Peas are a much-loved and healthy legume so simple to grow, making it no surprise they are a popular addition to a home garden. Many gardeners wonder when to pick peas for the best flavor and how to harvest peas without damaging their plants.
Shelling peas and peas with edible pods, such as sugar snap or snow peas, are only a few of the many peas available to grow. Every pea variety is outstanding, and minimal attention during planting and growing is required to provide a healthy yield of homegrown produce. Planting peas in your home garden is well worth it because of the excellent bite of garden-grown peas.
Peas only grow in the cooler months. Knowing when to harvest peas ensures growers gather their crops at the optimum time for the most sweetness. Plus, peas don’t last long after being harvested, so enjoy them while you have the opportunity.
When to Harvest Peas
Peas are one of the most popular vegetables for home gardeners. They frequently yield a large harvest, perfect eaten fresh or frozen for future use.
Pea plants and blossoms are beautiful while they are growing. People, honeybees, and other pollinators love their bright green leaves and purple blooms, making them a fantastic addition to any garden.
Even seasoned pea growers agonize over when to pick peas but harvesting produce is the best part about growing peas. Picking peas too early results in underdeveloped and bland veggies. Harvesting peas too late means your peas are dry, brittle, unsuitable for eating fresh, and relegated to use in soups as dry peas or for seed saving.
Learning the signs marking when to harvest peas or when to harvest lima beans for the perfect flavor gives gardeners the control to ensure their hard work in cultivating their pea plants was worth it. Whether you grow the English pea, Southern pea, or green pea, knowing how to harvest peas and at what time allows you reap the maximum rewards.
When to Plant a Pea Crop
Sow pea seed four to six weeks before the last spring frost date but know that pea seeds planted in cold soil take a long time to germinate. Peas germinate faster when planted in soil with a temperature of at least 60°F but no more than 85°F.
Plant pea plants in raised garden beds if your spring is lengthy and wet. Snow does not hurt sprouted pea plants, but prolonged freezing temperatures may. Start over if your first pea seeds don’t germinate.
Plant peas in a cold frame to give them extra protection or use the proper container size for growing peas in pots. Plant a second crop of peas in summer or early autumn, about six to eight weeks before the first fall frost. Planting peas again later in the season allows a second harvest, like when you want to harvest green leaf lettuce, Brussels sprouts, or cabbage.
How to Plant Peas in Your Home Garden
Choose a sunny location with good drainage. Peas grown in partial shade aren’t as sweet or productive as those grown in full sun. To hasten germination, soak the peas overnight before planting.
Plant pea seeds around an inch deep in the soil or a little deeper if the soil is dry. If pea seeds are planted shallowly, they risk consumption by bugs or birds. How far apart to plant your peas is around 1-2 inches apart in a single file row or a double row leaving 2-3 inches between rows.
Although pea plants hate having their roots disturbed, you may carefully transplant them. Seeds should be started in biodegradable pots and then transferred into the garden with their container intact as the pot dissolves. This procedure permits little root injury when transplanting.
Types to Consider When Growing Peas
Peas are available in three varieties to satisfy most horticultural and culinary demands. Each pea variety has its own unique qualities, from pea diameter and taste to an edible pod.
Sweet peas, sometimes known as shelling peas, garden peas, or English peas, have non-edible pods which contain the seeds or peas. The snow pea is a stringless flat pea pod with little snow peas inside. Sugar snap peas, sugar peas, and Sugar Ann produce full-size peas in dense pods. Enjoy the edible pea pod and the green peas inside the snap pea, an edible-podded pea.
Fresh peas are a delicious and healthy household staple. Choose a pea type depending on your culinary aims, or go for one of the dwarf kinds if you don’t have much space in your garden, and make your pea-growing dream a reality.
Choose some smart snap peas companion plants like tomatoes and cucumbers to increase disease resistance and deter unwanted bugs.
Pea Plant Care for a Huge Harvest
To prevent pea rot, water your peas carefully, with no more than one inch of water each week unless the plants are wilting. Pea roots fix nitrogen in the soil and make it accessible to other plants, like all legumes. Phosphate and potassium are required in pea fertilizer, but excess nitrogen favors foliage growth rather than blooms or pods.
Add a fine layer of manure or compost substrate to the soil surface around your pea plant or in the area intended for pea planting. Wearing gloves, carefully work the manure into the soil to enrich it.
Use pea poles or a pea trellis when planting tall or vining pea types. The budding pea tendrils need something to climb on as soon as they emerge.
When to Pick Peas in Your Garden
Understanding how long does it take for peas to grow enlightens growers on when are peas ready to pick. Most pea varieties are ready to harvest 60-70 days after seeding.
Pea plants require little attention after planting the seeds. When pea plants with edible pods, such as snap peas and snow peas, reach maximum length, harvest them before they fill out too much.
Pick snow peas when the delicate pods begin to show immature seeds within. Harvest when your snap pea pods are plump, shiny, and full of sweet peas. Pick shell peas before the pods become waxy to achieve the most incredible harvest.
How to Harvest Peas
Pea harvest time is exciting as the opportunity to enjoy delicious homegrown produce has arrived. Harvesting peas is straightforward. Peas grow rapidly, so after they blossom, pay close attention to ensure you don’t miss the optimum harvest time.
Gather peas in the morning after any dew has dried, and they’re at their crispest. Pick peas frequently to encourage the formation of new pods and to maintain a good yield. Harvest earlier if you prefer pea shoots.
Harvest peas with both hands to avoid harming the plant. Pull pods off the pea vine with one hand while holding the vine with the other. Peas are best shortly after they’ve been harvested.
The life cycle of peapods ends when they appear dull or feel stiff. Mature plants generally stop producing and die back under hot summer weather. If you missed the peak season, gather, dry, and shell peas for soups or seed saving.
Storing Peas After Harvest
Keep fresh peas in the refrigerator for as long as five days. Put newly gathered peas in paper bags and wrap the bags in plastic wrap to keep them fresh. Eat green peas raw as a nutritious snack or combine them in salads. If they’re not consumed soon after harvesting, they become starchy.
Peas also freeze nicely. Shell and blanch sweet peas before draining and packing in sealed containers. Prepare snow or snap peas in the same way, but without the string clipping or removal. Cooking time for green peas varies depending on when they are harvested. Young, small peas require less cooking time than older, starchy ones.
Common Pea Plant Pests
Aphids, pea weevils, and the pea moth are the most prevalent pests that attack pea plants. Aphids feed on the plant’s sap, weakening and stunting it; resulting in fewer peapods and a higher chance of disease transmission.
Pea leaf weevils and moths eat the plant’s nitrogen nodules and attack the roots and leaves. There are visible notch marks on the leaves from these insect pests. Environmentally friendly pea pest management solutions include ladybugs and neem oil spray.
For effective pest control, blend and apply to pea plants, covering all leaves and stem surfaces. Neem oil also works against fungal infections like powdery mildew.
Pasta, soup, salads, and stir-fries are great ways to use peas. It’s not surprising that many individuals sow pea seeds in their gardens. Even in colder locations, pea plants allow a wide range of gardeners to successfully grow popular products at home.
Correctly timing the harvest and using proper technique ensure peas are gathered when their sweetness is at its peak and no damage occurs to the pea plant. Whether you’re interested in growing edible podded peas or dry peas, know the timing and strategy for harvest to enjoy a bountiful yield with the best texture.
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