Growing Peas: From Planting To Harvest

Growing Peas

Are you ready for growing peas? With a little knowledge and some careful attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these versatile vegetables.

Whether you prefer sweet peas, snow peas, or snap peas, Wisconsin’s temperate climate provides the perfect conditions for growing them.

In this article, we will guide you through the entire process of planting to harvest. You’ll learn about the different varieties of peas and their culinary uses, as well as the best zones for growing them in Wisconsin.

We’ll provide valuable tips on soil preparation, planting methods, watering needs, and pest control. Plus, we’ll share expert advice on when and how to harvest your peas for maximum flavor and yield.

Get ready to embark on a journey of pea-growing success!

Key Takeaways

– Peas can be planted indoors in Wisconsin 8 to 6 weeks before the last frost or sown directly outdoors in the spring.

– Peas prefer soil temperatures of around 50-60°F for optimal germination.

– Pea plants need support to climb and reach their full potential.

– Harvest peas regularly to encourage continued production.

Common Peas Varieties for Growing in Wisconsin

If you’re looking to grow peas in Wisconsin, there are several common varieties that thrive in the state’s temperate climate. Some recommended options include Sugar Ann, Oregon Sugar Pod, Little Marvel, Wando, and Cascadia.

Sugar Ann is a popular choice due to its sweet flavor and early maturity. 

Oregon Sugar Pod is known for its large, edible pods that are perfect for stir-fries and salads. 

Little Marvel produces deliciously tender peas in abundance. 

Wando is a reliable variety that can withstand cooler temperatures. 

Cascadia is prized for its crunchy snap peas that are great for snacking or adding to dishes.

Whether you’re looking for shelling peas or edible-pod peas, these varieties will provide you with a bountiful harvest of sweet and flavorful peas throughout the growing season in Wisconsin.

All about Peas

In this discussion, we’ll delve into the world of peas and explore three different types: shelling peas, snap peas, and snow peas.

Shelling peas are known for their deliciously sweet taste and are typically harvested when the pods are plump.

Snap peas have edible pods and a crisp texture, making them perfect for snacking or adding to stir-fries.

Snow peas have flat, tender pods that can be enjoyed both raw in salads or cooked in various dishes.

Shelling Peas

To grow shelling peas, you’ll want to make sure you plant them in well-draining soil and provide support for the plants to climb. Here are three key steps to successfully growing shelling peas:

1. Planting: Start by sowing your pea seeds directly into the ground, about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. Make sure to space out your rows by 7 inches to give the plants enough room to grow. Choose a sunny location with good airflow for optimal growth.

2. Supporting: Shelling peas need support as they grow taller. Install a trellis or fence for them to climb on, making sure it’s sturdy enough to hold the weight of the mature plants. This will prevent the plants from falling over and keep the pods off the ground.

3. Watering: Keep your shelling pea plants consistently moist throughout their growing season, especially during dry spells. Water at the base of the plant to avoid powdery mildew on the leaves. Avoid excessive watering, as this can lead to root rot.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious shelling peas in no time!

Snap Peas

Snap peas, also known as sugar snap peas, are a delightful addition to any garden with their sweet flavor and crisp texture. These tasty peas are unique because not only can you eat the tender peas inside, but you can also enjoy the entire pod!

To grow snap peas, start by planting them directly in the ground or in containers with rich, well-draining soil. Give them support, such as a trellis, to help them climb and reach their full potential. Snap peas thrive in full to partial sun and need good airflow to prevent powdery mildew. Water at the base of the plant to avoid leaf diseases, and consider using water-soluble fertilizer if needed.

Harvest snap peas when the pods are plump but not hard for the best taste. Enjoy these delicious veggies fresh from your garden, or add them to stir-fries and salads for a burst of flavor!

Snow Peas

For the best flavor and texture, make sure to harvest snow peas when their pods are flat, and the peas inside are still small and undeveloped, giving you a deliciously crunchy addition to your meals!

Snow peas are known for their tender edible pods and delicate pea seeds. When harvesting snow peas, look for pods that are about 2-3 inches long. Gently snap or cut the pods from the plant, being careful not to damage the vines or nearby flowers.

