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Pea

Tips and techniques to grow peas — our favorite spring vegetable -- successfully at home.

Garden PeasThis luscious legume is a popular cool-weather crop and is often the first seed to be sown in home vegetable gardens across North America. A frost-hardy favorite, organic gardeners are growing peas successfully wherever cool weather of sufficient duration exists.

To enjoy fresh garden peas (Pisum sativum) at their flavorful peak, pick the palate-pleasing pods when they are plump, then shell and eat the sweet, juicy seeds immediately. Enjoy eating snap peas pod and all.

A powerhouse of nutrition, peas are​ ​packed full of health benefits like vitamins A, B, C and K,​ ​and offer super-sized portions of fiber, minerals and antioxidants.​ ​They’re ​also ​a ​complete source of vegetable protein​ making them a tasty, meat-free option for vegan and vegetarian table fare​.

Fun Fact: Starch extracted from this herbaceous annual can be used for the manufacture of eco-friendly bioplastics.

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Pea

Pea Seeds

Garden peas are a favorite cool weather crop and often the first to be sown in spring.

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All heirloom pea seeds offered by Planet Natural are non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!

Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Peas

  1. Plant directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in spring
  2. Need full sun and soil rich in organic matter
  3. Support with a trellis, fence or tomato cage
  4. Harvest fresh, plump pods frequently to increase production
  5. Pests and diseases include aphids, ascochyta, and bacterial blight

Site Preparation

Garden peas are a cool season crop and should never be planted in wet soils or soil that retains water (see Patience When Planting Peas). A sandy, fast-draining soil is best. Select a location in full sun and provide support in the form of a trellis or unused tomato cage. Do NOT plant peas in the same spot more than once every five years. Plants grow best when temperatures are between 60-75˚F. Each spring, mix plenty of organic compost into your garden area.

How to Plant

Allow 2-3 inches between plants. For bush varieties, space rows 2 feet apart; plant climbing varieties in rows 3 feet apart or in double rows 6-8 inches apart with a pea trellis for support. Allow 3 feet between each double row. A layer of compost worked into the soil at planting time will provide plenty of nutrients, and mulching the surface of the soil will prevent moisture loss.

Soak seed prior to planting in liquid kelp or compost tea to help prevent disease and speed germination. To promote nitrogen fixation and increase yields, treat seed with an inoculant before planting directly in the garden.

Harvesting and Storage

Pods are ready to pick about three weeks after flowers appear. Harvest peas that are plump and just beginning to appear bumpy; if the pods are discolored or shriveled, they are past their prime. Pick daily to keep the plants productive. Allow 55 to 75 days from seed to harvest.

For best flavor, eat fresh or refrigerate immediately after harvest. Peas can be blanched in boiling water and frozen for up to six months.

Tip: Turn plants into the soil after they are done for the year. Legume crops provide a free source of nitrogen.

Insect & Disease Problems

Check for aphids if you notice your plants curling and turning yellow. Plants infested with cabbage maggot will wilt during the heat of the day. Common plant diseases associated with peas include ascochyta and bacterial blight. Both are characterized by purple to black specks or lesions. If the leaves, stems and pods develop a white powdery mold, treat for powdery mildew.

Always rotate vegetable crops to avoid persistent pest problems.

Seed Saving Instructions

Peas will cross-pollinate and should be separated by 50 feet to ensure purity. Select only the healthiest plants for seed. Allow pods to dry on the plant before harvesting and separate seeds from pods by hand. If birds become a problem before the pods are completely dry, they can be harvested slightly green and brought indoors to dry.

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