If you’re looking to grow your own nourishing garden, there are lots of interesting vegetable choices to include. Peas are easy to grow and have many nutritional advantages. There’s also the delicious taste of fresh peas which is simply not comparable to canned or frozen options. Growing an organic pea garden is easier compared to other vegetables but it still takes a bit of effort to produce a healthy crop. This article will show you some helpful tips so you can grow your own tasty peas.
It doesn’t matter if you lack a huge yard area to work with as peas can adapt pretty well. Before taking the natural route of growing your own peas, it’s important to decide on what kind of variety you wish to plant. There are different types of peas out there and some of them like the shell peas and soup peas come with inedible pods. If you want to eat peas whole, snap peas and snow peas types offer edible pods. Snap peas are usually the most popular option thanks to their high food yields and characteristic sweet taste.
1. When and Where to Plant
Peas grow best when sown in the spring. It’s recommended to plant your crop as early as possible but not too soon because germination will take longer. Peas prefer slightly cooler weather so you can go for additional sowings when summers aren’t hot. A good rule of thumb to plant the pea plant is to check the temperature of the soil and start sowing when it stays at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of location, it’s important to select a sunny spot in the garden where your pea plants can thrive. That being said, pea plants are fairly weak to hot weather, so if you can plant them next to taller plants, that would be beneficial. Make sure you avoid overheating of the roots by including mulch.
Regardless of the type of pea, this plant will benefit a lot from installing a trellis. Even bush peas can thrive better with the help of some structural support. Peas can be planted on each side of the trellis to use the available area more efficiently. The trellis should provide adequate spacing so there’s no need for additional thinning. You can also use poles, twine or netting for giving your pea plants something to climb. We recommend sticking to a hassle-free expandable trellis that’s been specifically designed for growing peas. Check out this durable model from Amazon.
2. Preparing the Soil
As with every planting process out there, one of the first steps in creating your organic peas garden involves careful soil preparation. If you use rich soil that’s full of nutrients, you won’t ever need to make use of chemical fertilizers. To boost the richness of the soil, you will need plenty of organic matter to feed it. Some examples include cow manure and dried leaves. This organic matter is critical for the healthy development of your organic peas.
While we recommend using freshly created compost, there’s a faster method if you don’t have the time. Organic soil can be bought at a specialized shop. Make sure you select a suitable one that’s not dried out or too wet. Buy rich potting soil such as this one from Amazon if you plan on growing your peas in containers or raised beds.
Another important aspect when it comes to preparing the right soil is to use a high-quality mulch. This isn’t absolutely required, but it will help a lot when it comes to growing organic peas or anything else. Mulches such as cocoa-based types can be useful to include as protection against common pests and to block weeds. Go for pine needles or other mulches if you have a dog because cocoa mulch can be harmful to your pet.
3. Using the Right Seeds
Part of going the organic route means to select proper seeds for your pea crop. Make sure you check the labels and opt for 100% Certified Organic products. Take a look at these high-quality snow pea seeds from Amazon which come with this certification. When you see the USDA Organic logo you can be sure that you’re getting an organic product that hasn’t been altered by chemicals in any way. This particular pea variety from Seeds of Change is tolerant to diseases and harsh weather while maintaining excellent productivity.
4. Growing and Watering
Peas like a good level of moisture but watering this plant is only an important concern when blooms start to form. Once peas start to mature, there’s not a lot of maintenance needed. Make sure you let them thrive and only water their soil as needed. Too much water is usually more dangerous than too little as the pea plant can be vulnerable to root rot. Water your peas just enough to keep the plant healthy-looking without any wilting issues.
Fertilizer shouldn’t be required if you have good soil conditions. Peas are part of the legume family meaning they depend on a reliable ability to obtain nitrogen through bacteria from their roots. While other vegetables will need good plant food to produce a healthy crop, peas can often grow better without fertilizer. When planting peas, you can actually take advantage of their nitrogen-fixation ability by adding other crops in between. Vegetables like broccoli or cabbage can take advantage of the nitrogen-rich soil used by pea plants.
5. Pests and Diseases
If you use trellis structures and mulch, peas will be fairly well protected from common pests but keep in mind that they can still appear regardless of your efforts. Aphids can pose a problem so make sure you check for signs such as curling and yellowing of the plants. Snails and slugs can also appear and need to be removed. The pea weevil is another pest that can affect your plants. Crop rotation helps to fight against it.
Powdery mildew is a common disease that can appear when your pea plants are excessively wet. A trellis structure should help with prevention as it boosts the airflow enabling the vines to dry completely. It’s also a good idea to go for pea varieties that boast natural resistance to this disease. Types of peas with fewer leaves are usually better.
6. Harvesting and Storage
After around 3 weeks from blossoming, peas will become ready to eat so you can start harvesting them. It’s highly recommended to be careful during the harvesting process and always use two hands to minimize the risk of ripping off a big part of the vine. Ripe green peas can be harvested daily and it’s important to properly store your picked peas if you wish to keep the texture intact. Refrigeration or freezing are great options.
Once the harvesting process is over, try not to pull the plant by the roots. You can take advantage of all that extra nitrogen from the roots by cutting off the stem at ground level. Other crops you wish to plant in that soil will be able to thrive thanks to the richness of the soil.
7. Saving Pea Seeds
Thanks to peas’ self-fertile ability, saving seeds involves letting some pods mature and become fully dry. Once they turn to a brown color, you will know that they are ready. Pick the largest seeds and place them in the freezer for a couple of days. This has the role of killing any insects from the pea pods. Find a dry place to store your seeds after the freezer treatment.
8. Companion Plants
Your organic garden doesn’t have to be made of only pea plants. It’s a good idea to include some companion plants to promote mutual cooperation and enjoy a richer diversity of vegetables. Some of the best companions for peas are beans, carrots, corn, and spinach. Other vegetables can play nice with peas as well but make sure you avoid growing onions and garlic near your pea plants because they don’t mix well together.