Snow peas can be enjoyed raw in salads or stir-fries, or they can be lightly cooked to preserve their crispness. Remember to harvest regularly to encourage continuous production throughout the growing season.

Zones for Growing Peas

If you live in Wisconsin, you’ll need to consider the appropriate planting zones for growing peas. The planting zone will determine the best time to start planting and ensure that your peas have enough time to mature before the first frost of the season.

Here are the different zones in Wisconsin and when you should start planting your peas:

1. Zone 3: If you’re in Zone 3, which includes areas like Hayward and Ashland, the final frost date is around May 15th. You should start planting your peas indoors or outdoors around April 1st.

2. Zone 4: In Zone 4, which includes cities like Eau Claire and La Crosse, the final frost date is around May 12th. Planting your peas indoors or outdoors by April 8th would be ideal.

3. Zone 5: For those in Zone 5, including Milwaukee and Madison, the final frost date is around April 30th. Start planting your peas indoors or outdoors by March 26th for best results.

4. Other Zones: If you’re outside of these zones, adjust accordingly based on your specific location’s average last frost date.

By considering these planting zones and starting your pea plants at the right time, you can ensure a successful pea harvest in Wisconsin.

Days to Maturity for Peas

With an average time of 60-70 days, pea plants will be ready to yield plump pods filled with tender peas. The number of days to maturity can vary depending on the variety of peas you’re growing. Some varieties may take a little longer, while others may mature slightly earlier.

It’s important to check the seed packet or catalog description for specific information about the expected days to maturity for your chosen pea variety.

During this time frame, it’s crucial to provide proper care and maintenance for your pea plants. Make sure they receive adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients throughout their growth stages. Regularly check for signs of pests or diseases that could potentially harm your plants. Harvesting at the right time is also essential to ensure optimal flavor and texture in your peas.

Remember that harvesting times can vary depending on the type of pea you’re growing – shelling peas, edible-pod peas (such as sugar snap peas), or snow peas. Shelling peas are typically harvested when the pods are plump but not too large and starchy. Edible-pod peas should be picked when the pods are crisp and before the seeds have fully developed. Snow peas are best harvested when the pods are flat and still tender.

By following these guidelines and paying attention to your plant’s specific needs, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious homegrown peas in no time!

Preferred Soil for Growing Peas

Now that you know the days to maturity for peas, let’s talk about the preferred soil for growing these delicious legumes.

Peas thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Here are three key factors to consider when preparing the soil for your pea plants:

1. Soil Type: Growing peas prefer sandy loam or loamy soil, which provides good drainage while retaining enough moisture for optimal growth. Avoid heavy clay soils that can become waterlogged and hinder root development.

2. pH Level: The ideal pH range for growing peas is between 6.0 and 7.5. Conduct a soil test to determine the pH of your garden bed and make any necessary adjustments using lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it.

3. Fertility: Peas are nitrogen-fixing plants, meaning they have the ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form with the help of symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia. However, they still benefit from a fertile soil high in phosphorus and potassium. Add compost or well-rotted manure before planting to provide essential nutrients.

By ensuring proper soil conditions, you’ll create an environment where your pea plants can flourish and yield abundant harvests of tender pods filled with sweet peas.

Tips for Planting Peas

When growing peas, it’s important to consider the optimal time for planting. In Wisconsin, you can start planting peas indoors 8 to 6 weeks before the last frost or directly outdoors in the spring.

To plant peas, sow the seeds about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in well-draining soil. Remember to provide support for your pea plants as they grow by using a trellis or stakes.

When to Plant Peas

Peas can be planted in Wisconsin 8 to 6 weeks before the last frost, so you’ll have a head start on enjoying those delicious pods! This timing ensures that the peas have enough time to mature before the heat of summer arrives.

In Wisconsin, the final frost date varies depending on your specific zone but generally falls around March 20th in Zone 3, March 13th in Zone 4, and March 6th in Zone 5. By planting your peas during this window, you give them the opportunity to establish strong roots and begin their growth before the warmer temperatures set in.

Remember to provide your pea plants with plenty of sunlight or artificial light and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. With proper care and attention, you’ll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh peas from your garden!

