How to Grow Peas

Updated on January 21, 2020
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.


A Brief History of Peas

Humans have been growing and consuming peas for about 6,000 years. The Egyptians ate them. The Romans ate them. The Chinese ate them. But they all ate different peas from the vegetable that is familiar to us. Prior to the Middle Ages, people ate dry, or field peas, which were harvested after they had ripened and dried in their pods. We eat peas that have not yet matured and still retain their delicate green color. The switch occurred in 17th century Europe. At first it was just the wealthy who enjoyed the luxury of “garden” peas. As they became more readily available, even the poorest Europeans made the switch from “pease porridge” to succulent green peas.

What are Peas?

Peas (Pisum sativum) are an annual vining cool season plant. They are a member of the legume family which includes beans, soybeans and peanuts. Like other legumes, they fix nitrogen in the soil. Peas are an excellent crop to grow in rotation with heavy nitrogen feeders like cucurbits, such as squash and pumpkins, and solanaceous plants such as tomatoes and peppers.

You can plant your pea seeds about one month before your last frost date when the soil temperature reaches 45⁰F. In the Northeast, the traditional date to plant peas is on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. The vines will stop growing and producing when the air temperature reaches 80⁰F.

Peas have symbiotic bacteria in their roots which produce nitrogen to help the vines grow. When the vines die, that extra nitrogen is released into the soil to be used by other plants.

Pease can be grown on tepees
Pease can be grown on tepees | Source

How to Grow Peas

As testified to by their ancient history, peas are easy to grow. They need support so you should erect a trellis prior to planting for them to climb. Almost anything can act as a trellis: supports or tepees with netting, twine or chicken wire. Some gardeners use “pea sticks” which are simply sticks stuck in the ground for the vines to climb on. Peas use tendrils to attach to supports so anything they can grab on to is sufficient. Peas have even been known to climb other plants in the garden.

Peas growing on chicken wire
Peas growing on chicken wire | Source

Soak your seeds overnight for best germination. Erect your trellis and then plant a row of seeds on either side of the trellis. Seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. Germination varies depending on the soil temperature. At 38⁰F, it can take up to a month. When the soil temperature is 65⁰F to 70⁰F, germination is quicker, 1 to 2 weeks. Seeds planted in soil that is above 75⁰F will germinate within 1 week.

Water your new seedlings lightly to encourage deeper roots. Peas tend to have shallow roots. When the vines are 6 inches tall, mulch them with 2 inches of straw or compost. Mulch keeps weeds from growing and competing with your plants. It also keeps the soil cool and retains moisture.

Peas are ready to harvest when the pods are full.
Peas are ready to harvest when the pods are full. | Source

How to Harvest Peas

Harvest on your peas starts 60 to 70 days after germination. They are ready to harvest when the pods are full and the outline of the peas is clear. Don’t pull the pods away from the vine. This could break the vines. Instead, use two hands, one to hold the vine and the other to pull on the pod. Or better yet, using pruners, gently cut the pods from the vines.

Since peas are the seeds of the pea plants, harvesting the pods will cause the plants to produce more peas. Annual plants grow, flower and set seed in one year. They won’t die until they have produced seed or they are killed by frost in the fall or in the case of peas, hot summer temperatures. When you harvest peas, you are taking away the plants’ seeds so they will make more peas (seeds).

How to Store Peas

After harvest, the sugar in peas turns to starch, affecting the flavor so you need to either use them or preserve them within a few hours of picking. Most people preserve peas by canning them. They can also be blanched and then frozen. Peas can be frozen for up to 6 months.

© 2017 Caren White


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      3 years ago

      Marlene, so glad you found my hub helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 years ago from USA

      I tried growing peas a couple of times, but was unsuccessful. I learned something very important here. Temperature matters. I believe I have not been planting at the right time of year. It's good to know that peas have to be used or preserved fairly quickly after picking them.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)