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When time comes to plant green peas is so exciting! It means that spring is just around the corner and before you know, the garden will be filled with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs for your family. But how to 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 super market that has been shipped across the country. You can have plant green peas right in your own backyard garden or raised beds.
You don’t have a garden? No problem! Learn 10 easy steps to start your own garden. Green Peas is one of the easiest vegetables ever to grow!
What are some of the Green Pea Varieties?
They can be classified in 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.
- ENGLISH 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 pea before eating them.
English peas are great for canning and freezing.
- SNAP PEAS
The Snap Pea looks very much like the English Pea. Only it’s 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.
- SNOW PEAS
These are 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.
When Is The Best Time to Plant Green Peas?
Peas are a cool season vegetable 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 you 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.
How Do You Plant Green Peas?
Planting and growing green peas can be done in both the spring and fall garden season. Here’s how
- Prepare your Soil
The first thing to do is to til your soil unless you are planting in raised beds. Tilling the soil, adding aged compost and organic amendments are very helpful in the health of your soil and how productive your vegetables will be.
- 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 allows for more yield in a smaller space.
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 and 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 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
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.
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 a well-rotted manure or an organic bone meal worked into the soil on the side are good fertilizers if you need one.
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 with a layer of straw or wood chips will help to keep weeds under control. By putting 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.
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 too long.
Green peas are also a lot like corn, 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 are best harvested when the pod is flat and the peas have not yet began 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 should be picked at least every-other-day in order to insure 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, salads or in a 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 would love to share your experience or advice.
Please feel free to leave comment or advice in the comments area below.
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