Digging should be done thoroughly as early in the autumn as possible. Dung or compost should be applied at the same time at the rate of 1 cwt. to 15 sq. yd. unless the peas are to be grown on ground that has been well manured for a preceding crop. Chemical fertilizers should be used just before seed sowing, whether manure is given or not. Use a mixture prepared with 3 parts of superphosphate, 2 parts of sulphate of potash, and 1 part of sulphate of ammonia, and scatter at 2 oz. per yard or row for a width of 1 ft. on each side of the drill.
A first sowing of a hardy early pea may be made in a sheltered place outdoors late in February. The seeds may first be damped with a very little paraffin and then rolled in red lead as a protection against mice. Scoop out a trench the width of a spade and just over an inch in depth and sow a double line of peas in this, one at each side, the peas themselves being about 3 in. apart in the lines. Then cover with soil. A second sowing of an early variety should be made in mid-March and a third in early April. At about the latter date the first maincrop peas should be sown. Another sowing of maincrops may follow at the end of the month, a final sowing being made at the end of May with, if desired, a few rows of a first early variety sown about midsummer to give the chance of young peas in October if the season is favourable. Succestsive rows should be at least as far apart as the eventual height of the peas. It is an advantage if the taller peas can be sown in rows running north and south.
Sticking will be necessary for all peas over 18 in. in height and is an advantage even with dwarf peas. Water freely during dry weather. If water is scarce, spread a mulch of strawy manure or grass clippings 2 or 3 in. thick for a width of 1 ft. on each side of the row.
Reliable kinds are as follows: Earlies —Little Marvel, Peter Pan, Kelvedon Wonder, Kelvedon Triumph, Foremost, Gradus, and Thomas Laxton. Maincrop — Alderman, Autocrat, Stratagem, Onward, Admiral Beatty, Giant Stride, Lord Chancellor, and Gladstone.
The principal foes are mildew and thrips.