By Jen Wallace
I love English peas and decided that I would grow my own to get the freshest-tasting peas possible. One thing I discovered after making that decision is that peas grow on a vine and need some kind of support, like a trellis. So, since I had to figure out how to make one, I thought I would share the how-to with you. Before you get started, I do recommend putting up your trellis before planting your seeds. It will help you keep your rows even and inline with your trellis, and you certainly don’t want to be tramping around on your plants.
5 bamboo sticks or plasticized bamboo 4′-6′ in length, depending on how tall your variety will grow
Twine or hemp
Step 1: Pick a spot in your garden with good drainage. Peas grow to be about 2′-5′ tall, so consider a spot that won’t shade the rest of your garden. The peas I am growing are dwarf peas, so they will grow to be no higher than 3′.
Step 2: Each trellis has 2 frames made of 2 poles on either side. To get started, sink your first bamboo pole in the ground about 6″ or until it feels secure. I recommend doing this 1-2 days after a rain, so the ground is soft. Measure 1′ across and sink another one. Using a figure-8, lash the tops of the 2 poles together about 3″ from the top with your twine and tie off.
Step 3: Use one of your poles as a guide to help you figure out how far down to erect the other side’s frame. Plan on planting your poles about 5″-6″ less than the length of your poles. Lash them together at the top as well.
Step 4: You have created a V-shaped notch in each set of the frame poles and are ready to lay a pole lengthwise across the top in each of these notches. Lash that pole to the frame on each end.
Step 5: Now it’s time to add the twine.
Tie a piece of string between the frame end poles about 3″-4″ off the ground. Add a length of twine running from each end pole to the other side’s end pole about 3″-4″ off the ground. Finally, add your pea guides by tying your twine on the top pole, running it loosely down to the bottom and tying. I added a total of 16 pea guides, 8 on each side, and alternated them.
Step 6: Plant your peas. The traditional planting date is March 17th, but that does depend on your location. I planted mine on the day exactly and expect fresh peas mid- to late-May. Once they get tall enough, train the vines to grow around the pea guides of your trellis. Harvest and enjoy!
About the Author:
Jen Wallace has her hands in many things. She is the editor of the blog Indie Fixx, curates the Indie Fixx Galleria, coordinates Feed Your Soul: the free art project and runs a small PR biz called Buzz. She also likes to grow her own fresh veggies, inside the house and out.