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Spring Pea Planting

Spring Pea Planting

Peas provide a no-wait thrill for gardeners itching to plant; they can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. They also improve the soil whenever they grow, and they taste good—really good.

Until about twenty years ago there were two types of peas for fresh use: the traditional shelling pea, and the flat, edible-podded kind called, variously, snow peas, Chinese peas, or by the French, “pois mangetout,” or “eat-all” peas. Now we have a third kind, a best-of-both edible-podded shelling pea, called the snap pea.

Plant your first peas as soon as early in the spring as the ground can be worked. If the ground is reasonably fertile, no fertilizer is necessary, but a soil test will tell you if you need some minor treatment such as 50/50 mix of wood ash and colloidal phosphate for acidic soil.

  • There are two traditional ways to lengthen the pea harvest: either plant a range of cultivars that mature at different rates, or plant the same cultivar more than once, say every two weeks, so the plantings mature over a long period come summer.

  • All peas—except for the so-called leafless bush types—do better if given something to climb on. Trellising helps peas grow more quickly and vigorously, by exposing the pods to sunlight.

  • Snow peas can be harvested anytime after the pod begins to emerge from the flower. Snow peas are actually sweeter once the peas have swollen and the pods have begun to curl around, but the texture of the pod becomes tough and stringy.

  • Shelling peas, whether bush or climbing, should be harvested after the pods have completely filled out, but before they have lost the sheen of youth—the peas really do have a luster that they lose once the peas have matured and are beginning to ripen as seed.

  • Our final plantings of peas every season comes in midsummer, during the first cool spell after the Fourth of July.

Read more: Nature, Lawns & Gardens

Adapted from Straight-Ahead Organic,by Shepherd Ogden. Copyright (c)1992, 1999 by Shepherd Ogden. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
Adapted from Straight-Ahead Organic,by Shepherd Ogden

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

Go to the Source

Straight-Ahead Organic, by Shepherd Ogden

This is a new and revised edition of Shepherd Ogden's Step-by-Step Organic Vegetable Gardening, a book that introduced thousands of gardeners to the benefits and techniques of organic processes. Although the author is by any definition a Master Grower, this book intended for the amateur enthusiast who is poised to make the leap to now


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6:16AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Thank you Annie, for Sharing this!

9:45AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013


6:42PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Snow peas are my favorite.

6:17PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

I grew some last year. I didn't get much. I think the extreme temps had a bit to do with it. I'm going ot try again this year. thank you

12:45PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Thank you

2:07AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012


1:58PM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Must try...

9:11AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Thank you for posting this information.

2:22PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

8:34AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

good to know

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

thanks for sharing

I love all greens, I just need to eat them more often than I do.

I don't have a garden, but thank you.

Thank you for sharing


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