WHEN TO PLANT

  • In this article we’re going to share what we’ve learned about growing organic sugar peas and snap peas
  • You can start planting and growing peas as soon as the ground is workable and when soil temperature reaches a consistent 40°F
  • Pea plants can survive frost and temperatures in the lower 20’s except when emerging from soil and during bloom

Back To Top

WHERE TO PLANT

  • In the spring, plant peas in full sun protected from strong winds
  • Later plantings will benefit from shade against afternoon sun
  • Planting next to taller plants, such as corn, can provide protection during the heat of the day
  • It is essential that pea roots be kept from over-heating
  • Applying 2” of mulch around the base of your pea plants will help keep the roots cool; as the weather begins to warm, mulch keeps your peas cooler and prolongs the harvest days
  • Bush varieties can be grown in containers; you’ll need to pay close attention to soil moisture levels and water the peas more frequently

Back To Top

PREPARING THE SOIL

  • Cool weather is not a concern for growing peas. Soil conditions, however, are
  • Preparing garden soil for peas should start in the fall by spading or tilling under plenty of leaves and other organic composted materials
  • When the wet fall and winter weather arrives, these organic materials will further decay
  • In spring you’ll have rich, loose soil that’ll aid your peas in developing strong roots and provide good drainage
  • Elevate rows (raised beds) for draining excess moisture and to retain heat, especially in cool early spring
  • Peas are in the legume family and therefore supply their own nitrogen
  • Too much nitrogen will produce beautiful, dense foliage but very few peas
  • The addition of manure is usually unnecessary

Back To Top

SEEDS AND GERMINATION

  • Peas germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40°F (approx. 36 days)
  • With soil temperatures at 60°F, germination will accelerate to 7-10 days
  • Presoak seeds in water for 24 hours to soften the hard seed coating
  • Drain water and spray with a seaweed emulsion
  • Finally coat seeds with an inoculant powder (contains nitrogen-fixing bacteria to promote stronger root systems) to promote nitrogen-fixing
  • Your seeds should remain usable for up to 3 years from the date you purchase them if stored in a cool, dry location

Back To Top

GETTING STARTED INDOORS (and transplanting)

  • Not Recommended: Pea roots are delicate and usually won’t survive transplanting
  • Peas are also cold-hardy, so starting seedlings indoors isn’t necessary

Back To Top

SOWING AND GROWING (Planting seeds directly into the garden)

  • Peas are prone to rot and susceptible to fungus attack
  • When planting untreated seeds (seeds not sprayed with fungicide – treated seeds have a pink coating), plant more seeds to cover any losses
  • Space your untreated seeds 1.5” apart (2” for treated seeds)
  • Plant early crops 2” deep in light soil, 1” in heavy soil
  • Increase seed depth 1-2 inches deeper as the weather warms up to keep seeds cooler to prolong your season
  • If you’re planting peas where legumes haven’t been planted before, treat pea seeds with an inoculant powder
  • After soaking, drain seeds and sprinkle a light coating of powder on top. Swirl around in bowl to lightly coat seeds. Plant immediately
  • Jenny’s Tip: Using a liquid organic leaf spray fertilizer once every two weeks is useful maintaining plant health and fruit flavor. We like Organic Garden Miracle™ which we’ve found helps our pea plants produce more and sweeter peas than anything else we’ve tried. The way it works is – it naturally stimulates any garden plant to convert all nutrient sources to plant sugar which is the basis of the size of the plant, quantity of blooms/fruit, and flavor/sugar content of your peas

Back To Top

WATERING

  • Peas should never be in waterlogged soil
  • Too much water reduce yields and create an environment for root rot
  • Consistent moisture level is critical when blooms are forming

Back To Top

COMPANION PLANTING / ROTATION

  • Beneficial companions; interplant peas with spinach, lettuce, or radishes
  • Bad companions: The onion/garlic family
  • Rotation consideration: Follow peas with corn because of the nitrogen-fixing qualities of peas when tilled in after harvest

Back To Top

WHEN TO HARVEST

  • Pods are usually ready to pick three weeks after blossoming
  • Snow peas are harvested when the pods are flat and the peas are barely noticeable
  • Snap peas are more versatile; they can be harvested when the pod is young and flat or later once the peas are big and plump in the pod
  • Cut off pods with scissors rather than pull them. Pulling the pods can uproot the plant or shock the plant which stops production
  • Harvesting your pea crop daily stimulates pea plants to produce even more peas

Back To Top

STORAGE

  • For storage, freeze your peas within a few hours of harvest to preserve freshness
  • If peas are kept in the refrigerator more than one day, the sugar in your peas will turn to starch

Back To Top

COMMON PESTS AND PROBLEMS

  • Most problems with peas can be avoided by correct watering and keeping soil from water saturation
  • Powdery mildew can be an issue when the weather warms. Your plants will appear flocked; this white fungal coat will drain all nutrients out of the leaves
  • As a preventive, apply sulfur dust to the foliage early in the season
  • Aphids can cause mosaic virus in your peas which causes the plant to yellow and become stunted. Insecticidal soap is effective for this
  • Use insecticidal soap also for thrips, a tiny dark colored insect found on the underside of a leaf that distorts and eventually kills the leaf
  • The Pea Weevil, a tiny brown beetle with white spots will bore an opening in the blossom and lay eggs in the pods; eventually they will damage the pea. Crop rotation will help discourage this pest
  • If pests get out of control, use Pyrethrins, an organic substance derived from Chrysanthemums that is poisonous to pests

Back To Top

You can leave a question or comment.


Leave a Reply