How to Plant Pea Seedlings


Plant pea seedlings better suited to survive and grow in the garden than seeds which require a long time to germinate and may rot in the soil before growing. Germinating pea seeds to sprout into seedlings requires two weeks of exercising moisture and temperature control, resulting in a more bountiful harvest of peas in 50 to 70 days from planting. The two-week germination process can be repeated as often as desired--with germination, plantings and harvest staggered throughout the season. Fresh peas can be planted and enjoyed earlier in the season than most other vegetables, making it a very popular addition to the garden.

Step 1

Inspect the pea seeds carefully and discard any broken or damaged seeds. Increase the yield by inoculating the pea seeds with a commercial formulation of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, available from the garden center, if the seedlings are planted in a new garden. This is not a necessary procedure if planting in an established garden.

Step 2

Lay the seeds between layers of moistened paper towels and slide the packet into a zip-close bag that has 10 evenly spaced holes punched through both sides of the bag with an ice pick.

Step 3

Place the seeds in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Remove the packet of paper towels as it becomes dry to the touch, apply more moisture and reinsert it into the plastic zip-close bag.

Step 4

Locate the garden in an area that receives indirect sunlight with plenty of shade. Peas like cool temperatures.

Step 5

Prepare the garden bed by raking at least one layer of compost or peat moss in a level layer over the garden soil. Use a garden spade to thoroughly work the compost or peat moss into the soil.

Step 6

Plant the seedlings in the garden when the roots begin to emerge by being careful not to break the fragile roots and waiting until the soil reaches at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the seedling 1 inch deep into the soil with the roots pointing down, 3 to 5 inches apart with rows spaced 18 inches apart.

Step 7

Cover the soil with a thick mulch of at least 2 inches of organic matter to prevent weed growth and conserve moisture.

Step 8

Apply water directly to the seedling roots by using either water flow irrigation or a soaker hose. Water daily until the soil is moist to a depth of 6 inches. Test the soil daily before watering by pushing a long screwdriver into the ground. If it meets little resistance, the soil is moist enough; if it meets resistance, the soil needs additional watering.

Step 9

Protect the seedlings by covering the garden with bird netting, available from the garden center; remove it when the seedlings grow to a height of 2 inches. Sprinkle the garden with a slug and snail bait additive that will cause these pests to cease feeding and die.

Step 10

Build a support for the peas to twine on by driving a 4-foot-long metal fence post into the ground for a distance of 1 foot at both ends of each row. Between the two fence posts, tie strands of heavy-duty, weather-resistant cord spaced 2 inches apart the length of the posts. Guide the sprouts onto the cords, attach them and continue to train them until they climb on their own.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't rush to plant. Peas planted at 40 degrees Fahrenheit will not perform well. Wait until the ground is at a reliably consistent temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Nitrogen-fixing bacteria formula
  • Paper towels
  • Zip-close bags
  • Ice pick
  • Compost
  • Garden spade
  • Mulch
  • Soaker hose
  • Screwdriver
  • Bird netting
  • Slug and snail bait additive
  • Fence posts
  • Cord, heavy duty


  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow
  • University of Maryland: Grow It/Eat It!
Keywords: planting pea seedlings, preparing pea seedlings, growing pea seeds

About this Author

Freelance writing since 2009, Tom Ross has 30 years of corporate management and hands-on experience in the supermarket industry. Ross was featured on the cover of "Instore Buyer" magazine and his articles have appeared on eHow.