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How to Grow Peas


Peas are well-suited to cooler temperate climates. In fact, when temperatures exceed 20C (70F), most varieties of peas will stop producing pods.

Peas are part of the legume (Latin Leguminosae) family of vegetables, which extract nitrogen from the air and store it in little nodules along their roots. For this reason, when the plants finish cropping, dig the roots directly into the soil, where they will slowly decompose and release  nitrogen for other plants to use.

Peas are a prime example of the difference between shop purchased vegetables and those fresh from the garden. Fresh peas win every time, on taste, texture and food value, and that includes frozen peas!  Let GardenAction show you how to grow peas in the UK successfully.


Folklore - click here

Latin Name
Pisum sativum

Half-hardy annual

Site and Soil
Sun or partial shade, protected from strong wind. Well-dug water retaining soil, do not add additional nitrogen

Plant to Harvest Time
First Early varieties - 12 weeks
Second Early varieties 14 weeks
Maincrop varieties - 15 weeks

How Many?
3kg (6 lb to 7 lb) per 1 metre (3 foot) row. 

Where To Grow Peas
How To Grow Peas picturePeas will grow on most soils, although they prefer a medium well-dug soil with plenty of organic material. Do not add nitrogen to the soil before planting (or after) - peas extract nitrogen from the air sufficient for the needs. An over-rich soil will cause lots of leafy growth, but a reduced cop of peas. Peas like moisture, so do not plant too near walls or fences.

A sunny area is best, although peas are tolerant of partial shade, especially if the shade occurs during the hottest part of the day. Maincrop peas are tall leggy plants (1.8 m / 6 ft), and they can easily be damaged if planted in areas exposed to high wind.

Remember that the taller varieties will cast quite a shadow over any other crops nearby. A good plan is to use the space around the pea plants for smaller shade-tolerant plants vegetables - radishes are an excellent choice.  

When To Sow Peas
By sowing a couple of varieties over a month or so, the cropping can be extended from mid-June to mid-September. The table below shows when to sow each type and when they will crop. Specific varieties are recommended later - use the menu on the top left of this page ('pea varieties') if you want to go there now.  

Type Sow Harvest  Sow to Harvest
First Early March to June June to September 12 weeks
Second Early March to June June to October 14 weeks
Maincrop March to June July to October 15 weeks

For crops in May, sow First Early varieties outside in February under cloches or supported plastic. It is best to have the cloches / plastic over the soil in January to warm it up prior to sowing. Remove the cloches / plastic when the danger of hard frost has passed - around April time. Click here to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche online from our recommended suppliers. 

Mangetout (snap peas) should be treated in exactly the same way as Maincrop peas.


Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: December 12, 2011 - 11:32 pm
Message: You can get 'daylight' bulbs or fluorescent tubes from your local hydroponics supplier. A heated pad like those used for propagation should get things started. If you can, maintain an air temperature of about 15 C.

Name: Kaity
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 12, 2011 - 10:12 pm
Message: Hi! I am a student, and am in need of some advice; I have to grow about 90 pea plants for a Science Research Project, and I can only think to grow them in my basement... it is too cold for me to grow them outside, and it will be too late to grow them when spring rolls around next year. Any tips on how to keep them warm?? I am planning on having a lamp or two as their "light source"; any suggestions as to what type of light bulb will help them carry out a natural photosynthesis? Help!!


Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: December 12, 2011 - 04:29 am
Message: Well, Shah. You've come to the right place.

Name: Shah Faisal
Date posted: December 12, 2011 - 02:44 am
Message: I need information on Gardening.

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: December 01, 2011 - 10:31 pm
Message: Just read the next pages, rather more than just two paragraphs!

Name: alayna nelli
Date posted: December 01, 2011 - 08:06 pm
Message: i am planting peas at school and this website gives TONS OF INFO. great site but it needs more than 2 paragraphs so i think its good but not great.

i like peas:)

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: November 03, 2011 - 10:16 am
Message: Plenty of advice on Garden Action, just read through the pages.

Date posted: November 03, 2011 - 09:31 am

Name: Ravi
Date posted: November 03, 2011 - 02:02 am
Message: Are there any experiments conducted on pea grown in shading nets

Date posted: October 12, 2011 - 01:20 pm
Message: I have a plot which i have harvested irish potatoes,can i plant peas here?advice please!

Name: yvonne worrall
E-mail: andrew iris@
Date posted: August 08, 2011 - 01:43 pm
Message: i have some sweet peas left can i use next year and how do i dry them out please give me some advice thankyou

Name: Treasure
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 05, 2011 - 03:12 pm
Message: I am having a hard time telling my snap peas fron my snow peas. can anyone help me. I have pods on the vines and not sure which are snow so I can pick them while still thin

Name: RIY
Date posted: July 19, 2011 - 12:51 am
Message: why is there no good info about growing sweet peas pm me if u have any info on growing sweet peas

Name: P.Day
Date posted: July 18, 2011 - 04:02 pm
Message: Why do the peas in my pods not swell to a good size? help

Name: tamara
Date posted: June 30, 2011 - 07:03 am
Message: needs pictures of the growth of peas to help me with my food tech project

Name: Alex
E-mail: Private
Date posted: January 17, 2011 - 10:25 pm
Message: I planted seeds late October and have had peas coming out, but our summer has been really hot and has cause the plants to brown and rot. more fresh plant is still growing out of the main stalk can I pluck off the new plants and regrow them or what can I do to make them healthy again

Name: nicole
E-mail: Private
Date posted: January 14, 2011 - 03:56 pm
Message: I know little about pea plants.I need help with the Parts of a pea plant!!!!

Name: kate
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 22, 2010 - 08:57 am
Message: if i plant one pea seed how many peas would i get off it ?

Name: paul Staheli
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 06, 2010 - 04:07 pm
Message: In my garden space peas have stared growing from some that fell on the ground and I tilled them, unknowingly, in the fall into the soil. they are about 2 to 4 inches tall and have survived 6 inches of snow and below zero temperatures. Can peas be sown in the fall for spring crops like some grain (winter wheat) ?

Name: Georgia
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 27, 2010 - 07:22 am
Message: hi
can you tell me what to do i have sowed some peas in october and they are very tall shall i cover them over for the winter