While growing peas isn’t a complicated process, you still need to know and follow the basic requirements. Picking the right soil and location are two of the most important factors.
Where to Plant Peas
The best place is on a slope with southern exposure. If this isn’t available, plant it in the sunniest part of the garden. The soil pH needs to be 6.0 or 6.8. The soil needs to have drainage; without it, the peas won’t survive.
Planting the Seeds
Before you plant, add compost to the soil. Do not put in nitrogen rich fertilizers. Peas will get their nitrogen from the atmosphere. Growing peas on raised beds is also possible. This is your best option if the soil is too hard to dig up.
Plant the seeds into the ground. Do this a month after the last frost. (Note: started plants are available but there’s really no need for it. The seeds germinate rapidly.)
Sow the seeds an inch deep into the ground. Space each seed 4 inches from one another. You need to set up supports for peas. No matter how small the pea variant you sow, the vines will climb up. Use the support to manage it.
To get the most out of growing peas, sow a heat resistant variety weeks after you plant the first one. Plant another one two months before the first frost.
Proper Care and Maintenance
An inch of water per week is needed when planted in sandy soil. As flowers appear, maintain this dosage. You also need to nourish it with compost tea twice during the growing period. You can also use liquid seaweed.
Properly nurtured, the peas will be ripe three weeks after the first flowers appear. The time period may vary slightly depending on the variety.
You can use inoculants when growing peas. This is coated on them and helps the peas get nitrogen. This won’t be necessary if you’ve planted in the garden before though. These can be purchased in nurseries. If you want to plant larger peas, expect to get bigger yields. However, you’ll need to use a trellis to manage the foliage.
Several pests and diseases can affect peas. These include fusarium wilt, powdery mildew and root rot. The best way to prevent this is by buying disease resistant types. Another key element is the weather. Plan it in advance so the peas will flourish during cool weather.
There are three main types: the English or garden peas, the Chinese (or snow) and the snap peas. With the English kind, only the seeds are edible. The Chinese pea is harvested when the pods attain their maximum size. The pods are eaten with the seeds. The snap seeds are picked when the seeds and pods mature. Both can be eaten.
As you start growing peas, you’ll realize that it isn’t as hard as you thought it would be. The large varieties not only produce peas but you can also get a lot of beautiful flowers.