Pea 'Progress No. 9' is a prolific and early yielding wrinkle-seeded variety.
This fast growing, second early is heavy cropping, producing dark green plump pods that are 8 to 10cm (3 to 4in) long with 7 to 9 delicious peas per well-filled pod and is resistant to both Fusarium root rot and wilt.
Originally known as 'Laxtons Progress No. 9', this low-growing variety grows 40 to 50cm (16 to 20in) tall, making it excellent for container growing and smaller gardens. There is no need to stake its short vines, although the peas are easier to harvest when supplied with a small trellis or a fence. Harvest continuously when ripe to encourage greater yields. 58 to 65 days to maturity.
Since it is common to prune dormant trees about the same time that you plant peas, it is a tradition to use branches, stuck into the ground along your pea row, as support for peas. You can also use other items for support - lattice, netting, twine, field fencing - but 'pea brush' is by far the simplest.
- Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced. The seed has been harvested from plants that have themselves been raised organically, without the use of chemicals.
Peas require a sunny, position with well-drained but rich soil with a neutral pH, so if yours is at all acidic, the ground should be limed a few weeks before sowing.
Ideally, the ground would be dug and manured the autumn before sowing, but if you have good garden soil, a thin dressing of good garden compost or well-rotted manure just before sowing is adequate. This will help to improve the soil’s moisture-retaining ability during hot, dry summers.
In well drained soil, peas can be sown outdoors in November, for an early crop.
In spring, wait until the soil is warm to the touch, which will be some time between the middle of March and the middle of May, depending on your soil and where you live. Putting a layer of fleece over the soil in early March will help warm up the soil by as much as a couple of weeks. Make successional sowings every two weeks.
An old gardeners saying that 'rows should be sown in a North to South direction' had me wondering for years – all became clear when I found this explanation - “Since peas are prone to powdery mildew, plant them in rows that run north and south so that each plant has maximum opportunity for the sun to burn off the dew.”
To grow an early crop, try sowing seeds in a length of old guttering. Drill drainage holes at regular intervals along the base. Fill to the top with seed compost and space the seeds about 7.5cm (3in) apart.
Place the guttering in the greenhouse or cold frame. Keep the compost moist and transplant into the garden once the seedlings have established. Dig out a shallow trench and gently slide the pea seedlings into it. Water and cover with cloches to encourage growth. Autumn and early spring sowings will benefit from cloche protection.
Peas sown in cold, wet ground will rot so make sure the soil is warm. In early spring, cover the soil with polythene before sowing and then protect seedlings with fleece.
Sow seed in a single row 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) apart, ensuring there is enough space for plant supports. Make a single V-shaped drill, 5cm (2in) deep, water the base of the drill and sow the peas. A second row can be added, as long as it’s 30cm (12in) away from the first drill.
It is important to have room to get between the rows to pick - 3ft is probably the minimum and 6ft is ideal. If using the latter spacing, a crop of radish or lettuce can be grown in the gap, to be harvested before you start picking the peas.
Water your peas well after sowing, and then leave them - except in very dry weather - until they flower, when they should have a really good soak to encourage good pod formation. Keep them weeded until well established.
All but the most dwarf varieties need support. Once peas have reached, 5 to 8cm (2 to 3in) in height and their tendrils begin to reach out for support, place supports next to plants. Use bamboo canes, pea sticks, trellis, netting, chicken wire or use any garden pruning that produces twiggy branches.
Regular picking is essential for a truly fresh pea. The more you harvest, the more they will produce. Harvest from the bottom of the plant working upwards. Do not pull up the plant as the roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Cut off the stems at ground level, allowing the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil for the next crop to use.
Best eaten fresh, eat raw or boil straight after picking. Serve with just a knob of butter and a sprig of mint from the garden. The tips of the vines and the top set of leaves of the pea plant are an Oriental delicacy. They can be served raw in salads, quickly cooked in stir-fries, or blanched and used in soups.
Peas can be stored in the crisper section of the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Freeze any excess pea harvest as quickly as possible because the sugar in peas turns to starch very quickly after picking, which destroys that precious sweetness.
Peas are a useful part of the gardener's vegetable rotation. Cut off the stems at ground level, and allow the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil. The nitrogen can be taken up by the crop that follows them - usually a brassica such as cabbage.
Originally known as "Laxtons Progress No. 9", it was named after Thomas Laxton who was a plant breeder who worked with Charles Darwin in experiments on peas.
Thomas was born 1830 near Stamford in Lincolnshire. He began his work as a plant breeder in 1865, interested mostly in peas and strawberries. He started his plant breeding in Stamford, then later moved his operations to orchards and fields in Bedford, Bedfordshire and in nearby Girtford in Sandy, Bedfordshire.
In 1872, Thomas began producing new strawberry varieties. He would introduce seventeen varieties in all.
Thomas died in 1893, he left legacies of improved apples, peas and plums among many others, together with a thriving seed business.
The business was carried on successfully by sons and grandsons, who adjusted the name of the business to "Laxton Bros" in the 1890. In 1957 both the store and the nursery business were closed. The orchards have now all been built over. The town of Bedford has since created a Community Orchard in which it has planted many of the Laxton varieties.
- Organic Seed.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 30 grams Average Seed Count 100 Seeds Seed Form Certified Organic Seeds Common Name Second early, Low-growing variety
aka Laxtons Progress No. 9
Other Common Names English pea, Shelling pea or Garden pea. Family Leguminosae Genus Pisum Species sativum Cultivar Progress No 9. Hardiness Hardy Annual Fruit Pods are 8 to 10cm (3 to 4in) long with 7 to 9 peas Height 40 to 50cm (16 to 20in) Position Sunny position Soil Well-drained but rich soil with a neutral ph Time to Sow Sow in autumn or in spring. Time to Harvest 58 to 65 days to maturity.