When to plant peas

When to plant peas

When is the best time to plant peas?  Well that depends on where you live!  Let’s start with a few things that peas like, and need to thrive.

Like pretty much everything that you grow in soil, peas have a preference for the temperature, amount of sunlight, space, and soil pH that they are able to grow in.

The best time and way to plant outdoors:

If you are planting (or more correctly “sowing”) your pea seeds directly in the outdoor soil you should plan to plant in the early spring, roughly 4-6 weeks before the last anticipated frost.  Peas are happiest  when the temperature stays below 21 C so if you’re unsure planting earlier may be safer than planting too late.  Pea seeds need approximately 2 inches from each other in every direction to accommodate their growth, and do best when placed 1-1.5 inches deep in the soil.  After planting a light watering is recommended if the soil was dry (and you don’t want to plant in soil that is too wet, heavy, or clay like).  

Pea preferences for growth:

As a general rule peas prefer to have full sun, but grow best in cooler climates with a soil pH of 6 to 7.  Therefor, if you live in a hot climate your “winter” season may be best for providing the peas with an adequate temperature (below 21 degrees as much as possible, with a soil temp still above freezing).  Remember that it takes about 14 days for the pea seeds to germinate, and soil temperatures are critical during this time – thankfully there is a rather wide range that the pea seeds can handle!  Watering is also a key component to your pea growth – you don’t want to water so much that the seeds are washed away, or soil becomes dense and heavy, but it is also important to not let the soil dry out completely so your garden should be monitored daily and watered accordingly.  Many peas also like having a structure to climb so structures such as a small picket fence, wire, or posts can be beneficial during the growth stage.  Be sure to plant your rows far enough a part that you will still have a walkway to access all plants for watering and harvesting.

Previous Years Garden Prep:

Peas are great for putting nitrogen back into your soil, so depending on what you planted the year prior they may be the right choice for getting your garden ready for something else again the following year.  As with most vegetables it can be highly beneficial to add some compost to your garden bed after the previous growing season to help keep the soil rich with nutrients for the next years crop.

Harvesting Time:

Harvesting time – the most exciting part!  After a season of work and waiting you finally get to taste your freshly grown peas.  The peas can be harvested any time of day, but for the freshest, crispiest and most desirable crop a morning harvest is recommended.    While harvesting the peas it is important that you are careful not to harm the remaining plant.  The easiest way to get the pea pods off is to hold the plant just before the pea and gently twist/pull the pea pod until it releases – ripping or tearing off the pea pods is not recommended.

For more information on how to best plant, care for, grow, and harvest your peas check out the following websites:

https://commonsensehome.com/growing-peas/

https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/468/

http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/when-to-plant-peas.html

https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/vegetables/peas/all-about-peas/article10250.html

https://www.almanac.com/plant/peas

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