Growing and Saving the Seed Of Peas

Latin name Pisum sativum, peas are a rugged and cold-hardy crop with a sweet and delicate flavor. They thrive in cool weather and are often the first crop of the season. Whether you are growing garden peas,  snow peas or snap peas, they are a wonderful taste of spring!.



Peas were originally cultivated for their dried seeds. The origins of the domesticated pea are unknown, but wild peas are native to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. Peas were an important, protein-rich storage crop. By the 1600s, Europeans had begun to eat fresh, green pods. Thomas Jefferson grew peas at Monticello and was known to participate in a neighborly contest to see who could grow the earliest peas of the season.


  • Many culinary uses




  • Sow seeds directly in the garden four to six weeks before the last frost date in spring.
  • For fall planting, seed directly in the ground 60 days before first fall frost. (If your area stays above 75 F into fall, you may not have a successful crop, and it is probably best to just plant in spring.) 
  • Ideal germination temperature is 45-80 F.

  • Seeds germinate in 10-30 days.




  • Plant peas in early spring or in late summer for a fall harvest; they thrive in cool weather.
  • A trellis is essential to keep vining-type plants from trailing along the ground.  Bush (dwarf) types do not grow so tall and, planted in blocks, hold each other up without need of additional support.
  • Plant peas 1⁄2 inch deep and thin to 3 inches apart.
  • Keep well weeded and be sure to mulch with straw or hay.


  • Fungus is the most common pest associated with peas. Simple measures, like cleaning up the garden after harvest to remove all fungus-infected plant tissue, are hugely helpful.
  • Also provide good airflow in the garden. Don't overcrowd plants and be sure to train them up a trellis if needed. 




  • Peas will self pollinate. However, to ensure purity, it is best to isolate by 25-50 feet between varieties to dissuade wandering bees from pollinating flowers. 
  • Allow pods to dry on plants.
  • Thresh and dry indoors for two weeks before sealing in an airtight container.
  • Seed remains viable for up to 5 years.