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When to Plant Garden Peas

Pea seedlings in row

Sow garden peas in the garden not later than two to three weeks before the average last frost date. If you wait, the yield will be small and will likely not justify the space they need in the garden.

Young garden pea plants grow best at 59℉ to 68℉ (15℃-20℃). If you can’t plant early, plant ‘Wando’ which can tolerate some warm weather late in spring. (For fall peas, plant in late July or early August.)

Peas can be planted as early as the spring thaw; they can sprout at temperatures as low as 40℉ (4℃).

Shake some garden legume inoculant on the moistened seeds before planting. Plant pole peas thickly, about 1 or 2 inches (2.5-5cm) apart, and cover the seeds with 1 inch (2.5cm) or slightly more of soil. Double rows spaced 4 to 6 inches (10-15cm) apart is a more efficient use of space than single rows. Bush peas can be planted 6 inches (15cm) apart. Wide rows up to 3 feet (1m) across are the most efficient.

Thin peas to stand 2 inches (5cm) or so apart; crowding will not reduce the yield.

Garden pea growth
Garden pea growth

Peas planting dates late spring harvest

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Feb.15
Feb. 8Jan. 1-Feb.15
Feb. 18Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 28Jan. 15-Mar. 1
Mar. 10Jan. 15-Mar. 15
Mar. 20Feb. 1-Mar. 15
Mar. 30Feb. 10-Mar. 20
Apr. 10Feb. 20-Mar. 20
Apr. 20Mar. 10-Apr. 10
Apr. 30Mar. 20-May 1
May 10Apr. 1-May 15
May 20Apr. 15-June 1
May 30May 1-June 15
June 10May 10. June 15
Wooden supports with string helping peas grow upward
Wooden supports with string helping peas grow upward

Peas planting details

  • Sowing depth: 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm)
  • Space between plant after thinning: 1-3 inches (2.5-7cm)
  • Days to sprout: 8
  • Days to harvest: 60-80
  • Storage period: 1-2 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: 1 pound (.5 kg)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 40 (18 kg)
  • Suggested varieties: Bush: Laxton’s Progress, Little Marvel, Wando; pole: Tall Telephone; freezing: Frostie; canning, Pride, Perfection

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Peas

Peas Seed Starting Tips

Pea Growing Tips

Pea Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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