Forget about frozen peas, nothing compares with the super-sweet flavour of freshly harvested, tender, home-grown peas.
Generally speaking, plant peas as soon as the ground thaws and can be worked in the spring - even if more snow is expected. Snow won't affect them.
Unsure what types to plant? Read our Pea Blog.
Before you start
Fertile sandy loam soil goes best with pea plants. Make sure the soil drains well and is loose enough to allow the oxygen reach seeds.
Soak your seeds
For improved germination, soak your pea seeds overnight. They are dormant and this will awaken them from their sleep.
Plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 2 inches apart. Plant in rows spaced 12–24 inches apart. Poke in any seeds that get washed out of the soil (a chopstick is an ideal tool for this).
An old gardener’s saying goes that “rows should be sown in a north to south direction”. This is true since peas are prone to powdery mildew, planting them in rows that run north to south ensures that each plant has maximum opportunity for the sun to burn off the dew.
Peas begin to germinate at around 6°c so soil temperature is the key to getting your pea seeds started. If the temperature is high enough for just a couple of hours a day, pea seeds will start the germination process. Otherwise, begin them indoors and transplant out.
Water sparsely unless the plants are beginning to wilt. Do not let plants dry out though, or no pods will be produced. Make arrangements for support. Your pea plants will soon be needing bamboo canes for climbing upwards.
Peas grow best in temperatures below 21°C. Once temperatures get above 27°C, peas tend to stop producing pods or the pods become tough. Keep your peas well picked, encouraging more pods to develop.
Pick them in the morning after the dew has dried when they are crispiest. Peas are best eaten fresh, they will only keep for a week or so in the fridge.
Peas freeze very well and will last until next years crop if they are blanched beforehand. Unblanched peas will store for about six weeks in the freezer before they start to lose their colour, taste and nutrition.
- Douce Provence - Almost year round sowings with this variety! Great for overwintering with frost protection. Probably the best known pea variety and the variety that you get frozen peas from the supermarket.
- Early Onward - An early cropping variety that is best grown in spring. A reliable cropping, very nice tasting pea.
- Hurst Green Shaft - An old variety that has stood the test of time due to its heavy crop. Can be overwintered for an earlier crop.
- Oregon Sugar Pod - One of the best mangetout out there. Super sweet and only growing to a metre tall they are great for where space is at a premium.