The Leaning Tower Of Peas


Hairy bittercress*


Sheesh. It’s been a busy old week and I am cream crackered. Still, it’s Friday. Wine night. It could be worse.

We have been trying to get the veggie garden ready for planting. I don’t know how the weeds manage it but some, like the Hairy bittercress* above, are flowering already and getting ready to seed. This is bad news. The lightest touch or gentle breeze is enough to propel their progeny up to a metre from the parent plant. Once you have it you will never be without it. The bloomin’ stuff is everywhere.


Raised beds 001 Wm[1]


But we have made progress.

I’d better admit it’s the royal ‘we’ with respect to the new raised beds. I love to see them looking like this, so full of promise for the season ahead. Only one thing is better and that is to have them groaning with delicious things to eat.


Nematodes 001 Wm[1]


The nematodes are out of the fridge. And not before time. Veggie patch preparation got completed just two days ahead of their use-by date. Whilst Mike may be breathing a big sigh of relief he has clearly forgotten that I actually signed up for a two part programme.. in three weeks’ time a further batch will arrive. Trouble is, as I was late applying the first lot, the second will need temporary storage facilities too.

They look like fine, if slightly damp, wholemeal breadcrumbs. I simply carved up the mixture and sprayed it on to each bed in turn. 30 million nematodes unleashed on a seek and destroy mission for slugs, not that I was counting.


But what of the peas?

Last year I used bamboo canes tied into wigwams as the method of support. And it was a nightmare. The plants grow wider as they get taller, the conical structure operates in reverse. After several weeks of flopping about in the wind the whole thing collapsed. It needs a Plan B.

There are plenty of neat solutions available to buy, with a pretty price tag too. I thought we could construct something and drew out a rough plan. Mike used poles left over from the gabion and some old stock fencing we also had spare.


Pea supports 002 Wm[1]


So should I have drawn attention to the fact that the nearest support was leaning over to one side?

Apparently not. Toys were seen to depart the pram and there was talk of dismantling and rebuilding from scratch. Thankfully Mike is never in a huff for long and over lunch a compromise was found. I would bring to bear my not inconsiderable weight, now enhanced by half a pizza and a banana, and he would hammer in a wedge.


*EDIT: As it turns out, ours is actually the very similar Wavy bittercress. It’s all in the number of stamens apparently. Under a magnifying glass the plants also have hairs on the lower stems whereas Hairy bittercress, ironically, does not.