The pea plant is commonly grown and harvested throughout North America. It is a fast-growing plant that takes only 57 to 72 days from planting until it is ready for harvest. Many individual gardeners make a hobby out of growing their favorite bean plants in their private backyards.
Pea plants enjoy cool climates with an average soil temperature of around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When being grown in warmer climates, gardeners wait until late summer to plant the seeds. This lets the plants mature during the cooler autumn months and avoid drying out while seeds are at their most vulnerable.
Pea plants are sensitive growers, with thick roots that can be tangled and damaged when planted too closely together. It's important to plant seed rows with enough room for proper development. They need at least 18 to 24 inches between rows and each seed should be planted at least an inch apart from one another within a single row.
It takes about two weeks for pea plants to begin to vine. The vines need a pole or trellis nearby about 5 feet in height for proper support unless the pea plant is of a bush variety. Pea bushes only grow to about 2 feet in height and are hardy enough to support their own weight.
Pea pods flower within weeks of vining, and will be ready for harvest five to seven days after. On average, Spring peas take 54 to 57 days after planting to be ready for harvest, Sparkle and Green Arrow take 60 to 70 days, and Snowbird, Dwarf Gray Sugar and Snowflake peas take no more than 72 days to mature enough for harvest.
Pea plants suffer from a variety of pests, including aphids and powdery mildew on their leaves; aphanomyces root rot, which attacks the roots, and rhizoctonia solani seedling rot, which attacks the seeds. These diseases and pests are dangerous to the plant and, when left untreated, can possibly be lethal. Pesticides and fungicides available at local garden stores will often protect the plant and prevent re-infestation.