Peas, Edible Pod

What to Plant:  Seeds
Dates:  See Vegetable Planting Calendars
Season:  Cool
Group:  1
Rotation:  Legume
Edible:  Pods
Nutrition:  Vit A, Vit B6, Vit C, Vit K, Thiamin, Iron, Folate, Manganese
Seeds/oz:  90 – 175
Seed Viability:  3 years
Soil Temp:  40º F – 85º F (75º F)
Planting Depth:  1″ – 2″
Germination:  9 – 13 days (slower in cold soils)
Spacing:  3″ – 4″
SqFt Spacing:  8
Days to Harvest:  55 – 70
Length of Harvest:  10 – 12 weeks.  Pick peas daily to prolong harvest.  Harvest will last until daytime temperatures reach 80º F.
Origin:  Thailand, Burma, Middle East, Ethiopia

Bed prep: Prepare beds by adding compost at 1/3 of volume and SROF at 1/2  – 1 cup per square foot.  Mix well by spading.  Do not use high nitrogen fertilizers with peas.

Planting:  Plant 1″ – 2″ deep, 3″ – 4″ apart.  Pea seed germinates reliably, so it is not necessary to overseed.  Cover seed, tamp, and water well.  Pea seed often benefits from pre-soaking before planting, place the seed in a glass or jar and cover with water.  Do not soak for more than 4 hours.  We use bean inoculant – not everyone in this area agrees with this practice, but we think it increases the harvest. 

Watering: Once a week without sufficient rainfall.  Avoid getting water on the foliage and do not touch or disturb the vines while they are wet.  Water early so the vines will be dry before harvest.

Aftercare: Keep bed free of weeds – mulch.  Watch for disease or pests.

Harvest:  Use two hands to harvest to avoid damaging the vines.  Pinch or pull gently, holding the vine with one hand and the pea pod with the other.  One can develop the skill of harvesting with one hand by pinching off the pea stem between the thumb and forefinger, grasping the pod against the palm with the other three fingers and stretching out the hand.  Peas are borne in pairs, but the pods in each pair may not be ready at the same time.

Pests & Diseases:  Aphids can bother early spring vines, but are seldom much of an issue.  Powdery mildew – plant resistant varieties, water at ground level, provide good air circulation.  Use Vinegar-Baking Soda sprays only if production is still high.  If PM occurs late in the season, do not treat.

Additional Information:  Half of the sugar content in peas will convert to starch within 6 hours if they are stored at room temperature.  Chill as soon as possible to preserve the best flavor.

History:  Peas have been in cultivation for 10,000 years.  Greeks and Romans grew many varieties of peas and the Romans likely spread them throughout Europe approximately 4,000 years ago.  Columbus planted peas in the Americas in 1492 and American Indians picked up cultivation soon after.  Thomas Jefferson was a fan of peas and planted more than 30 varieties in his garden.