Fresh-picked peas are a treat most have never experienced. Caring for pea plants is surprisingly easy. Pea plants are easy to grow and harvest. Pea plants do not take up much room in the garden and are even successfully grown in containers. Thus, growing peas is a perfect option for an urban garden.

The article below focuses on growing pea plants in the ground. For more information on growing peas in containers, see "Tips for Growing Plants in Containers".

Things You Will Need

Pea seeds
a trellis
sunny location

Step 1

Start by planting the pea seeds directly into the ground as soon as the soil can be worked, usually about mid-April in or sooner. There is no need to start the seeds indoors, as pea plants grow quickly.

Step 2

If a trellis is not already erected when the pea seeds are planted, erect a trellis for the peas to climb on. An easy trellis can be made from fence posts (such as metal farm fence posts, available at a variety of stores, including Tractor Supply Company) and wire fencing. Be sure the wire fencing is galvanized steel so it does not rust. For more information on creating a trellis, see "How to Make a Trellis for a Raised Bed".

Step 3

Wait a few weeks for the peas to grow. Not much needs to be done at this point aside from ensuring the area is clear of weeds. If the weather is especially dry, be sure to water so that the soil is evenly moist. Usually, though, Spring rains take care of the watering needs of pea seedlings. The plants typically grow about two inches per day for about two weeks before flowering. Nothing needs to be done for the flowers, either, as the flowers will quickly produce tiny pea pods.

Step 4

Once the pea pods are about 3 inches in length and fat for their size, begin picking. Sugar snap peas are best picked when the pods themselves are still rather thin, whereas garden peas (shell peas) are better when the pods are fatter. This ensures ease in opening the pods and popping out the peas. Sugar snap pea pods do not need to be opened, and most pea enthusiasts will eat the entire pod.

Step 5

Once the pea plants are done producing and begin to turn yellow, leave them in the garden. One amazing feature of pea plants is that they affix nitrogen from the air and put it back into the soil. Let the pea plants go completely yellow and as long as no disease is present, turn the nitrogen-rich pea plants into the garden. The plants will decompose over winter and give the garden soil a much-needed nitrogen boost. Pea plants are very easy to grow, even for the novice gardener. If you are just beginning gardening this year, pea plants would be an excellent choice for the beginner. Pea plants are especially good to grow with children, as children can readily see the plants growing, and the fruit is ready for harvest in a relatively short amount of time so children don't need to wait too long to see the fruits of their labor. No children? Pea plants are still highly recommended!

Tips & Warnings