Green peas, garden peas, or whatever you call them, are delicious and very healthy. They contain various minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.
It’s no secret that the cost of living increases as the years go on, so growing your own produce is becoming a desirable proposition; it’s something that can save money.
Also, much of the produce on the market contains ingredients you don’t want to be eating. For example, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides are not healthy to ingest. For this reason, growing your own green peas at home is recommended.
However, green peas need the right conditions to grow; they’re not overly complicated, but you need to follow the proper steps. So, this article discusses how to grow garden peas. Let’s get started.
How to Grow Garden Peas: Everything You Need to Know
We’ll cover all aspects of growing garden peas at home, including seed germination, planting and transplanting, watering, fertilizing, and more.
Pick Your Peas
The first thing you need to do is choose the garden peas you want to grow. There are three main varieties: shelling peas, snap peas, and snow peas. In addition, there are many varieties within each of these categories.
The green arrow and Lincoln peas are good shelling pea options. For snap peas, sugar snap and early snap peas are recommended, and mammoth melting sugar, Oregon sugar pod, and snowbird peas are popular snow pea options.
In terms of garden pea varieties, there are so many to talk about that there just isn’t enough time. Therefore, before you choose, we recommend more research on this front.
Preparing the Planting Site
The good news about most garden pea varieties is that they are cold-weather legumes and don’t need the weather to be overly warm when you plant them. In fact, it is best to plant them when the soil is still fairly cool.
There are a few things to know about preparing your planting site. Follow the tips below to properly prepare your garden pea planting site.
- If this isn’t your first time growing garden peas, make sure that you don’t plant them in the same place more than once every 3 to 4 years; you need to rotate your crops.
- Turn over your garden pea bed in the fall, before the spring planting season. In addition, mix in some aged manure, compost, and mulch to prepare the soil for the peas in the springtime. Keep in mind that peas need potassium and phosphorus to grow correctly. However, you don’t want to give them too much nitrogen.
- Ensure that you select a sunny location. Peas can grow in the shade, although they won’t grow as large or tasty.
- If you are planting peas that grow on vines, you will need to set up poles, stakes, a trellis, or a cage before you plant them.
Planting Your Garden Peas
With your soil prepared and the weather ideal, it’s time to plant your garden peas. First, you’ll need to germinate the seeds. Soak them in water for a night before planting them. You should see the seeds break open, with little sprouts coming out.
Next, make tiny holes with a small shovel or your fingers and plant these seeds about 1 inch under the soil’s surface. If the soil is quite dry, plant them slightly deeper.
Plant them no closer than two inches apart; your plants will need room to grow. Ensure each row is at least 7 inches from the next row if you plant rows of peas.
These plants don’t like being transplanted, and the roots are pretty susceptible to damage. Therefore, it is best to plant your garden pea seeds in their final location. After that, it is technically possible to transplant them, although it is risky.
Plant your peas between four to six weeks before the last frost date. Peas can handle relatively cold conditions; you can plant peas in soil as cool as 40° Fahrenheit (anywhere between 40° and 80° Fahrenheit is ideal). If you have a long and wet spring where you live, you will want to use raised garden beds.
Also, keep in mind that you can plant peas in the late summer or early fall.
Watering and Fertilizing Your Garden Peas
Your garden peas will need water. Unless they are wilting, you don’t want to give them more than one inch of water per week. Pea rot is a real issue that can occur when your pea plants are overwatered. That said, you don’t want to let them dry out.
Early morning is the best time to water your pea plants, especially before the sun comes out. Watering your pea plants while the sun is beating down will cause water to evaporate too quickly. Moreover, if water gets on the foliage, it might magnify the sunlight and end up burning your plants.
On that note, you can also water late in the evening, although early morning is best.
Garden peas usually don’t need fertilizing. If you properly mulch and fertilize the soil before planting, even in the fall before, your plants should be fine.
In addition, if you’re growing tall pea plants, such as those that grow on vines, they will need physical support. You can use soft twine or string to gently tie their stems to a cage, pole, or trellis.
Dealing with Pests and Other Issues
Watch your plants for any signs of pests, including aphids, Mexican bean beetles, root-knot nematodes, and wireworms.
Each of these pets looks slightly different, causes different damage, and requires different steps to eliminate. However, some basic insecticidal soap or stronger insecticide should usually do the trick. If you see that the roots of your pea plants are being eaten or that the leaves have big holes in them, you probably have pests.
There are other problems to watch for, such as fusarium wilt, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and white mold. If you see any of these fungus types growing on your garden pea plants, you need to use the proper fungicide right away. Fungus can very quickly kill your garden pea plants.
Picking Your Peas
Your garden peas should be ready to pick 60 to 70 days after planting. The different pea varieties have different signs that tell you that they are ready. Therefore, research the specific type of garden pea you are growing.
That said, once the plant flowers and bloom, the peas will mature very quickly. When the garden peas are ready to pick, pick them in the morning, right after the morning dew has dried.
Also, when picking your peas, use two hands, so you don’t damage the plant. Hold the vine with one hand and use the other hand to pull the pods off. If your pea pods are hard or dull, they are over mature.
You should now know the basics of growing your own garden peas. If you follow the steps listed above, you’ll get your peas off to a good start.