How and Why to Grow Peas

We love peas. Let us count the ways.

1. You can start early.

If you’re itching to get into the garden, you can typically start peas in the ground up to 5-6 weeks before the last frost date.  They’ll germinate in 40-degree F soil, though slowly.  They’ll germinate more quickly in 50-to 60-degree F soil.

TIP: Sow in 1-ich-deep furrows, with seeds approximately 1 to two inches apart from each other.

 

2. They grow so fast.

Like, ridiculously fast. Ideally, the soil should be moist like a damp sponge that’s been wrung out, and rich in organic content from a topdressing of compost.

TIP: Choose a site with full sun and good air circulation. Plant in early spring or late summer so plants can grow while the weather is cool.

3. They are so pretty! And show pollination and maturity in real-time, almost.

Peas are a great teacher of how flowers become food in food-bearing plants: given their quick growth cycle to maturity, you can almost see the flower becoming the pea pod.

TIP: Even if you eat the all of the peas one day, the next day the flowers from the day before will have become the new peas.

4. Their tendrils are the stuff of fairy tale legend.

Watch how peas reach out and hold on to grow higher.  They can be a conversation gateway to talking about support, and how we all sometimes need a prop.

TIP: Install a trellis or other supports, such as string or twine, at planting time.

5. They’re easy, tasty, nutritious snacking!

How empowering for a little (and big) person to get to eat as much as they want of a snack. Compared to other stuff in the garden – greens, carrots, strawberries, etc – peas are typically already clean and ready-to-eat right off the vine.  They’re all yummy: from old-fashioned shelling types or snap peas which you eat pod and all.

TYPES OF PEAS:

  • Shelling Peas: Also called English and green peas, they have inedible pods. Pick before the pods turn yellow.
  • Snow Peas: Also called sugar or Chinese peas, they should be picked when the pods are large and flat, but before the peas inside have begun to swell.
  • Snap Peas: A cross between shelling and snow peas. They bear crisp pods and swet peas, all edible. They’re the sweetest when the peas inside the pods are round and full.
  • Dry Peas: Left in the field until the pods are brown, then shelled, dried and stored.

TIP: Get a variety that works well in your climate.

6. Peas grow in so many different support structures.

A tunnel.

An artistic little house or fort for kiddos.

A spiral.

Your pea support structure can add style and whimsy in any garden space.

7.  The “peas” homonym – peace –  sure does make the world seem brighter.

Peas out.  Visualize whirled peas. Peas, love and happiness, man.  Enjoy your peas. You can go peas-fully.

What’s your favorite pea crop to grow?  When do you plant in your climate? And do you have a favorite kind of trellis or support structure?  And do tell: do you “peas out”?

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