There are few greater joys than eating home-grown peas fresh from the pod. Peas thrive in cool, frost-free conditions, and will climb a trellis or tripod in the winter veggie patch. Peas are also nitrogen fixers and can be grown purely to improve soil.
Binomial name: Pisum sativum
Life Cycle: Annual
Pea varieties can be classified as shelling peas, which are grown for the peas inside the pods, or snow peas, which have flat pods with small seeds; the entire pod is eaten. Sugar snap peas fall in between these two types, with crunchy pods containing small peas.
Within each category, pea plants grow as either climbing or bush varieties. Climbing varieties grow as vines and need a support such as a trellis to grow up. Bush varieties can be self-supporting, especially if several plants are grown together.
When to Sow Pea Seeds
Pea is a cool season crop. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow pea in your climate.
Low humidity with most rainfall in winter; hot dry summers and cold winters. Some regions will experience frosts and snow. Includes coastal areas of south-eastern Australia and alpine areas of Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.
Pea plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.
Pea plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting.
Optional: Apply dolomite or lime to the soil at the recommended rate prior to planting. Lime increases the alkalinity (or pH) of soil, making nutrients more available to plants.
How to Sow Pea Seeds
Pea seeds grow best when they are sown directly into the garden.
Sow seeds directly in the garden 20mm deep and 5-10cm apart, with rows 40-60cm apart.
Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
Seeds should germinate in around 7-21 days at a soil temperature of 5-25°C.
Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.
How to Grow Peas
Pea plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a balanced fertiliser or one formulated for fruit and vegetables can be beneficial:
Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.
Climbing varieties only: Pea plants need to be staked for support. Use a sturdy stake or grow plants alongside a trellis or tripod. As plants grow, tie stems gently to the support using twine or plant ties. Make sure you have the support in place when you sow seed or transplant seedlings to avoid disturbing the plant’s roots later.
How to Harvest Peas
Peas should be ready to harvest in approximately 65-90 days.
Snow peas and sugar snap peas are ready to harvest when the pods are large enough to eat. Shelling peas are ready to harvest when the pods are full and plump but still crisp. Harvest pods by cutting with snips/secateurs. Harvest regularly to encourage more fruit. For shelling peas, break open the pods, remove the peas and discard the pods. Whole pods or shelled peas can be stored short term in the fridge. For longer term storage, shelled peas can be blanched and frozen.
Common Problems when Growing Peas
Like all plants, pea is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing pea plants:
Armyworms, cutworms and other caterpillars can all eat the inside of fruit, making it inedible. Young caterpillars burrow into soft fruit, leaving just a small telltale hole on the fruit’s skin. Monitor fruit and remove any caterpillars you see. If necessary use insect exclusion netting or fruit bags to physically protect the fruit, or spray with Dipel.
Possums, birds and other animals can ruin a large percentage of your harvest overnight. Physically exclude pests by using netting or cages, or try spraying plants with a pungent homemade spray made from garlic, fish oil or mustard.
Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores reproducing on the leaves of plants. First showing as white spots on leaves, affected areas areas can spread quickly to cover the entire leaf surface. While rarely fatal, powdery mildew can reduce yields. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves) to prevent spreading spores, allow good air flow between plants, remove affected leaves and if necessary spray with an appropriate fungicide or homemade spray. Read more here about powdery mildew here.
Pea beetles (Bruchus pisorum, also known as pea weevil) are 5mm long brown to grey beetles that emerge from hibernation in spring. Adult beetles feed on the leaves and flowers of plants. Female beetles lay single eggs on the outside of pea pods. Larvae then burrow into pea seeds to feed, emerging as adults around 40 days later. Monitor crops during spring and use insecticide spray if adult beetles are found; dispose of infested seed. Learn more about pea beetles here.
Rust (Puccinia sp.) is a fungal disease that causes brown to orange raised spots or patches to appear on foliage. Fungal spores are spread by wind or water to neighbouring plants, especially in temperatures of 10-20C and when humidity is high. To manage rust, space plants to avoid overcrowding, grow them in the recommended amount of light (eg full sun), do not over fertilise crops, remove dead plants and practice crop rotation. Read more about rust fungus here.
Slugs and snails are molluscs that feed on tender leaves and shoots, mostly at night, leaving slimy trails behind them. Control them by removing their hiding places, keeping free range poultry, collecting them by torchlight or by placing traps. Read more about slugs and snails here.
The term ‘The Seed Collection Pty Ltd’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is . Our ABN is 61614299697. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.
The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.
Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.
This website contains material which is owned by or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions.
All trademarks reproduced in this website, which are not the property of, or licensed to the operator, are acknowledged on the website.
Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
From time to time, this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).
Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of Australia.
We are committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
We may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.
What we collect
We may collect the following information:
name and job title
contact information including email address
demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers
What we do with the information we gather
We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:
Internal record keeping.
We may use the information to improve our products and services.
We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided. You will have the option to opt-out of all non-essential email.
Any personal information which you supply will not be divulged to a third party unless that third party is integral to the purpose for which you gave us your information or where required by law.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
Controlling your personal information
You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:
If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us.
If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible and we will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.