If you have ever grown mangetout, then you will be well aware of how productive they can be. They grow so quickly that keeping on top of them can be hard.
I know this is something I struggle with; I feel like I am always harvesting them, but before I know it, I have some really old pods.
The question then becomes: Should I leave these older pods on the plant to turn into regular peas?
Here you can see a mangetout patch in my allotment, as you can see these are coming to the end of their life and the plants are starting to look a little old and tired.
There are also some pods that I have missed, should I let these grow on and turn into regular old peas?
I decided to let some grow out and see what they are like – the pods look lovely!
So the pods do turn into regular peas, as we can clearly see. But are they worth growing?
For me – no. The peas do not taste good at all, they are very starchy and any sweetness has long since gone.
If you have ever eaten a regular pea that has been left on the plant for too long then you will be aware what I mean.
So while they will keep growing and develop into regular, full sized peas, I don’t reccomend it.
Mangetout is a type of garden pea that is picked very young, so young that the pod is still flat and the peas have barely developed.
The name “mangetout” comes from the French phrase “manger tout,” which means “eat everything.” Mangetout peas are also known as snow peas or sugar peas, and they are a favourite in many vegetable gardens.
Mangetout peas are different from shelling peas because the whole pod is eaten, including the peas inside. While the pods of all peas are edible, those from shelling pea varieties can be stringy and not necessarily as pleasant or palatable as varieties that are specifically mangetout.
Mangetout peas are very easy to grow and require minimal care. They are related to garden peas, and both belong to the Pisum savitum family.
Mangetout peas come in many different varieties, including sugar snap, snow peas, snap pod, and sugar peas. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are a popular ingredient in stir-fries and salads.
When planting mangetout peas, it’s important to provide them with support as they grow. This can be done by using stakes, trellises, or netting. Mangetout peas also require regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather.
Differences Between Mangetout and Peas
Mangetout and peas are both members of the legume family, but they have some significant differences. Here are a few key differences between mangetout and peas:
Mangetout pods are flatter, thinner, and more tender than pea pods. They are usually picked before the peas inside have a chance to develop fully.
In contrast, pea pods are thicker and rounder, and they are often picked when the peas inside are fully formed.
Taste and Texture
Mangetout pods are sweeter and more delicate than pea pods. They have a crisp, crunchy texture and a slightly grassy flavour.
Pea pods, on the other hand, have a slightly starchy flavour and a chewy texture.
Mangetout pods are often used in stir-fries, salads, and other dishes where their delicate flavour and texture can be appreciated.
There are many varieties of both mangetout and peas. Some popular mangetout varieties include Oregon Sugar Pod, Carouby de Maussane, and Golden Sweet.
Both mangetout and peas are good sources of protein, fibre, and vitamins. However, mangetout pods are slightly lower in calories and carbohydrates than pea pods.
Choosing the Right Soil
Mangetout peas grow best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
Before planting, it is recommended to add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil to improve its fertility and drainage.
Planting the Seeds
Mangetout peas can be planted directly into the soil in early spring, once the soil has warmed up. Alternatively, they can be started indoors in late winter and transplanted outside once the danger of frost has passed.
To plant the seeds, dig a shallow trench about 2.5cm deep and 5cm wide. Space the seeds about 5cm apart and cover them with soil. Water the area thoroughly and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes about 7-14 days.
Caring for the Plants
Once the plants have emerged, thin them out so that they are spaced about 10cm apart. This will give them enough room to grow and produce pods.
Mangetout peas require regular watering, especially during dry spells. They also benefit from a liquid feed every two weeks during the growing season.
To support the plants, install a trellis or other support system when they are about 10cm tall. This will help the plants grow upright and keep the pods off the ground.
Harvest the pods when they are young and tender, before the peas inside have fully developed. This will ensure that they are sweet and crisp.