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Easy Peasy :) English Peas ~ cold weather vegetables



Botanical name: Pisum sativumPisum macrocarpon

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 34567891011

Sun exposure: Full SunPart Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral

Peas are a cool-season crop, now coming in three separate varieties to suit your garden and cooking needs. They are:Pisum savitum, which includes both garden peas (sweet pea, inedible pod) and snow peas (edible flat pod with small peas inside) and Pisum macrocarponsnap peas (edible pod with full-size peas). They are easy to grow, but with a very limited growing season. Furthermore, they do not stay fresh long after harvest, so enjoy them while you can!


  • To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil, and mulch well.
  • As with other legumes, pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants.
  • Peas will appreciate a good sprinkling of wood ashes to the soil before planting.
  • Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F.
  • Plant 1 inch deep (deeper if soil is dry) and 2 inches apart.
  • Get them in the ground while the soil is still cool but do not have them sit too long in wet soil. It’s a delicate balance of proper timing and weather conditions. For soil that stays wet longer, invest in raised beds.
  • A blanket of snow won’t hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens could. Be prepared to plant again.
  • Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F.


  • Make sure that you have well-drained, humus-rich soil.
  • Poke in any seeds that wash out. (A chopstick is an ideal tool for this.)
  • Be sure, too, that you don’t fertilize the soil too much. Peas are especially sensitive to too much nitrogen, but they may like a little bonemeal, for the phosphorus content.
  • Though adding compost or manure to the soil won’t hurt, peas don’t need heavy doses of fertilizer. They like phosphorus and potassium.
  • Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.
  • For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at time of planting.
  • Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.
  • It’s best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.



  • Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.
  • Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.
  • Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.
  • Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Place in paper bags, then wrap in plastic.
  • If you missed your peas’ peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Snowbird’ (snow pea), resistant to fusarium wilt
  • ‘Sugar Ann’ (snap pea), early variety, short vine
  • ‘Green Arrow’ (garden pea), mid-season variety, high yields, resistant to fusarium wilt


Wit & Wisdom

If a girl finds nine peas in a pod, the next bachelor she meets will become her husband.







15 responses

  1. I reckon I have a LOT to learn about this vegetable growing lark…number 1 on the list of “things for narf77 to learn” would be “plant peas in autumn NOT summer” I guess…still, my peas are growing nicely so I guess they don’t mind too much 😉

    February 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    • i really can not tolerate the texture of peas shhh so i do not plant them, but my daughter loves them so i will plant some for her when i make her garden 🙂

      February 20, 2014 at 6:29 am

      • I am married to an Englishman so peas are part of our regular routine (at least the frozen ones are)

        February 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      • lol, i have never liked the texture of peas since i was child after they burst in your mouth yuck 😛 … same with lima beans, yucky

        February 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      • I LOVE them all 🙂 Lucky really as I am a vegan 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      • 😀 not me i like meat, not so much anymore as i know what it should taste like so i don’t buy much unless directly from small farmer, including chickens.

        February 20, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      • I wish we lived closer as you could eat all of my wayfaring chooks (chickens in Australian 😉 ). I figured it was lucky that I ate and enjoy lots of veggies and dried beans and peas as it wouldn’t pay to wipe an entire food group out of an already severely limited food palette 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      • 😀 i can do green beans and baked beans

        February 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      • Might be time to put those peas and lima beans in a tomato sauce 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      • maybe peas, seriously doubt huge lima beans 😛

        February 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      • The best way to deal with something that you don’t like is to puree it and turn it into hummus. Add tasty things to it that you like and suddenly something “DISGUSTING!” is turned into “YUMMO!” in an instant. Its all in how you approach it 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      • good idea, make some kind of dip maybe with dill 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      • Yup…if the old mountain of lima beans won’t come to a place that you feel comfortable with them, you just have to go to the mountain of lima beans and teach them a lesson or two 😉

        February 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      • lol 😀

        February 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

  2. Pingback: Pea | Find Me A Cure

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