The Asparagus Pea is also known as winged pea. An attractive half-hardy annual plant with small, winged, edible pods. A tropical legume plant native to Papua New Guinea. It grows abundantly in hot, humid equatorial countries, from the Philippines and Indonesia to India, Burma and Sri Lanka. Technically not a pea and young pods tastes delicately like asparagus.
These peas were once part of flower gardens; belong to the vetch family of plants. A sprawling bushy plant producing bright green leaves and crimson flowers; make them worth growing for just their appearance alone.
Here's our guide to growing Asparagus Pea:
How, Where & When to Grow Asparagus Pea
They are not frost hardy plants. Start seeds in April under protection, in seed or module trays or in 6cm pots, barely covering the seed with compost. Germination should take approximately 7-14 days at 19-21C. Or, sow directly outdoors when all signs of frost have past. Plant out in free draining fertile soil, previously prepared soil with well-rotted compost, prefers full sun but will thrive in past shade position too.
Although plants grow to no more than 40cm in height; a little support will be required. Space plants 20cm apart and 45cm between rows.
Pest and disease find them less attractive but will require regular watering and a weekly feed on the onset of flowers. Keep harvesting pods or deadheading to encourage future flowers and pods.
Small mangetout-like pods should be gathered when no bigger than 3cm, to avoid pods getting fibrous and stringy. Asparagus Pea can be eaten raw in salads, fried in butter, stir-fried or added to soups and stews. The seeds can also be eaten like peas. The beans themselves are similar to soybeans in both use and nutritional content (being 29% to 39% protein).
If you're thinking of sowing other vegetable and herb seeds, discover more of our growing guides.