How to Plant Peas

To achieve a successful pea harvest, ensure your garden has well-draining soil and enough sunlight for the plants to thrive. Here are three key steps to planting peas:

1. Prepare the soil: Clear any weeds and incorporate organic matter into the soil to provide necessary nutrients. Growing peas prefer soil temperatures of around 50-60°F for optimal germination.

2. Planting depth and spacing: Sow pea seeds about 1-2 inches deep and space them 2-3 inches apart. Leave about 7 inches between rows to allow for proper growth.

3. Watering and care of growing peas: After planting, water the pea seeds immediately and keep the soil moist until they germinate. Once seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, transplant them into the garden if started indoors. Regularly water the plants, especially during dry spells, but avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to growing healthy pea plants yielding a bountiful harvest in no time!

How to Support Your Growing Peas

Supporting your growing pea plants is a great way to help them thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Here are some friendly tips to get you started:

  1. Sturdy stakes: Growing pea plants love to climb, so supporting them is essential. Find some sturdy stakes or trellises that are at least 4 to 6 feet tall. Make sure they’re firmly anchored in the ground.
  2. Gentle guidance: As your pea plants start to grow, gently guide their vines toward the stakes or trellises. You can use soft ties or twine to secure the vines without damaging them. 

Why Support Your Growing Peas Plants

  1. Healthy Growth: Growing peas tend to grow tall, and providing them with proper support ensures that they grow upright and strong. When they have something to lean on, such as a trellis or stakes, it helps prevent them from drooping or collapsing under their weight. Supporting them promotes healthy growth and allows them to reach their full potential.
  2. Maximizing Space: Growing peas are climbers who love to stretch out and reach for the sky. By offering them support, you enable them to utilize vertical space effectively. This is especially useful if you have limited gardening space or want to maximize your garden area. Growing peas vertically also makes harvesting much easier since the pods are at a convenient height.
  3. Pest Prevention: Elevating your growing peas off the ground helps to minimize the risk of pests and diseases. When the foliage is kept away from the soil, it reduces the chances of soil-borne diseases and pests like slugs, snails, and certain insects from damaging your plants. By supporting your pea plants, you create a healthier and safer environment for them to thrive.
  4. Better Air Circulation: like most plants, growing pea plants benefit from good air circulation around their leaves. When they are supported and trained to grow vertically, the air can flow more freely, reducing the risk of fungal diseases that can occur in damp and stagnant conditions. Proper air circulation also aids in pollination, leading to better fruit set and higher yields.
  5. Easy Harvesting: Harvesting peas becomes a breeze when the plants are well-supported. With vertical growth, the pea pods are conveniently positioned at eye level, making them easier to spot and pick. You won’t have to bend down or search through tangled foliage, saving you time and effort during harvest.

Water and Fertilizing Needs for Growing Peas

For optimal growth, make sure you water your pea plants regularly and provide them with a balanced fertilizer to meet their nutrient needs. Growing peas require consistent moisture to thrive, so it’s important to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. Watering at the base of the plant is recommended to avoid powdery mildew, a common problem for peas.

Pay extra attention to watering your pea plants during dry spells or hot weather.

In terms of fertilizing, peas are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means they can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that’s usable by themselves and other plants. This makes them somewhat self-sufficient when it comes to nitrogen. However, they still benefit from a balanced fertilizer that provides phosphorus and potassium. Avoid excessive nitrogen, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of pod development.

If you have prepared your soil with organic matter before planting, you may find that your pea plants don’t require additional fertilization. Mulching deeply around your growing peas can also help retain moisture and provide some nutrients as it breaks down over time.

By ensuring adequate water and appropriate nutrition through fertilization, you’ll promote healthy growth and maximize the yield of your pea plants.

Harvesting Peas

Now that you’ve watered and fertilized your pea plants, it’s time to talk about the exciting part: harvesting! Harvesting peas is one of the most rewarding experiences in gardening.

When it comes to harvesting, timing is everything. You want to pick your peas at the perfect stage of ripeness to ensure a sweet and tender flavor. Most pea varieties mature between 60 and 70 days after planting, but specific timing can vary depending on the variety.

To determine if your peas are ready for harvest, look for plump pods that’ve reached their full size. The pods with a vibrant green color should be firm but not hard. Gently squeeze the pods to check if they feel filled out inside.

