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When to Plant Peas – All About Garden Peas Sowing Times

When to plant peas depends on your local climate and the type of peas that you plan to grow. However, as a general rule, peas are cool-season crops that like cooler temperatures for germination and to start growing.

There is even a gardening saying “plant peas when daffodils or forsythia bloom.” This tells us clearly to get those seeds in early!

In many areas of the country, peas are planted in early spring. Most gardeners plant peas as soon as the soil can be worked.

Peas can tolerate frost, and cool early spring temperatures actually encourage germination. 

Keep reading to learn the best time to plant peas and what other times of the year also work for sowing sweet peas.

Composition of pea plants, watering can and string with words When to plant garden peas.

Some facts about peas

Green peas. snow peas and sugar snap peas are all cold weather crops and can be planted in early spring (and again in fall in some regions.)

Brush up on your knowledge of garden peas with these fun facts:

  • Family – legume
  • Botanical namePisum sativum
  • Type of plant – hardy annual
  • Ideal soil pH – Peas prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
  • Sunlight needs – at least 6 hours a day, preferably 8-10 hours of sunlight.
  • Fertilizing needs – Peas are a heavy user of nitrogen. Incorporate fertilizer into the soil before sowing sweet peas seeds.
  • Origin – Peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops, dating back to at least 7,000 years in the Middle East.
  • Seed to harvest – 50 to 70 days to produce a harvest.
  • Companion plants – Peas are excellent companion plants for many vegetables, including carrots, radishes, and cucumbers. They can help improve soil structure and deter pests.

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Planting garden peas in early spring

In regions with cold winters, planting peas in early spring is a common practice. In some hardiness zones, peas can even be sown in late winter. (January or February in the US.)

As soon as the soil can be worked and is no longer frozen, you can sow pea seeds directly into the ground.

Peas tolerate cool temperatures and even light frosts, and early spring planting takes advantage of these conditions. Aim for soil temperatures between 40°F to 75°F (4°C to 24°C).

Be careful though. Planting too early –  when the soil is too cold – can result in delayed germination or poor seedling development.

Use a soil thermometer to help you determine if the soil has reached the optimal temperature for planting.

Sow seed in garden 1 to 3 inches apart in early spring when soil temperatures reach at least 40 degrees F. (4 degrees C.) 

Pea seeds in a paper envelope on fertile ground.

Planting peas in Fall

 In areas with mild winters, some gardeners choose to plant a second crop of peas with a fall planting. This involves sowing sweet peas seeds in late summer or early fall.

Planting at this time takes advantage of the cooler temperatures that come as the summer heat wanes. Fall-planted peas may overwinter and resume growth in early spring, providing an early harvest.

Aim to plant peas about 8-10 weeks before the first expected frost, allowing enough time for the plants to establish and produce before winter.

Some pea varieties are well-suited for fall planting. Look for varieties with shorter maturity dates, since these will have a better chance of producing a harvest before winter sets in.

Growing peas in the summer

Since peas are cool-season crops, and they don’t tolerate heat well. If they are planted too late in the spring, they may struggle as the temperatures warm up.

Peas will stop growing and not produce flowers or pods once temperatures get above 85°F. (about 30°C.)

This means that their harvests will be smaller. I also find that peas grown in hot conditions are less sweet.

For this reason, it’s generally advisable to plant peas early in the growing season.

Different pea varieties may have specific recommendations for planting times. Some may be more suited to early spring planting, while others may thrive in fall or winter conditions.

Always refer to the seed packet or supplier’s guidelines for the best planting time for the specific pea variety you’re growing.

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🌱 Wondering when to sow those pea seeds? Get tips on the perfect timing for planting peas on The Gardening Cook. 🌿 Hint - you can even get two crops! #GardeningTips #PlantingSeason #Peas #GreenThumb #HomeGarden Share on X

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