Fresh, sweet, nutritious peas straight from the garden are a delicious way to add variety to your summer meals. If you’ve never grown peas, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that growing peas isn’t a difficult project. Peas are a cool season vegetable that should be planted in your garden in early spring. Plant peas as soon as the ground can be cultivated and your first batch of peas should be ready by mid-June.
Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic matter such as well-decomposed manure or compost over the top of your planting area, along with a general-purpose garden fertilizer. Use 1 lb. of the fertilizer for every 100 square feet of growing area. Use a shovel or a rototiller to work the organic matter into the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
Use the corner of your hoe to create shallow furrows 12 to 24 inches apart. Plant the pea seeds in the furrow, allowing 1 to 2 inches between each seed. Cover the seeds with an inch of soil.
Water the area immediately after planting. Water the peas regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist at all times but not soggy. Water is especially important during warm weather and while the plants are developing pods. Water early in the day, as allowing the foliage to remain wet overnight can place the plant at risk of fungal disease. A 2-inch layer of mulch, such as straw or chopped, dry leaves will keep the soil moist while helping keep weeds in check.
Cultivate weeds in your pea patch regularly during the first six weeks after planting, as weeds will compete with the peas for available nutrients. Hand pull weeds or use a hoe carefully, cultivating just the top of the soil.
Harvest your peas when the pods are plump, usually about 18 to 21 days after blooms appear. Harvest every other day and the plants will continue to bloom for up to three weeks.