To harvest, simply hold onto the stem of the pod and gently pull it away from the plant. Be careful not to damage or disturb neighboring pods or plants while doing so.

It’s best to harvest peas in the morning when they’re at their crispiest and most flavorful. After harvesting, store them properly by placing them in a breathable container or bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh and delicious homegrown peas straight from your garden. Happy harvesting!

List of Common Pests and Diseases of Peas

Now let’s discuss the treatment and prevention methods for common pests and diseases that affect peas. You’ll learn to control diseases like root-knot nematodes, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and white mold.

We’ll also cover strategies to manage pests such as Mexican bean beetles and wireworms. Understanding these measures can protect your pea plants and ensure a successful harvest.

Treatment and Prevention of Each Disease and Pest of Peas

To successfully grow peas, it’s important to know the treatment and prevention methods for diseases and pests that can affect pea plants.

One common disease that affects peas is plant disease, which can cause yellowing of leaves, wilting, and stunted growth. To control this disease, it’s recommended to destroy infected plants, avoid excessive nitrogen, and raise soil pH. Choosing resistant plant varieties and practicing crop rotation can also help prevent the disease.

Another common disease is downy mildew, characterized by yellow angular spots on upper leaf surfaces and white/purple/gray cottony growth on leaf undersides. To control downy mildew, remove plant debris, choose resistant varieties, ensure good air circulation, and avoid overhead watering.

Mexican bean beetles are a common pest that causes lacey skeletonized leaves and dark holes on pods. Control them by removing them by hand or releasing beneficial wasps.

Powdery mildew is another fungal disease that causes white spots on upper leaf surfaces and can be controlled by destroying infected leaves or plants, choosing resistant varieties, planting in full sun with good air circulation, and spraying with a baking soda solution.

Root-knot nematodes are insects that cause knotted or galled roots, stunted growth, and yellowing or wilting of plants. Control them by destroying affected plant matter, choosing resistant varieties, exposing the soil to sunlight, adding aged manure or compost, disinfecting gardening tools, and practicing crop rotation.

Wireworms are pests that affect newly planted seeds and young plants, causing hollowed seeds, severed seedlings, stunting, wilting, and root damage. Control wireworms by sowing seeds in warm soil, providing good drainage, removing plant debris, and practicing crop rotation. Trapping wireworms can be done by baiting them with germinating beans, corn, peas, or potato sections.

White mold is a fungal disease that affects pods near the ground. It can be controlled by gathering up affected pods and composting them, ensuring good air circulation and sun exposure, using mulch, and avoiding overhead watering.

By being aware of these diseases and pests and taking appropriate treatment and prevention measures, you can ensure the health and productivity of your pea plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can peas be grown in containers, or do they require a garden bed?

Peas can be grown in containers as long as you provide them with rich, well-draining soil and a trellis for support. This allows you to grow peas even if you don’t have access to a garden bed.

Are there any specific training techniques for supporting pea plants?

To support pea plants:

  1. Use stakes or a trellis to provide vertical support.
  2. Train the vines to climb the structure as they grow.
  3. Regularly check for any tendrils that need guidance and gently redirect them onto the support.

How long can harvested peas be stored before they start to lose their freshness?

Harvested peas can be stored for about 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for later use. To maintain freshness, make sure to store them properly in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Are there any alternative methods for protecting pea seedlings from pests aside from using pesticides?

To protect pea seedlings from pests without using pesticides, you can try alternative methods such as handpicking and removing pests, using physical barriers like row covers or netting, companion planting with pest-repellent plants, or introducing beneficial insects to the garden.

Can pea plants be grown in a greenhouse, or do they require direct sunlight?

Pea plants can be grown in a greenhouse, as they require plenty of sunlight or artificial light to thrive. Greenhouses provide a controlled environment with the necessary light conditions for pea plants to grow successfully.


In conclusion, growing peas in Wisconsin can be a rewarding experience. By choosing the right variety, providing proper care and maintenance, and staying vigilant against pests and diseases, gardeners can enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious peas.

Remember to plant in a sunny location with well-draining soil, water regularly but avoid overwatering, and provide support structures for the plants to grow on.

With these tips in mind, you can successfully grow your peas from planting to harvest.

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