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University of Minnesota Extension

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.



How to keep your pea plants healthy and productive


Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect pea leaves, flowers and pods. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis.

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic.  On the Ask a Master Gardener form, you can share pictures and get input.


Authors: Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturist; Marissa Schuh, Extension IPM educator; and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2022

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