Peas (Pisum sativum) are a versatile, hardy, nutritious vegetable that have been cultivated for centuries, according to the University of Minnesota. They can be grown in just about any home garden in the United States and come in a wide range of varieties, from sugar peas that have edible pods, to smooth-skinned peas that are used for soups and drying.
Peas can be grown in any place where temperatures cool in the fall and winter, according to the University of Illinois. This means they can be grown in most regions of the United States save some tropical and subtropical areas. These vegetables grow best in climates that have cool, wet springs.
Peas should be planted in soil that is around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and is easily workable. The optimum pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 6.7. In addition, well-draining soil is necessary to avoid fungal diseases that attack and destroy the roots of the plant. Finally, keeping the immediate habitat around the peas free of weeds is essential, according to Ohio State University, especially during the first six weeks of growth.
Peas require a habitat that is exposed to full sunlight. Like most vegetables, peas grow and produce best when they receive at least eight hours of sunlight per day, according to the University of Minnesota. Hot weather, on the other hand, is detrimental to pea production. The plants should be well-irrigated during such times.
Peas thrive in habitats with cool, moist soil. Note that habitats that are prone to flooding or collecting standing water do not drain well enough to grow peas. Peas grown in climates with wet spring weather may not need supplemental watering. Otherwise, water enough so that the soil is barely moist, but not soggy. Avoid wetting the vines or foliage, as this can lead to fungal diseases. A 3-inch layer of mulch works well to stifle weed growth and retain moisture in the ground.
Peas are classified as either bush or pole (vine) peas, depending on their growth habits. Bush peas are short or dwarf varieties that reach a maximum height of only 3 feet, according to the University of Minnesota. These do not need a habitat that provides support for growth. Pole peas grow much taller and have a climbing habit. They need to be supported by stakes, trellises or string fences. Such support allows for vertical growth and saves space in a small home garden.