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How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Green Peas

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When the time comes to plant green peas, it is so exciting!  It means that spring is just around the corner, and before you know it, the garden will be filled with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs for your family.  But how do you plant, grow, and then harvest green peas?  Let’s find out….

How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Green Peas

No more eating the green peas from the supermarket that have been shipped across the country.  You can plant green peas right in your own backyard garden or raised beds. 

You don’t have a garden yet? No problem!  Learn 10 easy steps to start your own garden.  Green Peas are one of the easiest vegetables ever to grow!

Green Pea Varieties 

They can be classified into three categories:  English Peas (Garden Peas), Snap Peas, and Snow Peas.  The hardest part of growing green peas is deciding what kind.  What type you grow will depend on how you want to prepare them when harvested.  If you have room, why not try all three?

Lush vines full of garden fresh green peas.

When we think of green peas, we think of the tiny green balls that are hard to eat with a fork.  These are English Peas but are commonly called garden peas or shelling peas.   Their green pods (outer shell) are not edible.  It has a very bitter taste to it, and this is why it is necessary to “shell” this type of pea before eating them.

English peas are great for canning and freezing.


The Snap Pea looks very much like the English Pea. Only its pod is a bit more curved than the English Pea.  Its pod is edible; no need to shell them before eating.

Snap peas are often used in stir-fry and are even edible right off the vine.  If you like eating pea shoots and tendrils, Snap Peas are a great choice for you.


These have a flat pod.  They are grown for the pod itself.  They are not allowed to fill the pod before harvesting.  These are found in a lot of Chinese dishes.  They’re often referred to as the Chinese Pea Pod.

Best Time to Plant Peas

Peas are cool-season vegetables and thrive in cool temperatures.  They can be planted as soon as the soil temperature is 45 degrees and it is dry enough not to stick to your garden tools.    They can be planted 4-6 weeks prior to your last frost date for the winter season. 

To find your last frost date, take a look here at the Old Farmers Almanac.  Enter your zip code and then count BACK 4-6 weeks.  This will give you the best time to plant green peas.  

RELATED: Even if you’ve never gardened before, this Vegetable Gardening for Beginners Ultimate Guide is for you! Learn everything you need to know from over 60 resources, all in one place, to be a successful gardener, including improving soil, cover crops, warm and cool season crops, organic amendments, fertilizing, watering, and so much more.

Planting Peas

Planting and growing green peas can be done in both the spring and fall garden seasons. Here’s how:

  • Prepare your Soil

The first thing to do is to till your soil unless you are planting in raised beds.  Tilling the soil and adding aged compost and organic amendments are very helpful in the health of your soil and how productive your vegetables will be.   

Green Peas Planted in Soil
Planting Green Peas
  • Spacing and Depth

Plant peas 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep about 2 inches apart in single or double rows.  I plant in double rows and use a trellis in the center to allow the vines to crawl on.

If you plant in single rows, they need to be 18-24 inches apart.  If in double rows, they can be 8-10 inches apart in pairs.   Since I use raised bed gardening, double rows allow for more yield in a smaller space.  

To make the most of the space you have, before you begin, create a garden map to maximize your space – spacing, succession planting, trellising, and more!

Green Peas on Trellis
Green Peas with Homemade Trellis

RELATED: Take the guesswork out! Use the easy formula worksheets in The Canning Garden Workbook (printable) to figure out how much to plant, for canning, to feed your family for a full year!

What Kind Of Climate Do Peas Grow Best In? 

Timing is important for your vegetables.  As we have already said, green peas are a cool-season vegetable which means they can be planted early in the year.  Peas do best when it’s cool and moist, and they don’t like the heat. 

But they can also be planted too soon, and colder temperatures can cause them not to germinate at all.  Snow in the forecast will not harm peas unless the temperatures are to be in the teens for several days.  If so, it’s best to wait to plant.

Don’t wait too long; green peas will not grow in hot weather either, so they need adequate time to grow and be harvested before hot weather begins.  

To learn when the proper time to plant in your area is, take a look at this planting schedule for your area.

How Tall Do Green Peas Grow? 

There are various varieties that grow quite tall.  Even more so, though, the tendrils will grab hold, wrap themselves around the trellis, and keep going upward as well outward on it.  The good news is they will not get any taller than your trellis, so be aware of how tall you make it.  

In my raised beds, they are already 12-18 inches deep, so I have to keep this in mind.  You will be reaching upward and downward to harvest.  Make sure you can reach the top of your trellis comfortably.  

Growing & Caring for Green Peas

  • Watering

Once you have planted green peas in the ground, growing and caring for them is not complicated at all.  Peas need approximately 1 inch of water per week. 

They do like moisture, but too much water will kill the seedlings.   An easy way to keep a general idea of how much water your peas are getting is to have a rain gauge in your garden

Check it on a regular basis and keep a record in your gardening journal.  This will help you to know if your green peas are getting adequate water.

  • Fertilizer

Peas need very little fertilizer, if any at all.  I don’t fertilize my peas.  I have intentionally prepared my soil over the time I’ve been gardening with lots of organic amendments. 

