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Graham Rice on Trials

Updates on trials and awards from the Royal Horticultural Society by Graham Rice

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Online pea trial

Posted by Graham Rice on 20 Aug 2009 at 07:21 PM

Pea 'Sugar Ann'. Image: ©RHS TrialsEvery year the RHS tries to accompany its huge trials programme with ventures at its regional gardens and also at East Ruston. And every year we also try to involve RHS members in a trial, to give gardeners and schools around the country the chance to compare varieties, report back and have their results included as part of the assessment of varieties for the Award of Garden Merit.

This year it was snap peas and sugar peas and 200 members along with schools around the country grew two varieties and kept records of how well (or how badly) they did. The varieties grown were ‘Sugar Ann' (above) and ‘Oregon Sugar Pod', both widely listed in catalogues.

Pea 'Oregon Sugar Pod'. Image: ©RHS TrialsWell, reports are starting to come in. And, without giving the game away before all the results are received and collated, the comments so far have been very interesting. Some people found that just as the seedlings were emerging they disappeared: sounds like slugs or mice or pigeons to me. Some growers re-sowed.

Both were rated "sweet" in reports and also as and "stringy" (!) and interesting details were revealed: one grower reported that ‘Sugar Ann' could be eaten very early or allowed to mature and it seemed that ‘Sugar Ann' was also a favourite with pigeons and slugs. Another reported plants of  ‘Oregon Sugar Pod' with pink flowers instead of the usual white - a sign that this variety is deteriorating.

But there are still reports to come - so if you participated in this trial please get your reports in as soon as possible. The hard-working team in the Trials Office (not to mention Thompson & Morgan who generously donated the seeds) have put a lot into this - and you've put a lot into growing and assessing the crop. So please don't fall at the last hurdle, get those reports sent in. the more reports we have, the better picture we can create of how these two varieties performed across the country.



sue1002 said:

I can't wait to see the final results (it was me who reported the pink flower on the 'Oregon Sugar Pod').

on 20 Aug 2009 at 09:40 PM

Graham Rice said:

Well, Sue, thank you for getting your report in promptly. As soon as everyone else has got their reports in then we'll have some results. You'll be interested to know that the jusdges assessing the trial at Wisley thought 'Oregon Sugar Pod' had become unacceptably variable - a great varity in decline, I'm afraid.

on 21 Aug 2009 at 02:47 AM