With spring in the air, your thoughts are probably turning to the garden. And what’s more delicious to toss in a salad than peas? If you haven’t planted your own, now’s the time! Peas are best suited for cooler climates: The temperature should never exceed 70 degrees F, or else the plant will wither and stop producing pods.
However, it’s a versatile veggie that will thrive in most soils. Peas prefer sunny areas, but if you live in a particularly warm place, plant them in partial shade to protect them from the afternoon heat. Keep plants sheltered from the wind, as peas are a tall, leggy plant that can easily be damaged by strong gusts.
Prep a shallow bed with your trowel and sow the seeds a few inches apart, approximately one inch deep (peas don’t do well if grown in an over-crowded bed). Soak your seeds in water for four hours before planting. Keep them well moisturized after they’re sown and expect to see the plants in about 15 days.
Most varieties of peas require some kind of support. Consult the back of your seed packet to find out what you should use, though wire netting is a tried-and-true method. Plant two rows of peas and then “cage” them in wire so they can climb up the netting as they sprout. This approach requires no tying and protects the plants from rabbits and other garden pests.
As a general rule of thumb, peas are normally ready about three weeks after they flower. Pluck them from the bottom up, as peas closer to the soil are usually the sweetest and ready first. When your plants stop producing peas, cut off the stalk and leave the roots in the ground to compost for next year’s crop.