Days to Maturity
How to Sow
- Because peas are members of the legume family of plants, they can benefit from an application of a soil inoculant designed for beans and peas, prior to planting. The inoculant will enable the plants to take nitrogen from the air to use as fertilizer, which can increase crop yield and quality.
- For optimum flavor, grow in cool weather.
- Coat untreated seed with an inoculant.
- Sow in average soil in full sun in early spring for first crop, in late summer for fall crop.
- Support shorter peas on small stakes or a pea fence. Taller peas can be supported with a tower or trellis netting. Set supports for vining varieties prior to planting.
- Sow 2 inches apart in double rows spaced 6 inches apart with 24 inches between each set of rows.
- Cover with 1 inch of fine soil, and sow 1 inch deep.
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days, possibly longer in cooler soils.
- Thin gradually to stand 4-6 inches apart starting when seedlings are about 1-2 inches high.
How to Grow
- Protect spring plantings with floating row covers to keep flea beetles away.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. They do not perform well in overly wet conditions. Seeds can rot in wet soil before germination occurs when planted in early spring.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- To determine when to pick shell peas, check the pods by eye and feel. If the pea pod is round, has a nice sheen, and is bright green, it is ready. If the seeds have made ridges on the pod and the pods are dull green, it is past prime.
- You can pick snap and snow peas at any time but they are tastiest when the pods still have some play around the peas when you squeeze the pods.
- Pick snow peas before the peas start to enlarge.
- If harvest exceeds immediate fresh use, you can freeze peas immediately after harvest to retain rich flavor. Blanch peas for two minutes in boiling water, drain, and then plunge into ice cold water for another two minutes. Drain again and loosely pack the peas into plastic freezer bags or containers. Use within 9 months for best quality.
- Peas can also be dried in a dehydrator and stored in a sealed canister for use in soups and stews.