With the snow melting, and hopefully warmer days ahead, it’s not too early to think about planting what are often referred to as “early spring crops,” like peas. There are just a few tricks to learn when growing peas, but learning them is well worth the time, because peas grown in your garden taste much better than any canned or frozen peas bought in a store.
Many new gardeners are surprised at how early we can plant peas in this area. My preferred date to plant peas is March 17, or whenever the ground has reached a temperature of around 45 degrees at about an inch deep in the soil, the depth for planting peas. Like most vegetables, they should be grown in full sun.
There are three kinds of peas we can grow. English, or shelling, peas are removed from the pea pod to eat. One variety I’ve been successful with is Green Arrow, which usually have eight to 10 peas in a pod, compared with some varieties that have only three or four peas in a pod. The other kinds of peas we can grow are snow peas and sugar snap peas. These peas are harvested when the pods are still tender and are eaten as pea pods.
For all of types of peas, after sowing them directly in the garden early in the spring, provide some support to allow the pea vines to climb up so they don’t sprawl on the ground. If you have rabbits around, protect the vines from them, because the rabbits can eat the vines to the ground rather quickly.
Don’t worry if we have frosts between when you plant the peas and when you harvest the peas. We will have frost. The peas will survive it and continue to grow, producing pods that are ready to pick around late May or early June. Then once it gets hot, the pea vines will no longer produce and should be pulled and composted, making room to sow a summer crop like green beans.
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