Peas are one of the first crops we plant in the spring. The taste of garden-grown peas is nothing like what you find in grocery stores; they are nature’s candy off the vine. Plant seeds as soon as the ground can be worked—even if snow falls after you plant them! Here’s our complete guide to planting, growing, and harvesting peas.
This early spring vegetable is so easy to grow. There are three kinds of peas commonly seen in home gardens:
- English peas, aka shelling peas (Pisum sativum ssp. sativum), produce inedible pods from which large, edible peas are harvested.
- Snow peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) produce edible flat pods with small peas inside.
- Snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv.) produce tender, edible pods with full-size peas.
As with other legumes, peas will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it more available for other plants. In return, they require little extra fertility to grow and produce pods. This makes them a great companion plant, too.
Pea plants do have limited growing season, however. Furthermore, peas do not stay fresh long after harvest, so enjoy them while you can!
The key to growing peas is to plant them early enough in spring so they mature while the weather is still cool. This means planting in February, March, or April in most parts of the United States and Canada. They can even be grown as a fall or winter crop in warm areas of the U.S.