Nothing beats the sweet snap of fresh garden peas. Whether picking them right off the vine or enjoying them in your favorite dish, green garden peas are such a treat. If you’ve been searching for ideas on how to grow peas, and we mean perfect peas, this article is for you.
The common pea is one of the oldest cultivated crops on the planet. Wild peas are from the Mediterranean area; however, the true history of the domesticated pea isn’t fully known, likely because it’s a crop grown by many cultures at the same time. Additionally, humans have always loved to share their cultural dishes, making pinning down a true origin tricky.
Either way, peas are here to stay. Growing peas is easy, and they’re incredibly versatile; peas are served in some of the finest restaurants in the world, but also to school children at lunch. They’re both humble and elevated. Get excited about growing your very own prolific, tasty peas this season.
All You Need to Know about Growing Peas
Learn all about how to grow the most pleasing peas. We’ll answer questions like, “How long do peas take to grow?” and “What is the best time to harvest peas?” Check out these terrific tips, and don’t miss out on this opportunity for harvesting peas.
Choose the Right Peas for Your Garden
If you’re growing pea plants this season, it’s best to know a bit about your pea variety choices. Peas are part of the species Pisum sativum, of which there are many cultivars (or varieties) bred for specific characteristics.
Some well-known pea cultivars include sweet peas, snap peas, and snow peas. Some peas grow as bushes, and some vine to reach up to 6 feet tall, so it’s best to know before you grow.
The English pea (Pisum sativum var. sativum) is one of the common types of peas called the standard pea, shelling peas, or the shell pea is popular in the frozen aisle at the grocery store.
The well-known snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum), Chinese peas, are eaten whole when they are sweet and young because the seeds and pod become too fibrous to eat if left to mature.
Snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) are also called sugar snap peas. This cultivar was developed in 1952 and is popular with home gardeners for its edible pod and sweet seeds.
Famous varieties include Sugar Sprint, Spring Blush, and Cascadia. Finally, there are the beautiful sweet peas, which are not sweet to eat despite their name. Instead, we cultivate sweet peas for their outstanding flowers.
When to Plant Your Peas
When growing pea plants, or any plant, it’s essential to know what climate they prefer. Peas are considered a cool-season crop and hardy in zones 4 to 8, so when to plant peas is in early spring.
Pea plants are easy-growing and tolerate mild frost, so it’s okay to direct-sow them right into the garden or start growing snap peas in containers outside. However, if you prefer to start your peas indoors, we’ve got you covered.
To plant peas, fill your seed tray with soil, and plant two seeds in the same hole, 1 inch deep, in each tray space. Lightly cover with soil when planting peas in a pot, water those tiny pea seeds, and then place them in a warm, sunny area.
Plant heat mats are affordable and help with germination, though not necessary if you’ve got plenty of warmth from a bright space.
Many gardeners say the best way to grow peas is to direct-sow. It’s okay to be pretty liberal when planting peas concerning the number of pea seeds sown in the same area when planting bush beans from seed or any other pea varieties.
Peas don’t mind being a bit crowded and pea plant spacing is not as important as with other veggies. Plant them 1 to 3 inches apart if you prefer. Peas are shallow-rooted, and they don’t mind if you keep the soil moist. Inconsistent watering during the first stages of growth causes yellow leaves and lower production.
How Do Peas Grow?
Preparing to grow peas means you can make clever use of vertical space in your home garden. Where to plant peas doesn’t matter as much when vertical gardening. While bush pea varieties don’t require vertical support, vining peas require a pea trellis to grow upward.
You can always purchase pea supports from your garden center, but why not just build a trellis good enough to make anyone jealous?
By far, the best way to grow pole beans is with poles or other supports. Prep your soil and ensure that it has a pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Set your bamboo stakes into the ground about 6 inches apart and 5 inches deep for good stability; you may need more poles depending on your space. Tie a knot with your garden twine to the first stake, about 3 inches above the soil.
Pull the twine to the next stake, loop it around, and continue until you get to the end of the row. Snip the string, tie it off and start another level about 3 inches above the first line you made. Continue this process up the bamboo poles until there are several horizontal lines of twine for the peas to latch onto while growing.
Common Pea Pests
We couldn’t talk about growing peas without talking about pests. Peas don’t have much to worry about, though powdery mildew is the most common concern.
It’s an unpleasant fungal infection that inhibits photosynthesis for your pea plants. If you spot any white splotches, remove the affected leaves, and apply an organic fungicide.
The pea moth is another frequent pea pest. From about June to August, females lay eggs in blooming pea pods, and the young then feast on the pea seeds. Avoid undetected damage to your pea harvest with horticultural netting. It’s easy, affordable, and protects pollinators from garden pesticides.
How Long Do Peas Take to Grow?
Inevitably, your pea seeds will take off, but how long do peas take to grow? The short answer is about 55 to 75 days depending on the cultivar you choose for your home garden.
Growing peas can be confusing as different pea crops like snap peas or snow peas have varying harvest times. Every variety varies slightly, and the seed package will always tell you what to expect.
Harvest Time Tips
Generally, pea plants produce around 30 pods per plant, each full of delicious pea seeds. Every pea cultivar has slightly different tell-tale signs that they’re ready for harvest. For example, English pea seeds appear fully grown and tender when available for picking.
With snow peas, harvest as soon as you spot the seeds beginning to form inside the pod. Snap peas need to be fully plump before picking. When it’s time to harvest, pinch the stem and pull the pea pod gently so as not to tear the delicate vine.
Easy-Peasy Pea Soup Recipe
You’ve put the elbow grease into learning how to grow peas; now it’s time to enjoy your hard work. You can dry and store them, freeze them for future meals, or enjoy them right off the vine, including the pea shoots.
While there are almost limitless possibilities for your pea harvest, nothing beats eating peas at peak tastiness. Savor the flavor of those fresh peas with this gorgeous pea soup recipe.
Get yourself a large soup pot, and over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in butter for about 3 minutes – or until the onion is transparent. Add the stock, thyme, and your fresh peas and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Next, it’s time to blend that beautiful soup. Some home chefs have an immersion blender, which you should go ahead and use. If you don’t, that’s fine; divide your soup into two batches and liquefy in the regular blender.
Pour the soup back into the pot to warm thoroughly, season to taste, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
How to Grow Peas with Companion Plants
Sometimes the best way to grow peas is with other garden pals. Make your garden more productive by choosing companion plants for peas that grow well together and have similar nutritional requirements. Although peas are botanically considered a berry, they are technically part of the legume family.
Peas are nitrogen-fixers, so plant them with other legumes or try carrots, radishes, and spinach for a fresh salad selection. Avoid planting your peas near alliums such as onions or garlic; they disrupt the oxygen-making nodules in the roots of your pea plants.
We hope you feel pleased about peas and are ready to plant seeds. You’re equipped with all the best hints for how to grow peas, how to care for them, and how to harvest them.
If you have enough space, this sweet and bountiful spring annual has the potential to produce enough harvest to freeze for the whole winter season. It’s time to dream that garden into reality; get out there and plant those yummy peas.
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