How to Grow Peas

Planting advice for how to grow peas, recommended varieties and pea recipes.

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Pisum sativum

There are two basic kinds of peas: garden peas, which require shelling, and snow or sugar peas, which have edible pods.

Spring peas (snow, snap or sugar, and garden) don't do well in the summer; the plants wither when temperatures rise.

No matter which kind you prefer, eat 'em with gusto, as these frost-hardy gems are an excellent source of iron, protein, vitamin C and soluble fiber. And, legend has it that planting peas on St. Patrick's Day will bring good luck!

Hardiness: Grown as an annual.

Planting advice: Peas thrive in cooler weather, so plant them earlier than other veggies. Sow seeds 1 to 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart, allowing 18 inches between rows.

Harvest tips: Peas mature in 54 to 72 days, depending on the variety. Harvest garden peas when the seeds are visible, but before they get too big. Harvest edible podded peas before the seeds fully develop. Pick regularly to encourage continued production.

To freeze, blanch shelled peas or pods 1 pound at a time (two minutes for shelled and five minutes for pods), then soak in icy water for five minutes. Drain and freeze for up to a year in airtight, quart-size freezer bags.

Recommendations: Daybreak (early), Wando (summer), Dwarf Gray Sugar, Snowflake (high-yield sugar).

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Source: Birds & Blooms "Grow Veggies for Less"