How to Grow Peas

Eating peas from the garden is a taste sensation not to be missed. The sweet, fresh taste is unlike anything you can buy at a supermarket. There are different types of pea varieties, but all are easy to grow and give you a decent crop.

Peas are classed as earlies, second-earlies or maincrop varieties. The earlies give you the shortest time between sowing and harvest, then the second earlies. The maincrop varieties take the longest. There also sugar peas that can be eating along with their pods.

Sowing Peas

The variety you have will decide the sowing time, but most types are sown in spring.

Prepare the ground some weeks before sowing by adding some well-rotted manure of garden compost. Make a shallow seed trench in the soil that is approximately two inches deep, but with enough to accommodate three rows of seeds. Sow the seeds in a staggered pattern approximately three inches apart, in three rows.

If you are sowing climbing pea varieties, you will need to put the supports in before you sow. Wigwams of garden canes or willow pea sticks are suitable, or you could try a row of canes that are secured at the top, forming a triangular shape. Some twiggy stick or netting will help the tendrils get started, as canes tend to be too smooth for them to hold. Three seeds, spaced approximately three inches apart, at the base of each support should be sufficient.

Caring for Peas

As the plants grow, they will need supporting. Different varieties grow to different heights, so have the right supports ready. ‘Pea sticks’ are small, twiggy sticks that can be used to support smaller varieties, or young plants, giving them something to climb up. Later, taller varieties can be supported with more substantial canes and string, or mesh.

Keep well-watered in dry weather and hoe around the rows to prevent weeds.

Harvesting and Storing Peas

As the pods grow larger, feel them to see how well the peas are growing inside. When the peas in the pods feel firm and are a good size, the pod can be picked from the plant. Regular harvesting encourages more pods to grow. The peas can be shelled into a bowl, or eaten with the pod.

Freshly picked peas are best eaten fresh, but can be stored for a few days in a fridge. Peas can also be frozen to use at a later date.

Back to A-Z growing guide for fruit and vegetables

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