How to plant peas? Easy, with one caveat.
You’ll need a trellis.
But you probably knew that. Peas grow up, and even the dwarf varieties will lean into and fall over and climb on each other if you don’t provide them with a trellis.
The good news is, building a pea trellis is as easy as sticking two five- to six-foot stakes in the ground and stretching chicken wire or bird netting across both stakes (tie whatever trellis material you choose to the stakes with metal ties or nylon string, not with those fall-apart-in-your-fingers-after-five-months plastic ties).
And now, to the nitty-gritty:
How to plant peas
I grow sugar snap peas, because I love eating them right off the vine, or raw in salads. But the following instructions refer to any kind of pea.
First, never start peas inside. They are directly sown into the soil. However, if you want to speed up the germination process you can soak the pea seeds in water over night and wait a day or two for them to grow little tails. Rinse the peas once or twice in the meantime.
Second, plant peas when you’re within two or three weeks of your last average frost date. Pea shoots can take a mild frost, and if you live in a hot-summer (mostly above 85 degrees F) climate the peas won’t be any good by mid-June or so. Thus, you don’t want to wait too late in the spring to plant them.
Third, plant the seeds about a half inch to an inch deep, right under the trellis. If the seeds are less than a year old, plant one seed per hole, because probably at least 90% of them will germinate. If more than a year old, plant two per hole, because the germination rate might have gone down.
Fourth, space the holes about three inches apart. Unless you’re growing enough peas to feed an army, you’re only going to have one trellis, or several in a row right next to each other. So no worries about how far apart the rows should be.
Finally, thoroughly water the area where you planted the peas, then keep the soil moist until you have three-inch tall shoots. In other words, water them once or twice a day if you don’t have any rain or heavy dew. Once the peas have grown a few inches, you can back off on the watering, giving them a thorough drink whenever the soil is dry two inches down.
Also, if you plant two seeds in each hole and both germinate, cut off one of them at its base before it gets more than three inches high.
That’s it! Watch me plant my crop of sugar snap peas in the garden vlog below.