The Luscious Pea

Forbidden fruit a flavor has
That lawful orchards mocks;
How luscious lies the pea within
The pod that Duty locks!

Emily Dickinson

I've had more luscious peas this year than even Emily Dickinson could have dealt with. Some have even made it to the dinner table. Usually they never get that far, and to be honest, having had a few servings of cooked peas, we have decided that we like them best raw, and so I serve them in the pod as a kind of starter before we eat. It reminds me of a trip to Italy, a couple of years ago, when we ordered broad beans in a restaurant, and were presented with an enormous plate of raw beans, not only were they raw, but also still in their pods! I later learned that this is a local speciality in Puglia, and although I couldn't finish the whole plateful, I did enjoy them as they were young and tender, if a little inelegant!

As you can see my peas are tall, the variety is they very old variety Telephone, and they require staking. I think it's worth the extra bit of effort, since you get far more pea per square foot of row than with the short varieties, which  have mostly been developed for the convenience of  Messrs Birds Eye, who require peas that grow uniformly, mature all at once, and can be harvested mechanically. And you can't harvest six foot tall plants with a machine. The peas aren't all ready at once, which is what we as gardeners are looking for, and can be picked over a period a week or two. The only problem is that there's such an abundance of them that it's difficult to keep up with the picking, and it 's looking like pea soup will be on the menu pretty soon for the older cannonballs that I've missed.

I've also grown "Alderman" another tall pea, whose seed is more generally available, and whilst it's perfectly fine I would still recommend Telephone for its stronger growth, and bigger pods containing up to nine finely flavoured peas. Seed can be obtained from Real Seeds, who warn that the pods tend to swell up before the peas have developed so don't be fooled into picking too early. Seeds Of Italy also supply the seed under the name "Telefono".


  1. Yum! Those peas look like the kind that you sit right down in the garden and munch off of. You're right, who needs to cook them?

  2. None of my "Feltham firsts" have made it to the kitchen yet! and I don't think the remaining ones have got much chance either. Loving the garlic scape pesto by the way :-) Nice with some chili in it too, mmmmmm

  3. Brings back memories of shelling laundry tubs of peas with my girlfriend and her mother! I prefer raw or sometimes frozen, canned peas are, well, icky.

  4. I am well impressed by your peas. We don't seem to do very well with growing them here, possibly because it is so hot. But I have managed to get a crop of mangetout going, although they are not very good climbers. Again, I think the heat is too ferocious for them to want to make a huge effort at climbing those stakes. But well done you, and perhaps we will have another go next year - I so would like to pick those pods!

  5. I agree with Vera the heat here this year has not helped the veg garden! I did not plant peas, but I have put in haricot bean climbers this year instead of the bush ones, I thought I would get more. They are all in flower, but no beans yet, I suspect I am not going to get much more than the bush ones though.

    I also love raw peas, think they are better for you as well. Diane

  6. I am risking sounding like SID JAMES but love your big peas!!!

  7. Now those are some fine looking peas. We are not growing any telephone peas this year but did do up a small section of purple podded pole peas that I really like. One of these years I will have to do a side by side comparison of some of my favorite pole peas...I do like the telephone of the first pole peas I ever grew.

  8. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings too you. Lloyd

  9. I completely agree Louise

    Hi Vera, yes I think it may be more difficult with peas if its' very hot where you are, no doubt you are consoled by other warm weather crops that we don't do so well with here.

    Hi Diane, I bet you get tons more tomatoes than I do though

    John, Ooh Matron!!

    Hello Mrs H, I would like to try some of those purple peas too, have got some purple podded beans but not peas.

    Hello Lloyd, and thankyou.

  10. re guinea fowl

    yes get some they are lovely but make sureif you get young birds youencourage them to roost in trees asap..I made the mistake of raising them for too long in a coop so some were not quick enough to fly up in the trees high enough when they were let free!!!

  11. So they're called telephone peas, eh? Must be the variety I planted this year. I ordered them from a fairly local supplier .. and wasn't expecting them to get seven feet tall. They grew way beyond my five ft. stakes and toppled over in a bad wind storm a few days ago. I like the way you have your staked. Will have to do a better job next year should I try them again. We mostly snack on them raw or cook them up in their tender pods with carrots and a little onion. Yummy.


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