Growing Peas

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Becky Staneruck

Peas are one of the first cool season vegetables to grace our late winter/spring gardens, and growing peas is easy! Raw peas are a delicious snack whether packed for lunch or picked and eaten straight out of the garden.  They are full of Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.  Tender pea shoots are also edible and make fun additions to salads and fresh veggie dishes.  Incorporate peas into a children’s garden by erecting an edible teepee that can double as a hideout.

Pea Types

  • English / Shelling Peas:  shelled peas are good for fresh eating, drying or cooking; pods are generally too tough and fibrous to eat.
  • Snap Peas:  one of my favorites for fresh eating, these can be plucked right off the vine and popped in your mouth pod and all!
  • Snow Peas:  a popular vegetable in Asian cooking, these are delicious eaten fresh pod and all, or lightly cooked to maintain crispness and flavor.

shelling peas snap-peas

Pea Growing Basics

  • Sow seeds or transplant starts in Feb / Mar.
  • Seeds will germinate when soil temperatures are at least 45 °F, however germination may be sporadic until temps warm to >50 °F.
  • Pea starts are quite frost tolerant, but tender greenhouse grown starts should be given a bit of extra protection until they acclimate.
  • Use a soil inoculation when sowing seeds
  • Amend heavy soils with compost and add lime if soil is acidic
  • Side dress with a balanced slow release fertilizer.  Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Provide vertical support to save space in the garden.
  • Peas will dramatically slow production when temperatures start climbing into the 80 °F realm.
  • When peas are spent, chop and turn under the vines to add organic matter and nitrogen to the bed for your next summer crop!

Glazed Snow Peas Recipe

Melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 8 oz snow peas, 1 bunch chopped scallions, a pinch of sugar and ¼ c water.  Cover and simmer 2 minutes, then uncover and boil until the water evaporates, about 2 minutes more.  Season to taste with coarse salt.

For more recipe ideas check out the following links:


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