By Kathee Mierzejewski
It’s that time of year again, and when thinking about starting your garden, you might be wondering, “How do I grow peas?” First of all, when thinking about how to grow peas, think about what kind of peas you want to grow. There are several varieties, and they are used for different things.
There are your regular garden peas (Pisum sativum), which are great either raw in salads or by themselves. There are snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon), which are actually used as split peas, and then there are snow peas (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum), the pea pods you use in a stir fry.
How to Grow Peas
You might be wondering when to plant peas. The best thing to do is start them outdoors. The requirements for growing peas are a little less stringent than for other vegetables in that they enjoy a cooler, moderate climate. Make sure the soil is at least 45 F. (7 C.) before putting your seed or plants in the soil. They like moist soil as well, so be sure the soil is damp yet well-drained.
There are requirements for growing peas that are a little more heat tolerant as well. When you plant peas that can tolerate the heat, wait until mid to late summer to start them so you can enjoy them all during the fall.
When you plant your peas in the soil, start the seeds one to 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and 1 inch apart. Space your rows 18 inches apart. Fertilize the soil at planting time. When thinking about plant care, remember that peas like fertilizer again after you pick the first crop.
Also, remember that when you grow peas, keep the soil moist and be sure to water the plants during the drier season of summer.
Garden peas are picked when the pods are nice and swollen. This means the peas inside are going to be perfect. Other types of peas can be harvested every one to three days and are ripe enough when their bodies snap like green beans.
The requirements for growing peas are simply to pay attention to plant care. If you pay attention to plant care, peas will do well in your garden and you can have a harvest of peas most of the summer and late into fall.