Wednesday 4 September 2013

An experiment in peas

I read about how the Victorians used to grow things out of season by using hotbeds filled with manure, this gave off sufficient heat as it decomposed to keep plants warm and growing at times where normally they would suffer.

So, I thought I would give something a try. Unfortunately I don't have any horse manure at the moment, those Victorians had it in mountains in the days of horse drawn travelling! But I have plenty of compostable fruit and veg peelings and skins, as well as some guinea pig manure!

Into a wall-mounted tub goes some compost, followed by a deep layer of compostables, then a layer of compost on top for the peas to get stuck into while the decomposing gets going. The peas had been grown indoors and are about 3-4ins high right now.

Location is also important, our yard wall is in direct sunlight until about 2pm, and the corner where I have put the peas is the last to go into shade, but actually once the sun has gone round a bit, in late afternoon, that corner comes back into sunshine again (our house is east/west facing). The wall absorbs heat during the day and thus acts as a retainer, releasing heat back into the environment during the evening and night.

I put some twigs in for the peas to climb up, and we'll see what happens. I can always move them into the lean to greenhouse when the tomatoes have finished. Or put a clear plastic bag over them.

If I can get them to grow fast enough and we have a mild autumn we might well get peas this year. We'll see!