Family: Fabaceae

Species: Pisum sativum


Conditions:  Moderately rich soil, not excessive Nitrogen.  Cool early spring weather is the best, as well as a spot with lots of sun.

Calendar for Hardiness 6B

March – April 

Cooking: From last year’s crop: in boiling water from frozen.


Start: In March, start seed indoors by placing between two layers of wet paper towels in a ventilated plastic bag; sow as soon as it sprouts.  Also, direct sow seed four weeks before the last expected frost.  Sow 1 inch deep, 2-3 inches apart, and provide chicken wire mesh or a trellis for support as the tendrils attach to it.  A second crop may be started a couple of weeks later.

Care:  Water consistently and do not over-feed.  Legumes are able to fix Nitrogen once established.

May – July

Cooking:  Young shoots and blossoms are edible; add to salads.  Enjoy peas fresh soon after picking, or blanch very briefly in a bath of salted water.  Add to rice, stews and salads.


Harvesting:  Pick pods when bright green, and depending on the variety:

Snow peas – pick early, when still flat.

Snap peas – peas almost touching inside the pod

Shell peas – peas touching, but pod still green

NOTE: Sweet peas are ornamental plants, not edible

Mid July 

Cooking:  Enjoy the last crop fresh, or blanch and freeze whole pods for snow and snap, and shelled for shelling.


Harvesting:  Collect last crop.

Care:  Stop watering and leave some pods to dry on the plants to use dried peas for soup, or saving for seed, if open pollinated.   Cut vines at soil level as they dry, but leave roots in the soil to provide Nitrogen for the next crop.

Soil:  Use spot for a second crop of a Nitrogen-hungry variety, such as cabbage or squash families.


August – February 

Cooking: Use thawed peas in rice, stews, and soups.  Cook from dry for soups.

Gardening:  Check catalogues for varieties, order seed if needed.

Variety Suggestions:

Shelling – Lincoln Homesteader  – 2013
Snap – Sugar Ann – 2014

peas mosaic