Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from T&M

Neat & compact, Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ is perfect for growing in containers or small gardens
Image: Broad Bean ‘The Sutton’ from Thompson & Morgan

In our search for expert advice on growing peas and beans, we turned to some of the best grow-your-own bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers. Whether you’re new to growing veg or a seasoned gardener looking for tips to get more from your pea and bean plants, there’s plenty of food for thought here.

This article was reviewed by T&M’s horticultural team and updated on 25th March 2024.

Get kids involved with fun and easy peas and beans

Growing beans up teepee supports

Growing beans up teepee supports
Image: GrowVeg

Growing peas and beans from seed is very easy and makes a great project for introducing children to the joys of vegetable growing. For full instructions on growing beans from seed, check out Benedict Vanheems wonderful article over at Including a helpful video, he covers how to grow bush types and climbing beans from scratch. Follow his advice for “week after week (after week!) of tender, tasty pods.

There’s a pea variety to suit every garden

Pea ‘Shiraz’ from T&M

Purple mangetout is rich in healthy antioxidants and attractive
Image: Pea ‘Shiraz’ from Thompson & Morgan

Looking for the perfect variety of peas to suit your needs? Visit T&M’s blog and read our post on how to grow peas. Here you’ll find some of our top picks – like Pea ‘Meteor’ which produces a crop just 12 weeks after sowing; big cropping variety, Pea ‘Jumbo’; or the antioxidant rich and deep purple ‘Shiraz’.

Choose pea ‘Blauwschokker’ for perfect pods

Inside of purple podded peas with green peas

Purple podded varieties like ‘Blauwschokker’ are ornamental and edible
Image: @lady_green_fingers

“Have you ever seen such pea perfection?!” enthuses Instagrammer Christina AKA @lady_green_fingers. Her freshly picked Blauwschokker pods are bursting with perfect green orbs and the deep purple skin frames them perfectly. Even with a caterpillar incursion, she gets a good crop from this variety. Good job Christina!

Work plenty of organic matter into the soil

Pea ‘Rondo’ from T&M

‘Rondo’ provides excellent yields of the highest quality
Image: Pea ‘Rondo’ from Thompson & Morgan

One of the great things about growing peas and beans is that while they like the sun, they don’t need full sun all the time – partial shade will suit them nicely. Having said that, they do benefit from good drainage and having plenty of organic matter worked into the soil. The horticultural team at T&M says: “For best results prepare the site over the winter, digging in compost or well-rotted manure, followed in early spring by a dressing of lime or calcified seaweed.” There’s also a section to help you deal with common pea and bean pests like pea moth, black fly and birds.

Interplant peas for a quick crop of tender pea shoots

Charles Dowding sitting in front of pea beds

Charles grows pea shoots to start harvesting from early May
Image: Charles Dowding

Over at the ‘no dig’ expert’s YouTube channel, Charles Dowding talks about sowing peas under cover and planting them in a polytunnel. He also explains how to interplant peas and grow the seedlings between other crops. Always a fascinating speaker, Charles doesn’t always wait for the pods to ripen. Find out how to enjoy an early spring harvest of delicious pea shoots while you wait.

Use the gutter method to avoid root disturbance

Gutter method using for planting

The gutter method avoids disturbing the roots of your pea seedlings when planting out
Image: Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget

One super easy way to get your peas started is to sow them into lengths of guttering. Once they’ve germinated, simply take the gutter, flip off the end cap and slide your pea seedlings en-masse into a pre-prepared trench. For a demo of the gutter method, watch the video at Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget. Terry’s top tip? Don’t drill drainage holes in the gutter because, once the roots begin to grow through, you’ll find it hard to slide the seedlings out.

Save space by growing peas in containers

Growing peas in containers

Peas don’t need huge amounts of space to produce a crop
Image: @our_little_veg_garden

Short on space? Try putting your peas into a large pot like Instagrammer Louise at @our_little_veg_garden. Her healthy little plants thrive on their re-purposed peony support, showing amazing growth after their early January sowing. “These have been outside since March and have needed no care as they have been watered by the rain and are tolerant of temps down to -3 degrees Celsius,” says Louise. The perfect low-maintenance back garden crop!

Support broad bean plants to prevent flop

Woman putting support in for fava beans

Liz constructs her broad bean support before planting in spring
Image: Byther Farm

“Broad beans will potentially grow quite tall,” says Liz Zorab, expert homesteader and the voice of wisdom behind YouTube channel Byther Farm. Don’t worry though, It’s easy to make a simple support before you plant out your broad beans to keep the stems upright, she says. Watch as Liz creates her criss cross support using plastic hoops, bamboo canes and jute twine. Note how she carefully covers the pointy cane tips with pots or cane toppers to make them safe. Good work Liz!

