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.
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.
Watch out for aphids, pea weevils, thrips. Crop rotation is one of the best ways to avoid persistant problems. Don't grow peas in the same spot more than once every five years.
Plant resistant cultivars to avoid Fusarium wilt, which turns the plants yellow, then brown, and causes them to shrivel and die. Root rot fungi causes water-soaked areas or brown lesions to appear on the lower stems and roots. To avoid root rot, provide good fertility and good drainage for strong, rapid growth. Warm weather brings on powdery mildew, which covers the plant with a downy, white fungal coating. Sulfur dust if applied early can be effective or avoid powedry mildew by planting resistant culitvars.
Pods are ready to pick about three weeks after a plant blossoms, but check frequently to avoid harvesting late. You should harvest peas daily to catch them at their prime and to encourage vines to keep producing. Also, their taste and texture are much better if you prepare and eat them immediately after harvesting; the sugar in peas turns to starch within a few hours after picking.