The pea is an annual vegetable that is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, iron and some calcium and protein. Peas do contain sugar and starch, and contain 134 calories and 25g of carbohydrates in each 5.6 oz serving. Many varieties of peas exist, from the edible-podded snow pea popular in Asian dishes to the snap pea. Most pea varieties are ready to harvest about two months after you plant them and you can ensure a long harvest by planting early and main season varieties at staggered intervals.
Prepare the soil in your planting area as soon as you can work it in the spring, because peas can withstand light frosts. Dig limestone, or wood ash and compost or rotted manure into the soil where you plan to grow your peas--use the ratio of 1 part organic matter to 4 parts of soil. Include an inoculant when you prepare your soil to provide your plants with bacteria they need to capture nitrogen from the soil.
Make a planting furrow about 1 1/2 inches deep with your hoe. Drop pea seeds about 2 inches apart. Cover the row with the soil you scooped out. Peas grow well in double rows that are 3 to 6 inches apart. Make additional double rows 2 feet apart.
Provide support for your pea plants. You can plant them next to a fence or drive stakes into the ground at 1-foot intervals along your planted row.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or other type of mulch over the soil where you planted your pea seeds--it will keep the soil moist and discourage weeds.
Keep your pea plants well watered--the National Garden Bureau website recommends 1 inch of water each week.