowing the peas to mature on the parent plants. You will know when they are ready as the pods will go brown and the seeds inside will begin to rattle. If the weather is bad when you come to collect them you can pull up the entire plant and bring it into the dry.

Shell out the peas and allow them to dry out further in a warm - but not too warm - room. Clean off any material (chaff) that may be attached to peas as this could rot and cause the seed to be affected by fungal infections such as damping off. Be aware that chaff can harbour other moulds, pests and diseases

After a few days place the dried peas into an envelope and label with the variety and date of harvest. Then store them in a cool dark place where they should remain viable for up to 3 years. Just make sure that they are out of reach of rodents which given the opportunity would love to take advantage of the free feast! To ensure dry conditions add a desiccant to remove excess moisture. Suitable materials include calcium chloride or silica gel.

When you are ready to sow your stored seed they will need to be soaked in warm water for 12-24 hours before planting.

Main image credit - Bill Ebbesen

For related articles click onto the following  links:
T and M Peas

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