I have written before about my enthusiasm for peas; I’m always excited at this time of year to get my pea plants out and growing in the garden. I was about to get a tray of well sprouted Telephone and Oskar planted out when I saw that they were harbouring a strange interloper.

An albino pea plant! I had never seen such a thing before, but a quick search of the internet suggests that this genetic modification does crop up in peas from time to time. As the plant has no chlorophyll it will presumably die as soon as it has exhausted the energy supply in the original seed. I was actually surprised how big a plant can be produced just from what is stored in the seed, but its photosynthesising brethren are already outstripping it.

I originally got the seeds from the excellent (and very right-on) Real Seeds. None of their seeds are F-1 hybrids so you can (in theory) collect your own seeds and grow them next year. For most crops I regard this as more trouble than it is worth, but it is really easy to do with peas. I usually manage to find a big handful or two of ripe seeds when pulling out the dead plants in the autumn. And peas tend to breed true most of the time, even when you have other pea varieties elsewhere in the vegetable patch.

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