Peas are delicious. From tiny round morsels that hide in their pods to peas that you can toss whole into a stir fry, they’re an easy and sweet snack that’s very popular with children and adults alike. They’re also an ideal crop for early spring, and in many places you can get planting right now!
How do you plant peas?
Choose Your Variety
Shelling peas are sometimes called English peas. They’re a bit high maintenance, because you need to remove the peas from the pods. Just pitch it as a treasure hunt, and the kids will likely become avid pea shellers. Snow peas are relatively flat, and you can eat them pod and all. They make lovely stir fries. Snap peas are a cross between shelling and snow peas. They’re a little wider than the snow peas, but they still have tasty pods that are easy to eat. Soup peas are a different type of pea altogether. They’re not meant for fresh eating, and they’re best when dried, stored, and put into a nice ham and pea soup in the winter time.
Find a Location
Where can you plant your peas? If you’re planting early in the season, you may want to choose a spot that’s fairly sunny. If you’re planting closer to summer, choose a place that receives dappled shade for part of the day, since peas prefer a cooler climate than some vegetables.
3. Grow Your Soil
You’ll find that in the heat of the summer, your peas may begin to wither. This is where pea preparation comes in! If you give your soil a lot of organic material now, it will be ready to hold water as the weather gets warmer. Water those peas and keep that soil building work going, and you’ll have peas that are better able to weather the warmer summer conditions.
4. Get Planting!
Peas can go into the soil as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, and they thrive in cool, damp weather. However, if it is too cold or too wet, your peas won’t sprout – they’ll freeze or rot. If this happens, just plant again in a week or two. Plant peas about one inch deep in the ground and about two inches away from each other.
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5. Grow Up
As your peas grow, they’ll get leggy, and that’s all right. Peas usually like somewhere to climb. Find a trellis so that you can give your peas a lift. Some peas grow straight up, while others lounge around close to the ground. Peas that lounge often get munched by your local soil animals, so they need a little bit of support as well. A short tomato cage often works for shorter varieties, while longer ones will need a trellis that’s taller than your head.
6. Harvest Your Peas
Once your peas begin to produce shoots, you can munch on these. They have a lovely sweet flavor. Just keep your peas happy by minimizing the eating, since the peas need their leaves and shoots to grow.
Shelling, snow, and snap peas need to be harvested at different times. Snow peas are ready when the pods are the length of an average pea. They don’t get very wide. Snap peas need to swell like a shelling pea before they’re ready to eat. Harvest shelling peas when the pods look shiny and waxy. If you wait, you’ll get plump but tasteless peas. Soup peas need to dry on the vine. When they’re brown, you can harvest them and save the seeds for delicious winter soups.
Are you ready to give peas a chance this year?