The Vegetable Garden

Peas, Garden

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PeasPea is a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States, wherever a cool season of sufficient duration exists. For gardening purposes, peas may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). Garden pea varieties have smooth or wrinkled seeds. The smooth-seeded varieties tend to have more starch than the wrinkled-seeded varieties. The wrinkled-seeded varieties are generally sweeter and usually preferred for home use.
 

The smooth-seeded types are used more often to produce ripe seeds that are used like dry beans and to make split-pea soup. Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside. Snow peas are meant to be harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop at all. The Southern pea (cowpea) is an entirely different warm-season vegetable that is planted and grown in the same manner as beans.

Varieties

 

The following varieties (listed in order of maturity) have wrinkled seeds and are resistant to fusarium wilt unless otherwise indicated.

Early

  • Daybreak (54 days to harvest; 20 to 24 inches tall, good for freezing)
  • Spring (57 days; 22 inches tall; dark green freezer peas)

Main Season

  • Sparkle (60 days to harvest; 18 inches tall; good for freezing)
  • Little Marvel (63 days; 18 inches tall; holds on the vine well)
  • Green Arrow (68 days; 28 inches tall; pods in pairs; resistant to fusarium and powdery mildew)
  • Wando (70 days; 24-30 inches; withstands some heat; best variety for late spring planting)

Sugar

  • Snowbird (58 days; 18 inches tall; double or triple pods in clusters)
  • Dwarf Gray Sugar (65 days; 24 to 30 inches)
  • Snowflake (72 days; 22 inches to harvest; high yield)

When To Plant

Peas thrive in cool, moist weather and produce best in cool, moderate climates. Early plantings normally produce larger yields than later plantings. Peas may be planted whenever the soil temperature is at least 45°F, and the soil is dry enough to till without its sticking to garden tools.

Plantings of heat-tolerant varieties can be made in midsummer to late summer, to mature during cool fall days. Allow more days to the first killing frost than the listed number of days to maturity because cool fall days do not speed development of the crop as do the long, bright days of late spring.

Spacing & Depth

Plant peas 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep and one inch apart in single or double rows. Allow 18 to 24 inches between single or pairs of rows. Allow 8 to 10 inches between double rows in pairs.

 Pea, Wando
Pea, Wando
 Pea, Oregon Sugar Pod
Pea, Oregon Sugar Pod