There is nothing quite like the sweet taste of peas picked fresh off of the vine. They are tasty early season treats that are they are packed with vitamins. Peas are relatively easy to grow, and they do not require as much attention as other vegetables. Still, they do need support, regular watering, and cooler temperatures. Follow our robust guide to planting and growing peas to ensure that growing peas will be a snap this spring.
Ideal Soil Composition for Growing Peas
Peas thrive in fertile, loamy soil that is well-draining. Pea plants are tolerant of most soil conditions, but it is best to avoid heavy clay soil types. They do their best growing in soil with a pH level of between 6.0- and 7.5. You can obtain an easy soil test from your local garden center to test and amend your soil as necessary before planting.
Where to Grow Peas
Peas grow well in almost any garden format. This early-season crop is an ideal plant to grow in your backyard or even on your patio.
Peas can be sown directly in containers. Many climbing varieties require a trellis or other climbing structures for successful growth, so it is crucial to add one to your pot. Place containers in partial shade and water regularly, as peas thrive best in cooler temperatures. Adding a layer of mulch to the top of the container will help to regulate the temperature of your pea plants and maintain moisture levels.
Sowing peas directly in raised beds are also an excellent option for growing a successful crop of peas. Secure a trellis or use an obelisk in your raised bed so that your peas can climb and reach their fullest potential. Raised beds make amending soil efficient and easy. They also allow you to plant seeds earlier in the season than you would be able to for in-ground.
Sowing peas directly in your traditional backyard garden is also an excellent option for early-season growing. It is crucial to make sure that the soil is well-draining, and any heavy clay-like soil is amended with organic material for improved quality.
How to Space Peas in the Garden
You can sow peas rather densely in rows that have support ready for climbing vines. Growing peas in dense rows shade the soil and keep plants cooler and increase the yield of your crop. Sprinkle seeds thickly and cover with a thin layer of soil. There is no need to thin out the seedlings, just let them take hold.
Starting from Seed vs. Buying Peas
Directly sowing seeds into your garden bed or container is the best way to plant peas in the garden. Peas can be started from seed indoors or purchased from your local nursery, but they don’t make the transition well when their roots systems are disturbed. This can impact the yield of your crop. Sow your pea seeds directly in the ground a couple of weeks before the expected date of the last frost for best results.
Recommended Pea Varieties
There are a plethora of varieties to choose from when it comes to planting peas. Many of them vary with their harvest time, but they should be planted all at once which will stagger your harvest throughout the early growing season. Peas can be divided into three distinct categories based on their usage and characteristics: Snow Pea, Snap Pea, and Garden Pea. Here are some of our favorite pea varieties that are sure to please.
- ‘Snowbird’ is a wonderful sweet snow pea variety that is resistant to a common disease called fusarium wilt.
- ‘Sugar Snap’ peas can be eaten whole and harvested early for sweet decadence.
- ‘Sugar Ann’ is a fantastic early variety that grows on short compact vines.
- ‘Green Arrow’ is a mid-season garden pea variety that produces high yields and is disease resistant.
Light and Temperature Requirements for Growing Peas
Peas grow well in cooler temperatures, and even young plants are tolerant of the light frosts of early spring. Peas should be planted at the start of spring to ensure a hardy harvest before the heat of summer set in to stifle production.
How to Water and Fertilize Peas
Consistent watering of pea plants will ensure a harvest of robust, succulent pods. Peas tend to have a shallow root system, so they need a regular supply of moisture to keep them thriving. It is not necessary to supplement peas with fertilizer if grown in nutrient-rich organic soil. You can, however, use a liquid fertilizer in the garden bed as seedlings sprout up to give them a jump start on their growth.
Common Pea Plant Pests and Disease
Pests and diseases are an uncommon problem for peas, especially if you are growing disease-resistant types. Aphids and fusarium wilt are the most prevalent problems that can impact your crop of peas. Be watchful for aphids and repel them from your plants by spraying the plants with a garden hose. Companion planting can also help minimize aphids. Interplanting peas with garlic, chives, marigolds, catnip, or fennel can lure aphids away from your precious peas and help ensure a quality harvest.