If you need to use a fertilizer, use an organic one, and do not get it directly on your plant or near the stems. 

It’s a process called side dressing, placing the fertilizer 6-8 inches away from the plant on the side of the row.  Use well-rotted manure or an organic bone meal worked into the soil on the side are good fertilizers if you need one.

  • Weeding

Careful when weeding.  Green pea plants are fragile and can be easily injured when weeding. Green peas have very shallow roots and can easily be destroyed with weeding. 

If you must, as soon as weeds appear, pull them out by hand or very carefully use a stirrup hoe to remove the weeds.  Green peas grow quickly and will soon form a canopy helping to keep weeds away.

  • Mulching

Mulching with a layer of straw or wood chips will help to keep weeds under control.   Putting a 4-6 inch layer around the green pea plants before they come up will help to control weeds as well as hold in moisture in the soil. 

They will sprout and grow to find their way through the straw.

Straw over Green Peas
Straw spread over Green Peas newly planted

How Long Do Green Peas Take To Grow?

Green peas are ready for harvesting in 50-75 days, depending on the variety.  They grow very shallow in the soil, so it is recommended that two hands be used when harvesting.    

You should check the vines every 1-2 days to see if they are ready for harvesting.  Peas taste best when they are full but immature.  They can quickly become starchy and hard if left on the vine for too long. 

Green peas are also a lot like corn, and they need to be picked and cooked or canned immediately, as they will lose their flavor quickly after being removed from the vine.

When Should You Harvest Green Peas?

This is best answered by taking a look at the different varieties: 

Snap Peas

Snap peas are best harvested when the pod is flat and the peas have not yet begun to grow.   The whole pod can be eaten. 

Some are like green beans and have strings that must be removed.  If snap peas are left on the vine too long, the pod will become fibrous or leather-like and will not be good for eating.

Snow Peas

Snow peas should be picked at least every other day in order to ensure a sweet flavor.  They will continue to produce as long as the vine is healthy and the peas are removed on a regular basis. 

Pea pods can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, very much unlike the snap pea.

Green peas really don’t take a lot of space to grow, and the great thing is, since they are a cool season vegetable, you can actually grow them twice a year – early spring and fall.

They are also delicious as a side dish, in a casserole, salad, or in soup.  I use them in my homemade Chicken Pot Pie recipe. They are easy to grow and harvest as well.

I’ve given you a lot of information about growing and harvesting green peas.  What do you think?  Are you going to try your hand at growing green peas? 

Maybe, you’ve been growing them much longer than I have, and you would love to share your experience or advice.

Please feel free to leave comments or advice in the comments area below.

Happy gardening!!

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More Garden Growing Tips:

Green Pea Vine Blooming. How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Green Peas. Hidden Springs Homestead

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8 thoughts on “How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Green Peas”

  1. When do you plan to in the fall? I am in Tennessee and put seeds out the last week in July, never came up. Wasn’t sure if I was too early or not. Green beans didn’t make either. It’s beginning to get around the 80’s for a high now and dint know if I could plant and harvest before it gets too cool. It’s either a hit or miss with our weather here! Thoughts?

    1. Hi Kacy, I’m so glad you ask and I with ya about our Tennessee weather! It’s frustrating when you plant a crop and nothing germinates, I’ve had it happen too. I normally plant fall crops beginning mid to the end of August. The heat is enough to germinate the seed and then “hopefully” temperatures cool enough by the time plants come up. The seeds and soil do need to be “kept” moist so the seeds will germinate quickly.

      At this point, I’m not sure exactly why your crops didn’t make it. I’d love to help, but I have several questions to ask in order to help you. Such as – **Have you have had a soil test? This post will help you to understand soil tests and healthy soils. https://www.hiddenspringshomestead.com/healthy-soil-its-necessary/ **Was this the first time planting your garden? **How moist did you keep the soil for the seeds to germinate? **What seeds did you plant mid July? If you are not comfortable responding on this site, feel free to contact me via my FB page too https://www.facebook.com/HiddenSpringsHomestead/. Either way, let’s figure this out.

      I’d love to help you solve

  2. Yes I did make a few mistakes but nothing that cannot be fixed l really appreciate the help you are giving people. Thank you very much Lynda

    1. Linda,

      Oh my, you should have seen my first year! Major failure, not only on peas either. That’s how we learn. The great thing is with gardening, there is always next year and it will be better. Let me know what how your crop goes.

      Happy Gardening,

  3. Thank you for the info. My peas are about 2ft high and I am looking forward to their blooming. Your article confirmed what I have been doing. Can’t wait to start harvesting our snap peas.

    1. That is so awesome Melody! 2 ft high at this time of year is amazing! You must be a much warmer climate that me. I’m in Tennessee and we have some wacky weather and unfortunately, my peas are about 4 inches tall at the moment. My family loves peas and its so exciting to watch them grow and produce. I’m always amazed at seeds. This tiny little object can grow up to produce a harvest. Please feel free to share images of your garden if you like.

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