Tasty, Healthy & Fun to Grow !
Go into any supermarket in Holland and you will see row upon row of glass jars and tins of kapucijners – one of Holland’s national dishes they are easy to cook and very healthy.
But if you want to grow something different in your garden or allotment they are very satisfying to grow from seed – with spectacular coloured pods.
What are Kapucijners (Pea Blauwschokker)?
They are one of the oldest domesticated crops and often called the dun (grey-brown) pea, Kapucijner pea, or Austrian winter pea. (although the easiest is to simply call them ‘cappus’ !)
You won’t find many places in the UK where you can buy the seed, but we have included a few mail order sites at the bottom of this page which do provide them by post. (or why not simply have a nice weekend in Amsterdam and take some back…)
Runner Bean, Pea…..
They are like a combination between a runner bean and a pea – where you will need a climbing frame, and they provide you with blue pods !
There are 3 main types of kapucijner :
- Blauwschokkers– which can climb to 2 metres high
- Desiree – which grow to 80 cm high
- Gastro – which has a green and not a blue pod
How to grow Kapucijners…..
They good news is that Kapucijners (Pea Blauwschokker) are quite a ‘hardy’ crop and will grow in both ‘heavy’ soil like clay, as well as on sandy soil. Do prepare the ground like any other soil, but it’s not important to add loads of fertiliser. (The good news is that kapucijners add nitrogen to your soil, hence they are great for rotation crops)
Either pre-sow under glass in Jan or Feb or sow them outside from March. Ideally you need to start as early as possible and the best option is to sow the seeds in a tray in a cold greenhouse (with plenty of sun)
Do note that mice just love the seeds – hence protection is very important !
The seeds will ‘germinate’ in 1 1/2 to 3 weeks after which you can plant them outside (which is why a cold greenhouse will provide less of a shock)
Like runner beans or peas you need to grow them up a mesh (like the climbing frame from harrod horticultural shown right)
If it’s very dry do provide them with water – but in most cases regular rainwater should be enough.
Try to protect the pods against mice and birds, with a mesh
Kapucijners are an ‘early’ crop – often as soon as early June. So you can easily use the ground for another crop like salads, etc afterward.
Do not harvest kapucijners to early !!!
Like peas the pods need to be ‘fat and full’ – and you will probably need 2 hands to get them of the plant (some people will even cut them)
As mentioned before Kapucijners (Pea Blauwschokker) leave nitrogen in the ground – hence don’t plant the following year the crop in the same place.