For a shelling or English pea, Thomas Laxton is a great heirloom variety. This early pea is a good producer, grows tall, and does best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. The peas are wrinkly and sweet, and have a delightfully sweet flavor that make them great for fresh eating.
Thomas Laxton Pea Plant Info
Thomas Laxton is a shelling pea, also known as an English pea. As compared to sugar snap peas, with these varieties you do not eat the pod. You shell them, dispose of the pod, and eat only the peas. Some English varieties are starchy and are best for canning. But Thomas Laxton produces sweet-tasting peas that you can eat fresh and raw or use immediately for cooking. These peas also freeze well if you need to preserve them.
This heirloom pea from the late 1800s produces pods of about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm.) in length. You’ll get eight to ten peas per pod, and you can expect the plants to produce fairly abundantly. The vines grow up to 3 feet (one meter) tall and do require some sort of structure to climb, such as a trellis or fence.
How to Grow Thomas Laxton Peas
This is an early variety, with a time to maturity of about 60 days, so growing Thomas Laxton peas is best when started in early spring or late summer. The plants will stop producing during the hot days of summer. You can start indoors or sow directly outside, depending on the weather and climate. With Thomas Laxton pea planting in spring and late summer, you will get two tasty harvests.
Sow your seeds in well-drained, rich soil to a depth of one inch (2.5 cm.) and thin seedlings so that the plants are about 6 inches (15 cm.) apart. You may use an inoculant if you choose before sowing the seeds. This will help the plants fix nitrogen and can lead to better growth.
Water pea plants regularly, but don’t let the soil get soggy. Thomas Laxton resists powdery mildew fairly well.
Harvest pea pods when they are bright green and plump and round. Don’t wait until you can see ridges in the pods formed by the peas. This means they have passed their prime. You should be able to pull the pods easily from the vine. Shell the peas and use within a day or two or freeze them for later.