In this series I’m compiling the quick and dirty info on growing specific vegetables. Just the basics. No fluff, no frills. When you’re sitting down in the late Winter, surrounded by seed catalogs, and your garden plan in front of you, you want a quick reference. How far apart can you plant? What pH do they need? How much water? What vegetables can you plant next to others? Which should you avoid?
This quick and dirty 30 second guide to Peas should help you answer all those questions quickly, without having to sort through article after article. I’ve always wanted a quick cheat sheet like this, so hopefully you’ll find it useful too!
I absolutely love peas. Not the mushy, tasteless store-bought peas, but the fresh from the garden peas. I love running out to the garden before dinner and searching the vines for pods that look ready. I love the sweet flavor, and distinct texture.
Growing them is even better. The pea plants grow so quickly I swear you could watch them. They’re cold hardy and forgiving. I say forgiving because they let you know when they need water and bounce back quickly when given what they need.
In addition to being easy to grow, they fix nitrogen into the soil, making it available to other plants. Whether you plant other crops nearby, or simple rotate your crops yearly, I love that peas give back to the soil.
Peas also have a lucky superstition for the bachelorette. There’s an old wive’s tale that a young lady who finds a pea pod with nine peas in it, the next man she sees will become her husband. In a similar fashion, if she suspends the pea pod with nine peas in it over her doorway using a white thread, the next man to come through the door will become her husband.
Nutritional Value of Peas
These tiny little balls of green goodness are jam-packed with nutritional power. In additional to being sweet and tasty, one cup of cooked peas contains:
- 40% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K,
- 36% of your manganese (the sneaky little nutrient that assist in metabolic action, the thyroid gland, sex hormones and the regulation of blood sugar),
- 30% of your vitamin B1,
- 27% of your copper
- 26% of your daily vitamin C
- 23% of your phosphorus
- 22% of your folate
- and between 16-18% of vitamin B6, B3, and B2
In addition to all of the above, peas also contain lutein and zeaxanthin – known to promote eye health.
The Difference Between Peas and Beans
Did you know there’s no real difference between peas and beans? Generally speaking, beans are considered seeds of any plant in the Fabaceae family (or legumes). Peas usually refer to seeds from Pisum sativum, a specific species of legume.
If you’re growing Peas this year, here’s what you need to know:
1/2 – 1 inch per week
Direct sow 4-6 weeks before the last frost
Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Potatoes, Spinach
Avoid Planting With
Low maintenance. Climbing varieties will need some sort of trellis or support.
65-90 days. Harvest peas before fully ripe. This will encourage the plant to grow more pea pods.
Saving The Seeds
To save pea seeds, allow some of the pea pods to ripen and dry completely on the vine. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.