The cultivation of peas

The cultivation of peas

Peas are an ideal legume to grow in the Italian climate, it is distinguished in dwarf and climbing varieties, depending on the height of growth.

Dwarf peas are earlier, in the family garden you can also think of sowing the different varieties in order to have a longer vegetable production.

Among all the leguminous vegetables, peas are the simplest as a cultivation, due to the few diseases it suffers.

If you want to sow peas in your garden, we recommend that you also read the article we have dedicated to what varieties of peas to sow, it can be useful to choose the best cultivar.

Sow the peas

Climate and terrain. Peas are a plant suitable for our latitudes, it is an ideal crop to be sown even in northern Italy, once the plant has sprouted it can also withstand frosts below 10 degrees. This vegetable, on the other hand, does not like humidity, so the soil must be prepared well with a process that makes it draining correctly and during the entire cultivation it is necessary to ensure that the earth does not make a crust, intervening when necessary with the hoe.

Fertilizer. Peas are not very demanding in terms of soil and fertilization, preparing the soil for cultivation we recommend burying 2-3 kg of mature manure per square meter or the equivalent in pellets in the garden, which will be about a tenth when dried. The most important element for peas is phosphorus, which must not be missing.

Sowing period. The pea seed needs a few degrees to be born, 7-8 degrees are enough and once born it resists the cold very well (even ten degrees below zero). It can be sown in October / November or between the end of February and the beginning of March. Sowing peas in the spring reduces the risk of mice attacking the seeds. Another advantage of cultivation in spring is that there are fewer active diseases for climatic reasons. It is not advisable to sow the pea in jars, it is better to plant it directly in the open field. If you believe in the lunar calendar, peas should be sown on a growing moon. Those who want to know more can read the in-depth article: sowing peas.

Sixth of implant. To sow peas, we recommend keeping a distance of 70-80 cm between the rows and a few cm between one seed and another, while the dwarf peas are kept at a distance of 20 cm along the row. For dwarf varieties, twigs are enough as support, for vines the best thing is nets.

Grow and harvest peas in the garden

Cultivation. The pea plants need to be tucked up and ordinary weeding and weed control operations are required. The dwarf peas reach 40 cm in height, while the plants of the climbing varieties can exceed 2 meters in height.

Irrigation. Like all legumes, the pea should be irrigated during the flowering period, in moderation and without creating water stagnation by watering. Plants should not be wet during the hottest hours of the day.

Rotation and association: it is necessary to take into account when thinking about a synergistic vegetable garden that the pea is a crop that impoverishes the soil of calcium. Once the plants have been uprooted, pea straw is excellent for composting precisely because it is rich in this substance. Good combination with potatoes, spinach, lettuce and carrots, better not to get too close to lilac vegetables such as garlic and onion.

Collection. When the pod is turgid it must be harvested before it becomes wrinkled, otherwise the seed becomes hard. The heat determines the speed of ripening, and high temperatures can make it ripen before the vegetable swells, so it is better to grow it in spring. A pea plant typically takes 90-100 days from seed to harvest. Most peas are shelled by consuming the seed, there are varieties of eaten peas such as snow peas in which the whole pod is cooked. Once harvested, this vegetable can be stored in the freezer or by drying it.

Use in the kitchen. These small legumes lend themselves to various recipes, in particular they are an excellent side dish, perhaps flavored with some aromatic herbs (for example peas with mint).

Diseases and pests of peas

The pea is the simplest legume to grow, it does not suffer particular attacks from diseases, this not only because it is a rustic vegetable but also because of the spring cultivation, any attacks of fungal diseases would still arrive at the end of the pea production cycle, with minimal consequences. The attacks of mice in the garden that go to eat the seeds of peas and aphids can be annoying.

Compared to many other vegetables, peas are little affected by parasites and for this reason they are excellent to grow organically, although there are some insects that can damage these legumes. More information can be found in the article on insects that attack peas.

Which varieties to grow

Peas are a plant that comes in different varieties. We can distinguish the types based on the crop cycle (late or early), size, color or type of peel on the seed (for example, there are smooth or wrinkled), or based on the plant they form, which can be climbing, dwarf or half a copper. There are varieties of pea eat all, in which the pod is also consumed, while in most cases only the seed is eaten. We wrote an article in which the varieties of peas are explored, trying to recommend some excellent cultivars. Read the article on how to choose which peas to grow.

