Peas are everyone’s garden favorite. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh sweet peas in spring. Northerners and southerners have different ideas about the meaning of the word “pea.” To southerners, peas are black-eyeds, crowders and creams; to northerners, these same varieties are known as shell beans. The northern version of “peas” is known as English or green peas, and if you ask home gardeners to name their favorite vegetable, many will say green peas.
Peas are a cool-weather crop that can withstand frost. Northern gardeners can often plant their first crop near the end of March, as soon as the garden has thawed and the soil can be worked. A few varieties, however, are happier being planted when it's warmer and harvested during midsummer. Seed catalogs and packets indicate the preferred time for planting different varieties.
In the Far North, garden peas can be harvested almost all summer if you use a little ingenuity. Plant peas every three to four weeks for a continual summer harvest. Once you've harvested your first crop of peas, pull out and compost the vines or till them in and replant a second crop of peas in the same space. Or you can plant another short-season vegetable.
In the West, gardeners can harvest peas year-round; in the South they're best if grown in the fall, winter and very early spring before the weather gets too hot.