How to Grow Peas from Seed to Harvest
You consider growing peas at home but are not sure how to do it? Great! Then this article is 100% for you.
In fact, I show you how to grow peas from seed to harvest in a step-by-step approach.
Moreover, I also give you plenty of general information on how to grow peas so you can further optimize your growing experience.
I also added some videos from other passionate gardeners so to make this article even more comprehensive.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Pea Plant Profile
|Size||Around 3 to 4 feet tall and 1 – 2 feet wide.|
|Climate||Peas grow best in cool to moderate climatic zones with optimal temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Sun Exposure||The more sun you can provide for your pea plants, the better they will grow.|
|Soil Requirements||Peas prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5.7 and 6.5.|
|Country of Origin||Mediterranean Basin.|
|Growing Difficulty||Intermediate. While you don’t need expert knowledge to grow peas, you should definitely check out all the tips and tricks in this article to maximize your pea yield as best as possible.|
|Perennial?||No, most garden peas grow as annuals.|
|When should you start?||You should start growing peas indoors around one month before you expect the last spring frost.|
|Expected Yield & Harvest||You can expect a quarter pound of peas per plant and it will take between 2 and 3 months to grow peas from seed to harvest.|
|What to do with it?||You can use your peas for salads, soups or pasta.|
What Types and Varieties of Peas can you grow?
Before you can start growing peas, you first have to decide what pea varieties you want to grow.
I listed the most popular ones for you below.
- Canoe peas
- Avola peas
- Capucijner peas
- Terrain peas
- Hurst Green Shaft peas
- Snap peas
- English peas
- Snow peas
While my favorite choice for growing peas is to rely on Canoe peas since they have a pretty good taste and also provide decent yields, you might have a completely different taste and therefore, you should just try to grow different pea varieties so that you can choose the one that is best for you for future years.
If you have never grown peas before, I suggest you just pick a handful of different pea varieties and you are good to go. You can also just use a pea seed mix from a seed company.
When should you start growing Peas?
The best time to start growing peas is between mid of March and mid of May.
However, please note that this also greatly depends on the climatic zone you live in.
In general, you should start growing your peas 4-6 weeks before the last freeze is expected.
Hence, if you live in warmer regions, you can start out earlier in the year compared to colder regions.
How long does it take to grow Peas from Seed to Harvest?
Depending on the pea variety you want to grow, it can take between 40 and 70 days to grow your peas from seed to harvest.
Of course, this not only depends on the pea type, but also on your overall climatic conditions, on the soil mix and on your previous growing experience.
While an experienced gardener may be able to grow peas in a rather short period of time, it will take you much longer if you are still a beginner since you will have to learn a lot at the beginning and will likely also make more mistakes.
However, don’t be discouraged if it takes you a bit longer to grow peas.
In fact, growing your own vegetables is not only about the yield, it’s more about enjoying the process.
Hence, if it takes you longer to grow your peas, you can also enjoy the growth process for longer and you should actually be happy about it.
What is the best Climate to grow Peas?
Peas don’t like the heat too much and therefore, they grow best in cool to moderate climatic zones.
This is also the reason why you should start out rather early on in the year with your pea growing project so that your peas will ripen before the hot summer days arrive.
What Temperatures do Peas like?
Peas prefer rather cool temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, many pea varieties are quite tolerant towards temperatures and even if you cannot provide those optimal conditions, you will still be able to produce decent pea yields.
However, it might take you a little bit longer compared to a state where you provided optimal temperatures.
What do you need to grow Peas?
You don’t need plenty of equipment to grow peas. However, there is still some equipment you urgently need to make your growing experience as enjoyable as possible which I listed for you below:
- Growing bed (to grow your pea seedlings)
- Flower pots (only necessary if you don’t have a garden to grow your peas)
- Pea seeds
- Fertilizer (you can either buy it or make your own organic fertilizer for which I give you the instructions below)
- Sticks and cord to stake your peas
- Potting soil
- Slug fence
- Watering can
- Garden shovel
- Compost (optional)
- Passion and patience for growing peas (mandatory)😉
What Yield can you expect when you grow Peas?
If you grow your own peas, you can expect a yield of around a quarter pound of peas per plant.
This may not sound as much, but pea plants also don’t need much space and if you grow many pea plants in your garden, you can still produce quite decent yields.
What Plants should you grow next to Peas?
If you want to learn more about what plants to grow with peas, make sure to check out my article that shows you the best and worst pea companion plants.
