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Shelling Pea 'Champion of England' aka 'Fairbeard's Champion of England'

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  • Shelling Pea 'Champion of England' aka 'Fairbeard's Champion of England'

    Just thought I'd mention this treasure of a shelling pea. Grown for the first time this year, Champion of England was very early with lots of lovely big curved pods. The seed count is impressive too. Most pods have 9 seeds, but I found a couple that had 10 seeds. Not many pods needed for dinner here!

  • #2
    Well I should have waited before writing the above, because....................................
    in the end there were 2 pods with 11 seeds. WOW! I hadn't noticed that these were so well filled, because we ate all the later pods and left the earlier ones for seed. And the later pods only contained 4-8 seeds.


    • #3
      Those are some serious pea counts! I've grown Champion of England before, a nice pea, I must admit I didn't note it having such a large pea count. I think they have just moved onto my grow list for next year. How did you rate them eaten raw/cooked?


      • #4
        Post deleted, I hope that's what you wanted
        I didn't realize it was "Fairbeard's Champion" of England, is there more to the history you know?


        • #5
          Yes there is history information about this pea

          Rebsie Fairholm has written a very informative review:

          and I will quote from that.

          " It's over 160 years old and was very popular and well known in its heyday, which lasted until the early 20th century. As was its breeder, William Fairbeard, who ran a nursery in the Kent village of Teynham and was a very well respected pea man of his day"

          An old heritage variety. The pea in her picture looks similar to mine with one exception - she reports the seed count as 8 or 9. As mine had up to 11 and most pods had 9 or more, it is a bit of a puzzle. The Real Seed company also sells this variety and they said that they had seeds for this variety from various sources, until they found the strain that they really liked from a gardener in Lincolnshire.

          (near the bottom of the page)
          They report 8-10 seeds per pod. By all accounts the pods are large and well-filled. It will be interesting to see whether I can get 11 again in the future.

          As an aside, I grow a bean and the OS of this bean insists he shelled 11 out of several pods. I never had 11 - 8 is my upper limit for that bean and most have fewer. Not sure what determines the number of seeds in a bean or pea. Genes or nurture? Any ideas?


          • #6
            Have just harvested the 2015 crop. The earliest and biggest pods (not crackly but pretty dry) are for seeds and I don't know what they contain yet, but the others were shelled for the freezer. Most had 9 peas in them, one had 10, none with 11. Very pleased with these.


            • #7
              I sowed some of those in my landrace pea patch last week, to fill in the gaps where blackbirds disrupted things a few weeks ago. Mine were from Real Seeds. Hopefully I've not left it too late, but I was delayed quite a lot by various things and then decided to wait until the "heatwave" was properly over...


              • Galina
                Galina commented
                Editing a comment
                Good luck with them. I find that later sown peas are never quite as trouble-free as those sown in February or March. Pea maggots are not an issue with early ones and neither is the inevitable mildew. I sow indoors and transplant. As a consequence I am keen to pick up any experience from later pea growers how to overcome these issues. It would help with my 'second generation in one year' growing.

            • #8
              Lol, I never did get to sow them this year, everything went a bit pear shaped with sowing peas. In the end I opted for my beloved Alderman! Next year will be Champion of England and if I get anywhere near your results I'll be very happy.

              I find powdery mildew more of a problem for later sown peas, it really can put the stops on.