Other interesting reads:

Matteo Cereda2018-12-26T08: 32: 24 + 01: 00
  1. Marta20 March 2015 at 10:29

    Very interesting, very well explained, I decided to sow peas, they seem easy to grow.


    • horticulturist20 March 2015 at 12:32

      Yes, peas and legumes in general don't give much work, good luck and thanks for the compliments!

  2. Charles26 September 2016 at 15:37

    Hi, I would like to know if planting peas in October which variety do you recommend and when
    they reap the rewards. I live in central Italy, height 400 meters, thanks

    • Matteo Cereda26 September 2016 at 21:48

  3. Stefania Somaré22 November 2016 at 13:13

    Hi Matteo. I have to get some kids to sow peas in the classroom for a project. We cannot sow them on the ground. I thought of some vases like those for balconies. But what depth do they need? Do I need 15 cm? Thank you very much, Stefania

    • Matteo Cereda22 November 2016 at 14:19

      Good morning Stefania, great idea to sow peas with children. However, the pot should be quite large, 15 cm is too little even if you choose a dwarf variety. The seeds of peas also germinate in a glass of earth but to develop and produce a large pot is needed, certainly not those used for windowsill planters.

  4. luigi tralli4 March 2017 at 10:43

    thanks for your advice, and thanks to you last year I had a great harvest. now, always under your advice, I try to change quality and put the nano. thanks and see you next time

  5. James30 March 2017 at 11:39

    Good morning.
    Is it too late to sow peas in early April?

    • Matteo Cereda30 March 2017 at 14:14

      Peas can also be sown in April! Generally, being more resistant than other vegetables, this characteristic is "exploited" to plant them at the end of winter, this does not mean that they cannot be sown in April. Obviously then it depends on the climate of your area.

  6. Alessia Vacca7 May 2017 at 8:38

    Hi, just two weeks ago I decided to do an experiment: I took 6-7 peas among the fresh ones, just picked, bought in the square, which I had seen beautiful little ones and I put them in a jar with fertile soil. Now the plants have already sprung up but I have no idea how much they can grow since I don't know what type they are .. how could I understand which type they belong to? And, also, does the plant need stakes or supports to grow or does it grow very well without?

    • Matteo Cereda7 May 2017 at 19:42

      There is no way to understand what type they are, as far as plants are concerned, it is better to put a support, even if they could be dwarf varieties that do not need.

  7. Livia Bonaga12 May 2017 at 11:41

    I realized I have peas all gnawed and eaten they look like rats what can I do?

    • Matteo Cereda12 May 2017 at 14:23

  8. angel7 July 2017 at 9:23

    Can peas be sown in July now? I live in Brianza.

    • Matteo Cereda7 July 2017 at 10:24

      Hi Angelo, I'm from Brianza too! In my opinion it is a bit late to put the peas in the garden, I would wait. The pea generally has a crop cycle of about three months, which means that it will bear fruit in October, with an adverse climate.

  9. Pine tree30 September 2017 at 19:25

    Talk about the amount of fertilizer for sowing peas 2/3 kg of ripe peas or the equivalent in pellets but it would not be better on how many square meters. A vegetable garden can be very small, small, large. How many kilos per square meter? Thanks.

    • Matteo Cereda2 October 2017 at 9:16

      Hi Pino, you're right: in the article I implied that the contribution was per square meter but it was formulated in an unclear way. I corrected, thanks for the valuable report!

  10. mellogno santino15 May 2018 at 10:16

    Good morning,
    first of all my compliments to this wonderful and complete site.
    what is the maximum temperature above which the pea suffers and begins to emit a white powder on the leaves?
    I think I have noticed that when the powder appears, the plant stops growing and producing;
    I thought I would protect the plant with a shade cloth when the "max threshold" temperatures arrived ... can it work?
    thank you so much

    • Matteo Cereda15 May 2018 at 14:56

      The white powder on pea leaves is not linked to heat but rather seems to be a symptom of a fungal disease: powdery mildew (also called "white sickness"). When temperatures rise it is important not to let the legumes lack water, a straw mulch around the stem also helps a lot. The pea, however, is a plant that suffers from the heat, above 25/30 degrees. This is why we try to sow it early, in order to harvest before summer. The heat makes the peas hard and if excessive it stops the growth of the plant. In very hot areas the shading net can be appropriate, both to decrease the heat and against too much sun.