Why should you grow your own Peas?
Many people just don’t understand why they should bother with growing peas at home.
In fact, in our current state of the world, it would just be much easier to go to your local store and to get your peas from there.
It would probably even be cheaper compared to growing peas in your garden or on your balcony. So why should you plant your own peas?
Apart from the effort and the costs you have to put into your pea growing project, there are in fact numerous advantages related to it.
First of all, there is a certain fun factor related to growing peas at home. In fact, I personally love it so see my plants grow and progress.
It is just a nice hobby for me and I enjoy the growth process more than the actual yield at the end.
Moreover, it can also be quite relaxing to grow your own peas. Especially if you work in a demanding job for long hours every day, you will need an opportunity to unplug from your stressful daily life.
Especially if you are not the type who wants to go to the gym, gardening can be a great alternative since you can spend your time in your garden instead of a closed building.
Growing peas can also make sense from an overall health perspective.
In fact, by growing your own peas, you can avoid buying peas from the store which often contain harmful elements from pesticides and herbicides which are used in conventional agriculture quite a lot.
Since you have full control over your pea growing project, you do not need to use any of those substances and can produce your peas in a completely organic matter, which will likely be quite beneficial for your health in the long run.
Growing Peas: Step-by-Step
1. Select a Site for your Peas
Now that I hopefully convinced you that growing peas at home is indeed a good idea, let’s get into the planning process for your pea growing project.
The first step is to choose the optimal location for your peas.
Do Peas like Sun or Shade?
While peas don’t like the heat, they still like the sun and the more sun you can provide for your pea plants, the better they will grow.
Hence, make sure that you pick a spot in your garden where your peas get as much sun as possible to grow them in an optimal manner.
Of course, not everyone of us will be able to provide full sun all day long in their garden. Just do the best you can and you are good to go.
What are the Soil Requirements of Peas?
Most pea varieties grow best in environments with a soil pH between 5.7 and 6.5, meaning that the soil should be slightly acidic.
To achieve these optimal soil conditions for your peas, you just need to get some potting soil from the store and you are good to go.
You can also mix the potting soil with soil and compost from your garden if you want to.
Also make sure that you loosen the soil so that the roots of your peas can develop in an optimal manner and that water can run off as well.
How much Space do Pea Plants need?
To grow in an optimal manner, I suggest you plan around 2 square feet per pea plant in space.
Also make sure that your peas have enough space in the vertical since some pea varieties can get quite big in height.
If you have a big garden and space is not a limiting factor for you, you can also give your pea plants much more space to develop.
In fact, the more space they get, the better your peas will grow and the higher the yields will be.
Should you plant Peas in a Pot or in your Garden?
While you could grow peas in a pot, I would not recommend it unless you have no other choice.
Of course, if you don’t have a garden and still want to grow peas at home, you will only be able to do so by growing them in pots.
However, if you have a big garden, I suggest you just plant your peas there since they will get access to more nutrients and will also get better overall growth conditions in your garden compared to growing peas in a pot.
2. Plant Pea Seeds
After you got all the information that is necessary to figure out the perfect location for growing your peas, it is now time to start the actual planting process.
Should you buy Pea Seeds or Seedlings?
Before you can start your growth project, you have to decide if you want to grow your peas from seed or from seedlings from your garden center.
While growing peas from seedlings can save you some time and effort, I would still not advise you to do so since you would miss out on the first important step of your pea growing project.
In fact, growing seedlings is an integral part of the whole growth experience and you should not skip this one.
Especially if you have never grown pea seedlings before, you should definitely try to do so since you will learn a lot from it and will also be able to transfer this knowledge to other growing projects you might want to undertake as well.
And don’t think that growing pea seedlings is difficult.
It is in fact fairly simple and I show you how to grow pea seedlings step-by-step in the following chapters.
Should you buy Pea Seeds or produce Seeds by yourself?
Before you can plant your seeds, you also have to get them from somewhere.
While I often recommend producing your own seeds from crops instead of buying them, I don’t do so in the case of peas.
In fact, you will have no other choice than to buy your pea seeds if you have never grown peas before since you simply cannot extract pea seeds from the crops you can buy in the grocery store.
Hence, if this is your first pea growing project, just get some seeds from a seed company and go with it.
How to plant Pea Seeds
After getting your pea seeds from a seed company, it is time to actually plant those seeds.
You just need to get your growing bed, fill it with potting soil and place your pea seeds onto the soil surface.
