Common Name: Peas
Botanical Name: Pisum sativum
Type and Use: Annual with edible seed and seed pods for the cool seasons
Location: Full sun
Planting Dates: For spring, plant seed 4-6 weeks before the last average frost. For fall, plant seed 8-10 weeks prior to the first average frost. In general, February 1 - March 15 and September 1 - October 31.
Planting Method: Seed (peas), 1-1/2 inches deep
Seed Emergence: 5-12 days, 68° is ideal. Seed will germinate very slowly if the soil temperature is below 60°.
Harvest Time: Harvest the pods when they are young and tender. Plants will start to bloom and grow pods after about 50 days. Harvest the first pods about 20 days after the blooms. Harvest time will usually be between 50-80 days.
Height: 2-6 feet
Spread: 2-6 feet
Final Spacing: 2-3 feet, rows should be 30-48 inches apart.
Growth Habits: Legume with small orchid-like flowers followed by edible pods. All peas need support to climb. Chicken wire or welded wire make good supports for peas. Cages similar to those used for tomatoes can also be used.
Culture: Peas are a cool-season annual and like moist, cool soil. English peas are grown only for their seed. Snap peas can be harvested and eaten as pods or seed. Build soil with lots of compost, lava sand, sugar, Texas greensand and organic fertilizer. Inoculating the seed with rhizobium bacteria (available at feed stores and garden centers) helps the roots fix nitrogen from the air. This black powder can be applied dry or wet.
Troubles and Solutions: Healthy soil will control chlorosis, and cornmeal will control soil-borne diseases and help with foliage diseases. Aphids are controlled with molasses and water spray and release of ladybugs. Control cutworms with D-E (diatomaceous earth), hot pepper, and Bt products.
Harvest and Storage: Harvest the pods when they are young and tender. It’s best to eat them right away but if not, store them in the refrigerator at 32-40° for up to two weeks. English peas should be shelled just prior to being cooked.
Notes: These cool-season peas are the true peas. The southern peas include black-eyed, crowder, and purple hull. They are actually beans. Some so-called experts recommend treating seed with fungicides. Those toxic poisons are not needed in an organic program. See Southern Peas for more information.
Varieties: English peas - Oregon Trail Green, Green Arrow, Axton, Thomas Little Marvel, Wando.
Snow peas - Dwarf Gray Sugar, Melting Sugar
Snap peas - Sugar Ann, Sugar Bon, Sugar Pop