  11. LAURA BELARDONI22 May 2018 at 14:25

    Hi, this morning I picked my first peas ... Now I wonder: do they grow back on the plant or do I have to uproot it too ????

    • Matteo Cereda22 May 2018 at 22:37

      Hi Laura, if there are still pods you will go ahead and harvest, if the flowering is over and there is nothing left on the plant you can remove it.

  12. Leo13 June 2018 at 16:41

    My peas are attacked by the weevil and I had to throw away almost everything .. Is there any way to prevent in the field?

    • Matteo Cereda13 June 2018 at 17:09

      Hi Leo, the weevil is difficult to prevent in the field, in fact the first advice is to collect the freshly ripe legumes to prevent them from being exposed to the parasite, as well as storing them in insect-proof places. I think lithotamnium can work to discourage this insect from spawning.

  13. Checco2 July 2018 at 20:52

    Hi Matteo, my peas seem more or less ready but the pod does not come off the plant easily ... is it normal that it is difficult to detach or do I have to wait a few more days?

    • Matteo Cereda2 July 2018 at 22:20

      Hi Checco, usually the pods come off easy, but it could also depend on the variety, to check if they are ready try opening one and see if the peas are ready.

      • Checco3 July 2018 at 18:06

        Thanks, it's very kind of you! I will do so !!

  14. mauro10 November 2018 at 19:19

    Are there any other mezzarama varieties besides the ones you describe? Maybe something local or old. Thanks

    • Matteo Cereda11 November 2018 at 15:03

      Hi Mauro, the varieties are endless, especially the local ones. I am talking about what I have "touched", if you frequent some local grower or some seed exchange you will certainly find many other local peas, even if more often the ancient varieties are found climbing.

  15. Pine tree8 February 2019 at 17:39

    I wanted to know when peas cost is VAT that is applied .. So they are understood. How vegetables?

    • Matteo Cereda9 February 2019 at 17:03

      Hi Pino, peas are vegetables, VAT depends on the seller's regime, up to 7,000 euros in agriculture it is also possible to be exempt. The price of peas varies depending on many factors and the period.

  16. Domenico21 May 2020 at 16:41

    I sowed dwarf peas but only a few seedlings came out high, most remained very small: what mistake did I make? Furthermore, I did not put any supports thinking they weren't needed, instead the plants that came out tall bent on one side, especially once the pods came out ...

    • Matteo Cereda22 May 2020 at 22:34

      Hi Domenico, if they are dwarf varieties that bend anyway, I recommend you plant two poles at the end of each row and pull two ropes, one on each side. This is a very simple support but generally sufficient, except for strong winds. I don't know how to give you an explanation on the lack of growth of plants because I know very little about your cultivation.

  17. Gianni27 May 2020 at 18:00

    Hello, I live on Lake Iseo (BS) and the average temperatures in November are 6 degrees and in December 1 degree I wanted to ask if I sow climbing peas var. Phone tradivi in ​​late September / early October, when should they be ready for harvest? thanks a lot

    • Matteo Cereda28 May 2020 at 9:37

      Hi Gianni, I don't know the timing of the cultivation cycle of the variety you mention (you should ask whoever supplied you with the seed who certainly has a better idea than me), I would say that by the month of June they should still be harvested, even at May depending on the spring weather.

  18. Antonella10 June 2020 at 20:22

    Good evening Matteo
    I can ask once the pea plants have been uprooted, which I read deplete the soil of calcium, how can I prepare the soil for a new sowing? unfortunately I did not know that I could reuse the remains of the plants, and I have already eliminated them ... .. and what is better to sow? We are on the 9th of June… Thanks
    Antonella R.

    • Matteo Cereda10 June 2020 at 22:10

      Compost and manure are "complete" substances suitable for restoring a bit of everything, it is perfectly fine to use them in this case too. You can sow whatever you want, indicatively not a legume. A cucurbit, for example, is fine, but also salads if you prefer.

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Video: How to Grow Peas. The Simple Guide to a Fantastic Harvest