Growing Sweet Peas
A Must-Have In Family Farms
Subspecies: Pastinaca sativa
Peas are one of the sweetest and most traditional plants in home gardens and on family farms.
Growing peas can be started after the last frost, and will produce a high yield if grown in well drained soil that is rich in lime or enriched with wood ash. Harvest peas frequently to promote growth and ensure a longer harvest season. Keep plants dry while watering by using a low hose or drip irrigation hose.
Peas harvested while they are still young have the highest sugar content and sweetest flavor. Peas retain more of their flavor and firmness if they are frozen, as opposed to canned. Read on to go into detail on how to grow peas, as well as how to harvest them.
Peas do well in cool weather and tolerate some light frost, so they may be planted when the soil becomes workable. Seeds need to be planted directly in the ground. Soil needs to be around 40° -70°F for adequate germination to occur.
The seeds need to be planted at a depth of 1 – 1½ inches deep.
There should be 2 inches between seeds and 4 – 6 inches between rows. Plant in sets of two rows with a distance of 20 inches between pairs of rows.
Peas will produce higher yields and healthier plants if they are trellised or staked. They will also climb fences and even cornstalks.
Weed carefully and do not use garden tools below the soil or the root systems can be damaged.
Companion plant peas with cooler season crops such as spinach or radishes. When final harvest of peas is complete; late squash, onions, scallions, or leeks will do well in the same soil.
For a fall harvest, plant peas about 8 – 10 weeks prior to first frost. Yield will not be as high in the fall, but the peas may taste sweeter.
Peas should not be grown in the same soil within a 4 year period.
Early Daybreak is a variety that grows to 24 inches tall and is considered good for freezing. Another good freezer pea is the Spring variety.
Sparkle is a main season variety, and along with Wando, is a good pea for late spring planting.
Sugar Snowbird and Snowflake are sweet, high yield pea varieties.
A direct and steady spray of water will displace aphids from the plants. This should be done before the sun is directly overhead so plants will not be scorched.
Pea vines should be inspected regularly for signs of caterpillar damage. Damaged leaves and caterpillar larvae should be removed and moved to some bushes or weeds a fair distance from the garden.
Peas need to be rinsed immediately before shelling. Shell peas by pinching the ends off, the n force or ‘pop’ the peas out by drawing on the thread inside the pod.
Peas can be eaten raw or cooked. Peas should not be overcooked as it will ruin the flavor and deplete the vitamin content.
Peas are easy to freeze and will hold their shape and flavor after being thawed.