Pea: sowing cultivation maintenance and harvesting

In France, we can cultivate more than 80 varieties of peas. This means that the choice is vast, leaving the gardener plenty of time to plant peas whatever the climate of his region, some being able to tolerate moderate frosts. With wrinkled or smooth grains, from snow peas to shelling peas, or even from peas to the dwarf variety, we therefore choose according to our tastes but also the space we have. From sowing to harvesting, including the sometimes necessary staking, let’s see everything you need to know (and do) to enjoy garden peas in the spring.

Sow the pea

In a mild climate, we sow in autumn but in order for the varieties to withstand the winter, it is necessary to dig them in 6 cm. In climates with harsher winters, it is better to sow peas in springwhich is also the case of certain varieties such as those with wrinkled seeds.

The sowing directly in place between the months of February and April is only recommended for the varieties of classic peas with round grains, and if you want to grow wrinkled peas or snow peas, you have to wait until May-June so that the sun has had time to warm up the soil in the garden. Sowing in place can be carried out in two different ways, namely:

  • In a few : every 50 cm we deposit 5 to 6 seeds,
  • On line (furrow), a single seed at a depth of 5 cm:
    • every 3 to 5 cm, if it is a rowing variety,
    • every 1.5 cm if it is a dwarf variety.

You have to take care of separate the furrows forming the lines by 30 to 60 cm depending on the height of the variety grown.

Once the seeds are in place and covered with a thin layer of potting soilwe plumb with the back of the rake to lightly pack the earth and, in order to start germination, it is necessary toto water in rain in stride.

Another solution is to sow the peas on a honeycomb tray. This has several advantages:

  • Easily control the number of seeds to be sown,
  • Protect :
    • seeds against birds,
    • young plants against attacks by snails and slugs,
    • prevent fungal diseases.

In addition, the mini-clods produced using the honeycomb plates can then be transplanted directly into place much more easily. For information, a sowing tray with a hundred cells costs between 2 and 4 euros. The one with lid and 24 cells is generally sold between 7 and 9 euros.

Growing peas

The cultivation of peas does not pose any particular difficulty when the plants are installed in an area of ​​the vegetable garden. sunny in the morning at partial shade during the hottest hours to prevent the plants from burning. These legumes love them fairly moist soils most well drained, very fertile et light.

Butter the peas

Environ 3 weeks after emergence, the spring peas are mounded. This increases their resistance to strong winds. To ridge, you simply have to bring earth towards your feet in order to form a small mound 15 to 18 cm high. Of course, there is no question of smothering the plants, which must therefore protrude from the mound by at least a third of their height.

Pea companion plants

In the vegetable garden, the pea gets on well with cabbage, carrot, lamb’s lettuce, potato, pickle and cucumber, celery and turnip.

But beware of bad associations! Peas are not grown in close proximity to parsley, shallots, garlic and onions, tomatoes and leeks.

Take care of your peas

Here are the few basic steps to successfully plant peas until harvest.


It is essential to water the peas very regularly until the end of flowering so as not to expose the legumes to water stress which can significantly reduce production. The alternation of dry earth/wet earth is therefore to be avoided. On the other hand, watering should be reduced as soon as the pods or pods form, especially if it rains from time to time, that being sufficient. A little watering is nevertheless necessary in times of great drought.


Tutoring is essential for all varieties peas sans exception, which includes semi-dwarves and dwarfs because they need to be able to hang on too thanks to their tendrils. To do this, you can install either:

  • rowing nets,
  • welded wire mesh,
  • chicken wire,
  • Or, if one prefers to use a ancestral technique :
    • very straight willow, bamboo or hazel stems about 200 to 220 cm high for the tall varieties,
    • oak or hornbeam branches which are branched and are particularly suitable for the lowest varieties.

If you do not wish to cultivate in a single line varieties of peas with great development, that is to say with oars, netting with fine meshes and rowing net must be hung on the netting stretched beforehand between well-positioned posts. sunken. To stake row peas grown in two rows, you can install straight stems on each row and have them meet at their tops then tie them securely in pairs. Of course, the two rows must be parallel to use this method of staking.


It is not absolutely essential to prune the pea plants even if, it is true, this was customary among our ancestors.

Pests and diseases of peas

The black and yellow fly is a diptera which can infest peas in the spring. Despite its small size, since it does not exceed 2 mm in length, this pea leaf miner is a real plague. The leaf fly lays its eggs in May, which take only a few days to hatch, releasing larvae which burrow into the leaves and feed on the latter. The leaves become discolored and more or less silver sinuosities appear.

An inspection should be carried out regularly in order to quickly eliminate the affected leaves. As a preventive measure, we install as soon as possible insect nets on his plantations.

The bean weevil is a parasitic beetle peas. Its larvae, bruches, pierce the pods (pods) of dry peas before infiltrating the grains in order to feed on them. It is at the time of shelling that we notice its presence since the peas are wormy. These seeds should not be used for new seedlings. Here again, anti-insect nets are effective against this type of parasite.

We can also fear the gastropods as well as birds. Crushed oyster shells or sand spread all around the pea plants help fight slugs and snails, while nets or forcing veils prevent birds from pecking the grains at the very beginning of germination.

As to most common pea diseasesit’s about :

  • Powdery mildew, favored by hot and humid environments: it is treated with a fungicide suitable for vegetable garden products or, for a natural solution, with a mixture of water, sodium bicarbonate and soap from Marseille.
  • L’anthracnosevery common in dense and early plantations of peas, is transmitted by a parasite which attacks all the external parts of the plant.
  • The botrytis, which rots shoots, stems and pods, is favored by the combination of heat and humidity. Spraying with a fungicide should be done very early as a preventive measure. You can also inhibit the development of parasitic fungi with garlic manure rich in sulfur or horsetail rich in salicylic acid.

Hilling up the peas and then guiding them using staking are precautions to take as it helps to protect the plants against fungal diseases.

Harvest the peas

Harvesting the peas can be done from May or about three months after sowing as long as care has been taken to respect the different stages of maintenance. Harvesting must take place at the right time because many varieties become mealy et lose their flavor slightly sweet over time.

The shelling peas are to be harvested as soon as the pods are less colored and bulge because the grains have grown well. As for the mange-tout varieties, that is to say those that are not shelled, they are harvested early while the still young peas are the size of a small caliber marble.

The pea seeds that one cultivates in one’s vegetable garden can be preserved in order tobe sown if they are healthy. We can therefore reserve one or two plants for this purpose, if possible with good vigor, and we leave the pods to dry on their feet. As soon as they start to open, it’s time to pick them. All you have to do is extract the seeds and store them in the refrigerator for two days. They can then be placed in perfectly airtight jars where they will retain their germinative power for 36 months.

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