PEAS and beans for me form a major part of the taste of summer and one of life’s pleasures is being able to collect that freshness and eat it straight away, writes TOM ATTWOOD. In the case of peas, eating them straight from the plants I find there is a sweetness that is hard to rival.

For veteran growers of these crops I suspect there is little I can tell you that you don’t already know but for the uninitiated the first decision to make centres around how you’re going to grow your plants in the first instance. If you lack borders and workable soil, then fear not as beans and peas can be grow in large pots and containers perfectly well provided they don’t dry out during the height of summer. Depending on the bean or pea you choose to grow will dictate whether you need a frame to grow the plants up. I love the structural qualities of a simple wigwam shrouded with the stems, flowers and pods of beans and peas as not only does it produce a good crop they are also very attractive, especially when you’re trying to get some height in the garden. Having chosen a good sunny location make the frame first, either constructing it in a container filled with a suitable compost or directly in the ground. The principle is the same. I have always preferred to use traditional pea sticks but bamboo works perfectly well and there are a range of other products out there that can be used.

Once you’ve constructed your frame (and you want to do that this month) your climbing beans or peas can be directly sown by inserting one or two seeds at the base of each support. I soak the seeds 24 hours before sowing as it does speed up germination. You can sow the seed into individual pots (recycled toilet roll tubes are great for this) and once they’ve germinated and rooted through these can be planted out. There are plenty of varieties to choose from and don’t be afraid to grow more than one variety on the same support.

Next week: growing herbs in pots