The peas are in, they’re beginning to grow, and… What’s this? I thought I bought “bush peas”, you say… So, you check the package and yes, indeed, they are supposed to be the bush variety and not the pole variety. What went wrong? The peas are lying down and growing over the ground and not, well, making bushes…
That happened to me my first year, too. I bought bush peas because I couldn’t see myself standing on a ladder to pick peas. Then, as I was expecting them to produce on easy-to-reach bushes, they grew all over the place and on top of each other! So, too late, I struggled to stake them after they were already half grown. So, now I stake my bush peas right from the beginning, when they are just a few inches tall. Here’s the easy way to staking peas:
Buy garden cloth and garden stakes anywhere garden supplies are sold. I bought the 5′ X 30′ roll. This will be enough for me for two years’ worth of pea staking.
Step One – Supplies
Purchase shepherd’s hooks. They come in all sizes, from 2′ to 8′ tall. And, they are handy for controlling all sorts of plants in the garden, from bamboo to peonies… to peas. For my peas, I used the 3-foot size. They usually grow a little taller, but I just weave them back down into the plants.
Step Two – Shepherd’s Hooks
Next, place one shepherd’s hook at each end of the row of peas, so that the hooks line up with the front of the plants.
Part Two – Place next to plants
Find a wooden stake that is long enough to fit on your shepherd’s hooks, but not so long it sticks way over the sides. (I have a large collection of stakes of all kinds and lengths I have gathered over the years–dead bamboo from the garden, metal rebar, stakes garden plants come with, wooden stakes of all sizes bought for some project or another. I keep them in a bucket in a corner of my garage.) Unraveling the first 4 feet or so of garden cloth, start at one end of the stake and staple the top to it, stretching just a little as you go. Be sure you have the 5′ side of the material at the top, and not the 30′ side like I had the first time I did it this year… Cut the excess off when you reach the end of the stake.
Step Three – Stake
Put the stake with the cloth attached onto the hooks in your pea patch. Settle the garden cloth in the front of the plants like you want it, and close to the young pea plants. Push a staple into each square at the bottom, pushing a little past the soil line.
Step Four – Garden Cloth
The peas’ tendrils will find their way to the strings without much effort on your part. Sometimes I nudge a tendril toward the cloth, but I know they know what to do on their own! I just like to fuss in the garden…
Step Five – Guiding Tendrils