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How to Germinate Pea Seeds

By Katie Jensen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Peas in a pod
peas image by ivan kmit from Fotolia.com

Peas come in three varieties: English peas, snap peas and sweet peas. Peas grow as twining vines up to 6 feet tall, though there are a few dwarf sweet peas that grow to only 24 inches. English peas and snap peas are edible. Sweet peas are not edible but are grown for their sweetly scented, pastel-colored flowers. In fact, sweet peas are toxic if eaten. All peas are cool-season plants, requiring cool temperatures to grow, flower and peas.

Sweet Peas

Dig a trench 24 inches deep and 6 inches wide. George Brookbank, the author of "The Desert Gardener's Calendar," suggests filling the trench with 8 inches of well-rotted steer manure, 8 inches of bagged top soil and a sprinkling of fertilizer, per package directions. Cover the top soil with 2 inches of garden dirt.

Plant the seeds 2 to 3 inches apart and 1 inch deep.

Water well. When the seeds sprout mound the soil from the trench up and around the stems as they grow.

English and Snap Peas

Soak peas in a container of water for 24 hours. Remove and plant immediately. If you're planting both English and Snap peas label the containers. The pea seeds look alike.

Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart in rich loamy soil with lots of added amendments such as compost, top soil and rotted manure.

Water until the top 6 inches of soil is wet.

Between Paper Towels

Soak the pea seeds in water for 24 hours. Remove from the water and place between paper towels sprayed with water. Put in a zip-lock bag.

Place in a warm location such as on top of the dryer or fridge.

Check the peas seeds every day until you see the embryonic root emerge. As soon as they do remove from the zip-lock bag and plant in the garden 1 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart.


Things You Will Need

  • Manure, well-rotted
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Container
  • Paper towels
  • Zip-lock bags


  • If the rootlet breaks when planting or removing from the bag the pea won't fully sprout.
  • Some peas are dusted with fungicide; soaking removes it.


  • Do not heat the container of water to get the peas to germinate faster.

About the Author


Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.