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Growing peas in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Good growing temperatures are between 55°F and 65°F.
  • Peas need less fertilizer than other crops.
  • Plant seeds as soon as the ground has thawed and the soil is workable.
  • As soon as you pick the peas, cool them quickly. They will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more.

Shelling, snow and sugar snap peas 

Green harvested peas

Peas (Pisum sativum) are a traditional home garden crop all over the world. The most common type in American gardens is the shelling pea, also called the "garden pea" or "English pea." Edible pea pods include snow peas and sugar snap peas.

Some varieties with very small peas are available. Small peas are not necessarily sweeter, tenderer or better flavored than larger peas.

Snow pea pods are thin and tender, eaten when there are still only tiny traces of peas inside. Sugar snap peas are ready to eat when the peas inside are nearly mature and the pods are still tender and juicy, similar to snap beans.

Pea vines are also edible. You can steam or sautée the tender shoot tips.

Dried peas are also common in soups, after fully maturing and drying.

Soil pH and fertility


Selecting plants




How to keep your pea plants healthy and productive


Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturalist, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2018

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