Close up picture of pea plants

How to Grow Peas in 4 Simple Steps

Peas are an easy vegetable to grow for home gardeners. They germinate quickly, grow fast, and have a large harvest. In this blog post we’ll take you through everything from picking your pea varieties to harvesting them. Lets dive right in.

1. Selecting your pea varieties

Showing peas in a hand about to be planted.

Pea varieties refer to the different types of pea plants that are available for cultivation. There are three main types of pea varieties: garden peas, snap peas, and snow peas. Garden peas are the most commonly grown variety and are harvested when the peas inside the pods are mature. Snap peas, also known as sugar snap peas, are harvested when the pods are still tender and can be eaten whole, including the peas inside. Snow peas, also known as Chinese pea pods, are harvested when the pods are flat and the peas inside are very small. Snow peas are commonly used in stir-fry dishes and salads. Each variety has its own unique growth patterns and flavor profiles, making them a versatile and nutritious addition to any garden or plate.

2. Planting peas

Showing peas in hand and rows dug to plant them into a raised garden bed.
When to plant:

Peas are one of the more cold hardy plants in the garden, but they don’t do very well in high heat. Planting them early is your best bet for a good harvest. Peas can tolerate temperatures as low as -6°C or 21°F. Here in zone 5B with a last frost date of May 7th we plant our peas the first week of April. Once temperatures consistently reach above 21°C or 70°F your pea plant will start to suffer. Planting in an area that gets afternoon shade will help prolong your growing season. Optimal growing temperature for peas is between 10-20°C (50-70°F).

How to plant:

There are 2 main ways to plant peas, direct sowing and starting indoors and transplanting. We’ve tried both methods and highly recommend direct sowing all the peas that you plant. Peas have very fragile root systems that can get damaged during transplanting and can end up stunting the development of the plant. When that happens all the benefit of starting them early disappears as the plant regrows its root system.

Direct sowing peas can be accomplished in two ways. The first is the trench method, commonly used for a lot of other varieties of vegetables and can be used for peas as well. Dig a trench about 1 inch deep and place the seeds every 2 inches. Peas are one plant that doesn’t mind being planted close together and most of the growth will be straight upwards. Cover your rows of seeds and your all set. Another method that we normally use is a little unique to peas. Pea seeds are so large, you can simply push the seeds into the ground using your finger. Mark the area that you want to plant and push a seed into the ground spacing them every 2 inches. Once planted the peas should emerge in 7-10 days.

3. Pea care tips

Pea planted in rows in a garden bed
Build a trellis:

Using a trellis is an effective way to support the plants and keep them off the ground, which can help prevent diseases and pests. Additionally, it helps to conserve garden space and makes harvesting easier. A trellis can be built with many different materials from a tomato cage to a few sticks and some string. The main thing is to keep the pea plants off the ground. However you are able to do that.


Regular watering is also crucial for pea plant care, as they require consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Provide 1 inch of water to each plant per week. Mulching around the base of each plant will help to retain moisture and keeps the roots cool.


Fertilizing is another important aspect of care. Peas are heavy feeders and require adequate nutrients to produce healthy foliage and large, sweet peas. Applying a balanced fertilizer during planting and again mid-season will help ensure a bountiful harvest.

Pea pests and diseases:

Pea plants are susceptible to various pests and diseases that can affect their growth and yield. Some common pests include aphids, which can stunt plant growth and spread disease, and pea weevils, which can damage the seeds and reduce yields. Diseases such as powdery mildew and root rot can also affect pea plants, causing leaf damage and reduced yields. To prevent these issues, it is important to practice good garden hygiene, rotate crops, and use disease-resistant varieties when possible. Additionally, removing infected plant material and using organic pest control methods can help prevent the spread of pests and diseases in the garden.

4. Harvesting peas

New young peas growing almost ready for harvesting.
Snow peas ready for harvesting

Harvesting each type of pea variety is slightly different, and it is important to know when to harvest them to ensure that they are at their peak flavor and quality. The way you harvest the peas is the same for every variety, it is only the timing of the harvest that you must master. To harvest peas, grasp the stem with one hand and gently pull the pod off the vine with the other, being careful not to damage the plant. Below we’ll go into when to harvest each variety.

Garden peas:

Garden peas are the most commonly grown variety and are typically harvested when the peas inside the pods are fully mature, but before the pods begin to dry out. The pods should be firm and bright green in colour.

Snap peas:

Snap peas, also known as sugar snap peas, are harvested when the pods are still tender and the peas inside are small and sweet. The pods should be plump and crisp, with a bright green colour.

Snow peas:

Snow peas, also known as Chinese pea pods, are harvested when the pods are still flat and the peas inside are very small. The pods should be crisp and bright green in colour.

Each type of pea variety has its own unique flavor and texture, and knowing when to harvest them can help ensure that they are at their best. Regardless of the variety, it is important to harvest regularly to promote continued growth and to prevent the pods from becoming tough and inedible.

If you’ve enjoyed this growing guide please check out our other growing guides and seed saving articles to help you on your gardening journey.

Scroll to Top