Use the V support for easy pickings

Man showing off V-method of supporting beans

Tony prefers the V-method to support his beans
Image: Simplify Gardening

Over at YouTube Channel Simplify Gardening, Tony O’Neill reviews the various support methods for beans. In his opinion, the great benefit of the V-method is that it allows the bean pods to dangle outside the structure. Exposed to much more light and air, the beans grow longer and straighter because they’re not impeded by leaves and stems. An excellent video that also details some tips for soil conditioning, watch this before getting your beans into the ground.

Plant beans to improve the quality of your soil

Runner beans in ground

Marie uses her runner beans to fix nitrogen into the soil
Image: @wildlybountifulgarden

Over at @wildlybountifulgarden, Marie draws on the ancient ‘three sisters’ planting method when it comes to beans. “The climbing beans traditionally would be sowed at the base of the corn to climb on the stalks,” she explains, but she slightly adapts this by growing runner beans up a trellis behind her squash and corn. She also adds French beans to the same bed to boost the nitrogen levels in the soil. Read her fascinating Insta post for more, or visit her blog for more gardening advice.

Autumn-sow peas and beans for an early start

Overwintered peas on a table

Overwintering your peas means you could get an earlier crop
Image: @shegrowsveg

Should you go for autumn or spring sowing of peas and beans? Overwintering gives your crop an early start, but also risks mice eating the seeds before they get going. Over @shegrowsveg, Lucy usually prefers to direct sow in spring, to “avoid the whole irritating transplanting situation.” But with some old drainpipe tempting her to try the gutter method, will she be converted?

Give overwintered varieties room to grow strong roots

Pea 'Ambassador' from Thompson & Morgan

Mildew resistant varieties are ideal for overwintering
Image: Pea ‘Ambassador’ from Thompson & Morgan

Over @theheirloomkg just take a look at LL’s module full of overwintering ‘Ambassador’ peas. A great pick for autumn planting, Ambassador peas are hardy and mildew resistant. As LL explains, she’s only planted one seed per cell to allow plenty of space for “strong roots to form” before she eventually transplants them into the garden.

Stephanie @theenduringinggardener

Perennial runner bean plants

Runner beans can be treated like perennial plants
Image: @theenduringgardener

Got a runner bean you particularly like? Over at @theenduringgardener, Stephanie shares a photo of the runner bean she’s kept alive and thriving for four years. Each year, once the plant has died back, she says: “I dig up the increasingly large tuberous root and treat it the same way as my dahlias. Come spring I pot it up in the greenhouse, water it and it starts to regrow. It gets planted out – this year in a large tub – and hey presto runner beans for supper tomorrow!

Dry a few beans to sow next year

Closeup of dried beans or pea pods

Dry the beans or pea pods of your favourite varieties for use next spring
Image: @plot26a

If you don’t like the thought of overwintering peas and beans, another tactic is to allow a few pea pods to fully dry out and then save the dry peas for use as seeds the next spring. Anjee from @plot26a shows how it’s done, albeit inadvertently. Her beans didn’t get watered while she was away on holiday, but never one to be deterred, she says: “Hey ho, I’m now drying beans for seed next year!

Turn runner bean gluts into trendy antipasto

Parmesan covered runner beans

After roasting and leaving to cool, cold runner beans are flavourful and delicious
Image: MandyCanUDigIt

Glut of runner beans? Mandy at the wonderful gardening blog, MandyCanUDigit has some brilliant ideas for using up a mountain of runner beans. Our favourite has to be Parmesan roasted runner beans – full of delicious Mediterranean flavours, this aromatic dish makes an excellent antipasto on a platter of sun dried tomatoes, olives and feta.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of some of the best online content about growing peas and beans. All that remains is to choose your favourite pea and bean seeds and add them to this season’s growing schedule. More questions about growing and harvesting peas and beans? Why not check out dedicated hub page – packed with helpful information and advice?

Expert contributor list

  • Benedict Vanheems, BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture, garden and wildlife YouTuber, writer and editor.
  • Christina, @lady_green_fingers, organic wildlife gardener, illustrator.
  • Charles Dowding, No-dig gardening pioneer, horticulturalist, author.
  • Terry King, Gardening YouTuber, giant vegetable grower.
  • Louise, Community gardener, content creator.
  • Liz Zorab, Award-winning blogger, YouTuber, gardener and author. Winner of GMG’s Vlog of the Year 2022.
  • Tony O’Neill, Gardening content creator, author, YouTuber. Winner of Ezoic Publisher of the Year award 2021.
  • Marie Guillon, writer, organic and permaculture gardener.
  • Lucy Hutchings, author, gardening content creator, co-founder of The Heirloom Seed Company.
  • LL, Kitchen garden designer & coach, allotmenteer, 2023 RHS Community Champion.
  • Stephanie Donaldson, Formerly Gardens Editor of Country Living Magazine, freelance garden writer, organic gardener.
  • Anjee, Senior editor of The Garden Folk Magazine, gardening enthusiast.
  • Sue Sanderson, BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture, e-Commerce Horticultural Executive at Thompson & Morgan.
  • Mandy Watson, Freelance journalist, specialist gardening copywriter, Garden Media Guild and NUJ member.

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