Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 5 inches apart. Get peas in the ground as soon as soil is workable in early spring. Run vines up trellis for best results.
Soil requirements: Peas thrive in well-drained soil. Amend soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting to help with water retention. Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.8.
Water requirements: Withhold water slightly as peas establish to encourage deeper rooting. Afterwards water is critical from the time of first flower to last harvest. Mulch soil when plants are 2 inches tall. Water peas early in the day so leaves are dry before dusk.
Frost-fighting plan: Peas withstand hard frost (temperatures below 28º F), but be prepared to protect seedlings from late spring frost. Frost can damage flowers and developing pods.
Common issues: Watch out for aphids, powdery mildew, fusarium wilt, and root-rot disease. Protect seedlings from rabbits with bird netting. Oddly shaped pods may be due to frost or inadequate moisture.
Harvesting: Pick pods at the stage you desire. Peas continue producing as long as temperatures stay on the cool side. Use one hand to anchor the vine as you gently pinch the pea stem, so you won’t risk tearing vines from their supports. You can also harvest flowers and leafy stem tips for eating.
Storage: Peas taste best fresh. The longer they store, sugars turn to starch—and the sweetness disappears. If you must store peas, place unwashed pods in a plastic bag and use within 10 days.