Make sure that each pea seed has at least 3 inches of space into every direction so that your pea seedlings will not have to compete for nutrients or light once they get bigger.
Also make sure that you plant enough seeds. In fact, many beginners make the mistake and don’t plant enough seeds since they expect one seedling from each seed.
However, it doesn’t work like that in reality. Some seeds will just not germinate and you therefore have to plant many more seeds than you want to get pea seedlings.
I suggest you plant around the double number of seeds than you need seedlings. By doing so, you can be pretty sure that you reach your goal.
After you placed all your seeds onto the soil, make sure to cover them with an additional soil layer of around one inch in height and you are done.
Water your growing bed and place it on a nice bright spot inside your home and wait until you see the first seedlings reaching the soil surface.
How long does it take to see the first Pea Seedlings?
Now that you planted your seeds, you will need a little bit of patience. It can take up to two weeks until you will see the first pea seedlings.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that all pea seedlings will grow at the same speed. Some pea seedlings may even take up to one month until they finally become visible to you.
However, if you haven’t grown enough seedlings after one month, chances are that you should plant some additional seeds into your growing bed since I would not expect any more pea seedlings reaching the soil surface at this point in time.
How to protect your Pea Seedlings indoors
Your pea seedlings will be well-protected indoors in your growing bed and there will be no need to add additional protection to them.
However, if you have pets, you want to make sure that you place your growing bed at a location where your pets can’t do any damage to it.
When should you transplant your Pea Seedlings?
Your pea seedlings will become bigger and stronger over the next weeks.
At one point in time, they will be ready to be transplanted outdoors.
However, before you do so, make sure that the climatic conditions are right.
What I mean by this is that there should no longer be any freeze outdoors, not even at nighttime since your pea seedlings will still be quite sensitive to the cold and freeze could severely harm them.
Apart from suitable climatic conditions, you should also make sure that you let your peas grow to a certain size before you transplant them outdoors.
I recommend you wait until your peas reach a minimum height of 5 inches so that they are robust enough to deal with the harsh outside conditions.
If you come to the conclusion that the time is right to transplant your pea seedlings outdoors, you first have to prepare your growing site. Just dig one hole for each pea plant into your garden.
Those holes should be around 2 square feet in size and one foot deep. After you dug all holes, you can fill them with potting soil from the store.
You can also mix the potting soil with soil from your garden or add some compost.
Either way, make sure that the soil mix is not too compact and loosen it a little bit so that the roots of your pea plants can develop in an optimal manner and water can run off so that the roots of your peas will not rot.
After you prepared the soil mix and filled it into the holes, you are ready to transplant each pea seedlings onto one spot.
After transplanting all of your seedlings, just water your plants and you are done.
If you don’t want to grow peas in your garden but want to grow them in pots instead, just fill your pots with potting soil and transplant your pea seedlings to your pots.
What kind of Protection do Pea Seedlings need outdoor?
Since your pea seedlings will be exposed to many additional dangers once they are transplanted outside, it is time to think about additional protective measures for them.
I suggest you use slug fences to protect your pea seedlings instead of using chemical alternatives.
Slug fences do not only work better in most cases, they also don’t hurt our environment as much as those chemical substances.
Moreover, slug fences not only keep away slugs, but also other smaller animals that might try to feed on your pea seedlings.
3. The Pea Growth Process
After transplanting and protecting your pea seedlings from unwanted company, most of the manual work is already done. If you made it to this point, congratulations!
I know it was quite a lot of work, but I hope you enjoy gardening as I do and it doesn’t feel like work to you.
Once you got to this point, you can let your plants grow and don’t have to take much additional action.
However, there are still some things to consider which I explain in the following.
Should you prune your Peas?
In my honest opinion, you should not prune your pea plants.
While some people claim that pruning your peas is a good idea, I am not convinced of this at all.
In fact, I have seen the best results by just letting it grow and letting nature do its work.
Hence, just give your peas enough space and the optimal conditions to grow and there will be no need for pruning.
Do you have to pollinate your Pea Plants by Hand?
No, you don’t have to pollinate your peas by hand. In fact, peas will develop without the need for any manual pollination action from your side.
Should you stake your Peas?
While you could let your peas grow and let them deal with heavy winds and other adverse outside conditions, I would suggest you stake and stabilize your peas so that they become less vulnerable to harsh outside conditions.
