Sweet peas, also known as English peas, are a favorite of home gardeners. Unlike beans and many other vegetables, peas are a cool-weather crop that can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the early spring. Seedpods can be harvested when they are 3 to 4 inches long and used as pea pods in stir-fry and other dishes; or they can be allowed to mature, then shelled and cooked as garden peas. Once the peas have begun to mature, they should be picked daily to encourage production. The pea plant will begin to show stress at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and will wilt back entirely at higher temperatures.
Create 1-inch-deep trenches for rows. Space the rows 18 to 24 inches apart for bush-type peas and 3 feet apart for climbing varieties. You can use the handle of a garden hoe or rake to create the rows.
Drop a sweet pea seed every 2 inches in the row.
Cover the row with at least 1 inch of soil using the hoe to cover the seed.
Thin sweet pea seedlings to one plant every 8 to 12 inches after the seedlings are established in the row.