Idea sent in by Potty Dotty (Falmouth, Cornwall) - April 2011.
This time of year is a good time to plant early peas so I have planted up three large pots. I had planted some pea seeds earlier in my plant house. These were a variety called simply "Early", said to be a very early variety. When these were about 2 inches high, I filled three pots with multi-purpose compost and added to each pot a handful of slow-release fertilizer, mixing the compost and fertiliser thoroughly.
I then arranged 12 X 1 metre long pea sticks in each pot tied in the centre to form a pyramid, as shown in the illustration. From the apex of each pyramid I suspended an old CD (or DVD) on a length of string to keep the birds at bay.
On the ground around the pots I placed a ring of slug bait (or you could use a ring of salt if you object to killing slugs) to keep these little pests at bay. Incidentally, an empty plastic container buried up to the rim in soil and filled with beer or cider keeps slugs and snails happy as they slide off into eternity.
I harvested my first pot-grown peas in early June as soon as the pods had swollen - picking just enough each day to use in the kitchen. The peas were fresh and delicious and needed very little cooking time.
Another tip for keeping slugs and snails away from containers is to put a band of petroleum jelly or fruit tree grease around and under the rim of the pot. Snails in particular love to hide under the rims during the day time, so this should keep them away.