Learn About Peas

How to Sow

How to Sow

  • Because peas are members of the legume family of plants, they can benefit from an application of a soil inoculant designed for beans and peas, prior to planting. The inoculant will enable the plants to take nitrogen from the air to use as fertilizer, which can increase crop yield and quality.
  • For optimum flavor, grow in cool weather.
  • Coat untreated seed with an inoculant.
  • Sow in average soil in full sun in early spring for first crop, in late summer for fall crop.
  • Support shorter peas on small stakes or a pea fence. Taller peas can be supported with a tower or trellis netting. Set supports for vining varieties prior to planting.
  • Sow 2 inches apart in double rows spaced 6 inches apart with 24 inches between each set of rows.
  • Cover with 1 inch of fine soil, and sow 1 inch deep.
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days, possibly longer in cooler soils.
  • Thin gradually to stand 4-6 inches apart starting when seedlings are about 1-2 inches high.

How to Grow

How to Grow

  • Protect spring plantings with floating row covers to keep flea beetles away.
  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
  • Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. They do not perform well in overly wet conditions. Seeds can rot in wet soil before germination occurs when planted in early spring.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Growing tips

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • 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 is ready. If the seeds have made ridges on the pod and the pods are dull green, it is past prime.
  • You can pick snap and snow peas at any time but they are 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.
  • If harvest exceeds immediate fresh use, you can freeze peas immediately after harvest to retain rich flavor. Blanch peas for two minutes in boiling water, drain, and then plunge into ice cold water for another two minutes. Drain again and loosely pack the peas into plastic freezer bags or containers. Use within 9 months for best quality.
  • Peas can also be dried in a dehydrator and stored in a sealed canister for use in soups and stews.

Common Pests and Problems

Common Disease Problems

Fusarium Wilt: This fungal disease causes yellowing and stunting of older plants and yellowing, stunting and death to seedlings. The plant will exhibit signs of wilting frequently and the lower leaves turn yellow and dry up. Burpee Recommends: Long crop rotations. Cleaning trellises and stakes by removing debris to avoid spreading the spores to a new area. Try to plant resistant varieties.

Pea Enation Mosaic Virus: This virus causes the plant to develop mosaic and chlorotic vein flecking. These flecks appear as clear windows in the leaves. Blister-like outgrowths also occur along the veins. The plants will be stunted and the pods distorted. This is caused by the pea aphid.  Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Control aphids.

Pea Leaf Roll Virus: Transmitted by aphids. The first symptom is yellowing of the young growing tip and later the plant becomes stunted. Flowers fail to set, and yield is affected.  Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Control aphids.

Powdery Mildew: First appears as white powdery spots on both sides of the leaves. It spreads over a large area of the leaves and stems. Pea pods will exhibit brownish spots. Reduced yield, shortened production times and little flavor are results of a severely infected plant. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Avoid over fertilization.

Root Rot: This fungal disease causes decaying of roots, leaf shrivel, stunted plant growth and reduced yields. In some cases, it can kill the plant. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Improve soil drainage and fertility by adding compost. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Avoid compacting soil. Remove and throw away diseased plants.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Bean Leaf Beetles: These reddish to yellowish-brown beetles with three black spots on each wing cover consume mostly young leaves and the outer wall of the pods. Burpee Recommends: Handpick. Remove plant debris. Rotate crops with plants in a different plant family. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.

Leafminers: These insects bore just under the leaf surface causing irregular serpentine lines. The larvae are yellow cylindrical maggots and the adults are small black and yellow flies. They do not usually kill plants, but disfigure the foliage. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected foliage.

Pea Leaf Weevil: These are grayish brown and about 1/5 inches long. They chew semi-circular notches on the margins of leaves. Severe infestation can result in young plants being chewed off at ground level. Burpee Recommends: Protect seedlings with row covers. Once the plants are past the 6 leaf stage, plants can normally grow out of any serious damage.

Pea Moth: Larvae are tiny and found in pea pods. They feed within the pods on developing peas. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick larvae and remove the damaged pods.


Pea FAQs

How many pea seeds are in a 1 oz packet? Approximately 140 peas.

What are inoculants? Inoculants are dormant bacteria safe to use with beans and peas. These plants, called legumes, form a beneficial relationship with these bacteria commonly found in soil to capture nitrogen.

Do I need inoculants? Inoculants help peas planted in poor soils. New or heavily disturbed soils and soilless mixes need inoculants as they do not have a natural supply in the soil already.

Are you seed treated with inoculants? We do not treat our seed with any products after harvest.

I planted outside and nothing came up (poor germination).The soil is too cold and wet; and the seed rotted OR the seed was planted too deeply OR animals have eaten the seed.

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