Over the last few days I’ve planted about 900 peas. To get a decent crop you really do need to plant in large quantities but that doesn’t mean they need to take up huge amounts of space. Last year I designed some pea hedges for the smaller 24″ varieties, and an a-frame version for the larger 6′ ones. Here’s how I did it.
To make an 8′ pea hedge (for just a dollar a foot) – I started with 3 x 2″ x 1″ x 8′ weathershields from Home Depot. Cut one of the lengths into four pieces. Drill the other lengths with holes all the way through, about an inch apart. Then, join those two lengths (with the neatest hole side facing outwards) into a rectangle with 2 shorter lengths of the 24″ pieces. I added an extra piece in the middle so it didn’t warp, but two extra pieces would probably have been better.
Next you’ll need some fishing line (50lb is a good weight). I got mine from Walmart. Thread the line through the bottom of the first hole and tie it on. Then, thread the wire through the wood and pull it as you go to keep it tight. I stopped halfway along the 8′ sections to tie the line off and start with a new piece, just to keep it tight. Once you’ve got the fishing line threaded through, attach some stakes to each end of the frame.The stakes should be about 4 inches longer than the fence.
Next you’ll need some conduit pipe. Again, I got mine in 10′ lengths from home depot, and cut them into three. Hammer them in the ground so the pea fence sits between two pieces of pipe and tie the fences on.
The a-frame is made in the same way, except with a 6′ x 6′ frame. The conduit pipe (10′ cut into two this time) is hammered into the ground at an angle to match the frames. I used hinges at the top, and there’s no need for stakes here.
HOW TO USE THE FENCES THROUGHOUT THE SEASONS.
The great thing about these hedges is that they are easy to move around, because it’s just the conduit pipe that keeps them in place, which is easy to pull out. I untie and remove the frames when I’m not using them, and they stack away easily. When it’s time to plant, I rake back my mulch, plant the peas and when they are about 3 – 4 inches tall, replace the mulch and sit the fences back on top, tying them to the pipe. By removing the fences when planting, it also makes it much easier to lay down bird netting to protect your precious seedlings. If you get the right size, the netting will fit over the pipe, keeping it in place.
I love edible hedges. I think they give structure to a garden as well as being amazing space savers. I plant a pea on either side, an inch apart, so with just one 8′ hedge you will be able to plant almost 200 peas.