Garden-fresh peas have a sweetness vastly superior to that of peas bought in the store or even at a roadside stand. Choose below from our versatile snap peas, crunchy snow peas, and sweet shelling peas.
Sow in average soil in full sun in early spring for first crop, in late summer for fall crop. Sow seeds 2" apart in double rows spaced 6" apart with 24" between each set of rows. Cover with 2" of fine soil. Support shorter peas on small stakes or a pea fence, or taller kinds on a pea tower or trellis netting. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
How to Grow Peas
Thin to stand 4-6" apart when seedlings are 1-2" high. Peas may need extra water under dry conditions, but they often mature before dry weather sets in. They do not perform well in overly wet conditions, and the seeds can rot in wet soil before they germinate. Coat untreated seed with an inoculant. After you have grown the seed once, the beneficial bacteria in the inoculant can survive in the soil.
To determine when to pick shell peas, check the pods by eye and feel. If the pea pod is round, has a nice sheen, and is bright green, it's ready. If the seeds have made ridges on the pod and the pod is a dull green, it's past its prime. You can pick snap and snow snap peas at any time, but they're tastiest when the pods still have some play around the peas when you squeeze the pods. Pick snow peas before the peas Start to enlarge in the pods.
Grow peas with transplants of cool season vegetables such as cabbages and broccoli, direct-sown leafy vegetables such as lettuces and salad greens, and direct-sown root vegetables such as carrots, beets and radishes. Plan ahead for a well-rounded, colorful fresh salad bowl when timing your sowings. Before peas start to suffer from warming weather conditions, plan on following up with transplants of warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, to maximize use of your garden beds.
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