Just place one bamboo stick next to each pea plant and anchor it deep into the ground. After that, just tie your pea plants with cord to those sticks and you are good to go.
4. The Pea Harvest
How well you followed the different steps for growing peas in this article will become apparent during the harvesting period.
When should you harvest your Peas?
You can harvest your peas around one month after pea flowers have appeared.
Of course, if you don’t want to eat your peas but rather want to produce pea seeds for many growing years to come in the future, you should not harvest your peas at this point in time but you should rather wait until the peapods turn brown.
At this point in time, just harvest your brown peapods and you should find shriveled peas inside that are no longer eatable, but which are perfect as seeds for your next pea growing projects.
How to store your Peas?
If you store your peas correctly, they will last for many weeks or even months. Make sure to store your peas in a box at a dark and dry place inside your home.
However, peas still contain the most nutrients and vitamins right after you harvested them and I would recommend you use them in time before they begin to lose their beneficial components.
What should you do with your Peas?
Peas are a quite versatile vegetable. You can just use them as a side dish or make delicious pea soup out of it. You can even add them to risottos or to pasta.
If you are the curious type of person, you could also invent your own dishes and share them through social media. Either way, enjoy your meal! 😉
Peas Plant Care Tips
Now that you got all the information on how to grow peas from seed to harvest step-by-step, you still need some general information that is valid for the whole pea growth process which I provide you in the following.
How often should you irrigate Peas?
For watering your pea plants, you have to find a healthy balance between too much and insufficient irrigation.
If your peas don’t get enough water, they will just die off sooner or later or will just not produce crops in a sufficient manner.
If you water them too much, their roots may start to rot. Hence, when is it actually time to water your peas?
A first indication that it will be time to water your peas is when their leaves begin to hang.
However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. If you really want to figure out whether your peas need water, just stick your small finger into the soil right next to your peas.
Pull it out again and see if soil sticks to your finger.
If so, the soil is still wet enough and no further action is required from you. If not, the soil is dry and you should water your peas.
Of course, after you gained some experience, you will develop a pretty good sense regarding when you should water your peas and you do no longer have to rely on this trick once you got to this point.
At what Time of the Day should you water your Pea Plants?
I advise you to just water your peas whenever they look like they need it.
Honestly! I know some experts claim that the best time to water your peas is in the early morning.
However, I haven’t seen any real difference between watering peas in the morning or at nighttime.
Hence, do what’s best for your plants and what fits into your schedule instead of relying on a rigid watering time.
How often should you fertilize your Pea Plants?
Peas don’t need much fertilizer to grow well and if you provided your pea plants with enough space to grow, chances are that there will be no need to use additional fertilizer.
In fact, if you fertilize your plants too much, you can do much more harm than good and I would not advise you to do so.
What kind of Fertilizer should you use for your Pea Plants?
If you really want to add additional fertilizer, at least make sure that you use natural organic fertilizer instead of chemical alternatives.
While chemical fertilizer will do the job, it can be quite harmful to our environment as well as to our local flora and fauna. Hence, never use chemical components for your pea growing project.
Instead, just order organic fertilizer or make your own natural fertilizer instead.
If you want to make your own fertilizer, just collect some stinging nettles (don’t forget to wear gloves) and put them into a bucket.
Fill the bucket with cold water and after three days, just remove the plant material.
And here you go. You just produced your own natural fertilizer, congratulations!
You can add it to your watering can and fertilize your peas on a regular basis.
Should you use Pesticides or Herbicides for Growing Peas?
Similar to chemical fertilizer, I would also not recommend you to use chemical herbicides and pesticides for your pea growing project since those substances can be detrimental to insects like bees which may significantly drop in populations.
Instead of using chemical substances, you can just use the stinging nettle liquid mentioned above and spray it onto the leaves of your pea plants.
You heard right! 😉 Stinging nettle liquid is not only a good fertilizer, it can also be an effective pesticide.
To deal with weeds, just remove them by hand and don’t use chemical herbicides.
If you want to learn more about pest control, you may also want to have a look at how to control pea plant diseases and pests in your garden.
What’s left to say?
First of all, thanks for reading my pea grower’s guide to the end. I know it was quite long, yet it had to be that long to provide you with all the information you need to grow peas from seed to harvest in a proper manner.
I hope this article had been helpful to you. If so, make sure to share it with your family and friends and on social media.
Also feel free to check out my growing peas FAQ section to learn even more about growing peas at home.
About the author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and always try new things.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants, even if you are still a beginner right now.