Gardeners love growing peas for a variety of reasons. Often among one of the first crops to be planted out into the garden in the spring, peas come with a wide range of uses. To the beginner grower, the terminology may be somewhat confusing. Luckily, learning about the different types of peas is as easy as planting them into the garden.
Shelling Pea Information – What are Shelling Peas?
The term ‘shelling peas’ refers to varieties of pea that require the pea to be removed from the pod or shell prior to use. Though shelling peas are one of the most popular types of pea plant in which to grow, they are often referred to by many other names.
These common names include English peas, garden peas, and even sweet peas. The name sweet peas is especially problematic as true sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are a toxic ornamental flower and are not edible.
Planting Peas for Shelling
Like snap peas or snow peas, various kinds of shelling peas are extremely easy to grow. In many places, peas for shelling can be direct sowed into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. In general, this is likely about 4-6 weeks before the average last predicted frost date. Planting early is especially important in locations that have a short spring season before the summer turns hot, as pea plants prefer cool weather to grow.
Choose a well-draining location that receives full sun. Since germination occurs best when soil temperatures are relatively cool (45 F./7 C.), planting early will ensure the best chance of success. Once germination has occurred, the plants generally require little care. Due to their cold tolerance, growers usually will not need to worry if late season frost or snow is predicted.
As the days continue to lengthen and warmer spring weather arrives, peas will assume more vigorous growth and begin to flower. Since most shelling pea varieties are vining plants, these peas will need the support or plant stakes or a small trellis system.
Shelling Pea Varieties
- ‘Green Arrow’
- ‘Champion of England’
- ‘Emerald Archer’
- ‘Progress No. 9’
- ‘Little Marvel’