Growing Peas 101

Still a garden favorite, peas are one of the first vegetables that you'll plant and harvest in spring.

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PeasGrowing Guide

Soil preference: Early peas in particular like raised beds or a sandy loam soil that warms up quickly. Heavier soils can provide cooler conditions for a late pea crop, but you'll need to loosen the ground before planting by working in some organic matter.

Planting: Give peas a sunny spot protected from high winds. Later crops appreciate partial shade.

Fall planting: Some growers have success with fall pea crops by planting them where corn or pole beans will shade them until the weather cools.

Spacing: Space seeds of bush or drawf peas 1" apart in rows 2' apart. Sow early crop seeds 2" deep in light soil or 1" deep in heavy soil. Thin to 2"-3" apart. Plant vining types in double rows 6-8" apart on eather side of 5'-6' tall supports.

Watering: Providing peas with just the right amount of water is a little tricky. They should never be water logged. On the other hand, don't let the soil dry out when peas are germinating or blooming or when pods are swelling. Once the plants are up, they only need about 1/2" water every week until they start to bloom; then, increase their water to 1" a week until the pods fill out.

Fertilizing: Peas supply their own nitrogen, so go easy on such fertilizers as manure. Too much nitrogen produces lush foliage but few peas.

 

Special hint: To make good use of garden space, interplant peas with radishes, spinach, lettuce, or other early greens. Cucumbers and potatoes are good companion plant, but peas don't do well when planted near garlic or onions.

 

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