Peas aka garden peas, shelling peas, snap peas, sugar peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas, Chinese peas, edible-podded peas.
Peas best in full sun to maximize your pea crop but will tolerate light shade. May benefit from light afternoon shade in the warmer parts of the southern US states.
Peas prefer a well drained soil with average fertility, high in organic matter with pH 6.0 to 7.0. Peas are widely adapted, but prefer cool, damp weather. Good soil structure is important.
Peas can tolerate moderate freezes and are less sensitive to freezing in spring planted crops than in fall. Light damage to shoots can actually encourage more secondary shoots and result in more pods per plant.
Plant peas from seed. Germination temperatures of 40F to 85F. Optimum temperature is around 75F.
Days to emergence is 9 days when soil is 60F. 13 days at 50F and may take as long as 4 to 5 weeks at 40F.
Sow seed in spring as soon as you can work the soil, as early as late March or early April depending on how quickly your soil warms and dries. Later plantings made when the soil is warmer (60F or more) often catch up quickly with earlier plantings. Use raised beds if your soil is slow to drain.
Make additional plantings through early March to mid-May, or plant varieties with different maturity dates to lengthen your harvest period.
Plant seeds 1 to 2 inches deep, 1 to 4 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart. Or sow about 1 inch apart in a 3 inch wide band (about 25 seeds per foot). Shallow planting is best when soils are cool and wet. Plant deeper if soil is dry. A quick way to seed is to make a furrow or trench with a hoe, place seed in the furrow, cover and firm. Do not thin.
Erect trellis for tall growing, vining types. Use chicken wire, brush or other suitable trellis material. If trellising, increase row spacing to 4 to 6 feet.
Keep soil moist, but avoid heavy watering during flowering, which can interfere with pollination.
Intercrop peas with fast growing cool season crops such as spinach or radishes. After final harvest, follow with late planted squash or fall harvested cool season crops such as broccoli, leeks or potatoes.
Sow fall crops about 8 to 10 weeks before first frost date. Fall crops can be disappointing if hot weather persists. Powdery mildew resistant varieties are best for fall planting.
Do not use high nitrogen fertilizers. Too much nitrogen will result in lush foliage but poor flowering and fruiting. Inoculation with rhizobia bacteria may be beneficial if peas have not been grown in the past.
Recommended Varieties for northern growers.
Progress No. 9
Dwarf Gray Sugar
Mammoth Melting Sugar
Oregon Sugar Pod II
Edible pod (Snap) pea:
Super Sugar Mel
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