Peas are frost-hardy and planted as soon as the soil is workable. This cool-season crop is a popular addition to home vegetable gardens. Peas are grown for the edible pods and seeds. Peas from the garden are eaten fresh, frozen, canned or dried. Peas stop blooming and producing pods when the weather turns hot.
Dig the soil where you will plant your peas to the depth of 6 inches with a shovel. According to Ohio State University Extension, gardeners should wait until the soil is dry enough to not stick to the gardening tools and the temperature is at least 45 degrees F to sow peas. Add 3 to 4 pounds of 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) slow release fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area.
Create a 10-foot row with a trench 1 inch deep in its center using the edge of a garden hoe. Plant the pea seeds 2 inches apart in the trench and cover with soil. Plant the rest of your pea seeds in similar rows 18 to 24 inches apart.
Drive a 6 foot pole at each end of the row with a hammer. Tie a string to both poles every 6 to 8 inches. As the pea vines grow, weave the stems through the string ladder.
Eliminate the weeds from around the pea plants. Pull the weeds up by hand so you do not damage the roots of the peas, advises University of Illinois Extension.
Sprinkle the soil at the base of the pea plants with water in the morning whenever the soil begins to dry out. Morning watering allows the pea plant leaves to dry off quickly which reduces leaf disease.
Spread 2 inches of peat moss or finely shredded bark mulch around the base of the pea plants when they touch the first string on the supports. Mulching conserves moisture in the soil, reduces weed growth, and keeps the soil cool.
Pick the pea pods when they are the right size for the variety. Most pea varieties are ready when the pods swell up. Some varieties last a week producing pea pods while others produce a continuous harvest until the first fall frost.