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Sowing and propagating peas - what you need to know

22.03.2021  /  Reading time: 5 minutes

The pea is a real eye-catcher in the vegetable garden with its delicate tendrils and butterfly flowers. But that's not all: the legumes contain lots of fiber, protein and minerals and are therefore super healthy. Reason enough to grow peas in your garden or on your balcony. Find out everything you need to know about sowing and propagating peas in this article.

This article contains:

  1. Pea plants - location & soil
  2. Sowing peas: how to sow them
  3. When to sow peas?
  4. Can you still sow peas in July?
  5. Peas - sow pea seeds indoors or outdoors?
  6. Tips for propagating and planting out peas

Quick Overview

Sowing peas - timing

  • Most varieties are sown between March and June at the latest
  • Peas tolerate direct sowing better
  • If you do want to preplant your peas, do so two weeks before the planting date

Can you still sow peas in July?

  • Most varieties are sown by June at the latest
  • However, you can sow the variety'Zuccola' directly into the bed until the beginning of July

Sowing peas - spacing

  • Sowing depth: 5 cm
  • Row spacing: 40 cm
  • Planting distance: 5 cm
  • Increase the planting distance to 10 cm if you are preplanting and planting out young plants

Pea plants - location & soil

Ideally, peas grow in a sunny, airy spot with loose soil. Heavy loam and clay soils, as well as particularly wet soils, are less suitable for peas. They prefer a humusy, finely crumbled soil structure with good water retention.

Sowing peas: how to sow them

Sowing peas is very simple, as the large seeds are easy to dose. The seeds are typically sown directly. Place the seeds in water the evening before sowing so that the plants emerge more reliably.

Make rows 40 cm apart, the seed grooves should be about 5 cm deep . Then place the pea seeds 3 - 5 cm apart in the seed furrow and press the soil down a little.

Birds like to scrape peas out of the soil after the first sowing. In the early season, the food supply for them is still very limited, so the tasty seeds are just what they need. However, the little thieves can be kept away from the peas in the soil relatively easily by covering them with wire mesh, fleece or netting.

Just sprouted peas in the bed
Until the seeds germinate, you should protect them with a fleece. They are on the menu of hungry birds! Image by Mirka on Pixabay

When to sow peas?

Depending on the variety, peas are sown at different times. Palmer peas are more robust and can be sown as early as March at temperatures below 5 °C. Marrowfat and sweet peas are somewhat more sensitive and can therefore only be sown from the beginning of April when the soil temperature is above 8 °C.

Overview: Planting distances for peas

  • Sowing depth: 5 cm
  • Row spacing: 40 cm
  • Planting distance: 5 cm

Can you still sow peas in July?

The optimum germination temperature is between 10 and 20 °C, depending on the variety. You can sow peas outdoors at soil temperatures of around 8 °C. Pea seeds therefore prefer moderate temperatures for germination and are generally not sown in midsummer.

Image by Hundva on Pixabay

Most pea varieties are sown earlier in the year between March and May, but usually in June at the latest. There are quite a few varieties that you can still sow until the end of June:

  • ,Alderman'
  • ,Spring Blush'
  • ,Delikata'
  • ,Early Onward'
  • ,Grandera'

However, the varieties'Zuccola' and'Gloriosa' are still suitable for sowing until the beginning of July and can still be sown now. Alternatively, you can wait a little longer and sow peas as a catch crop. For this, you can use winter peas that you can sow between August and October, such as the 'Sima' variety.

Peas - sow pea seeds indoors or outdoors?

You can give your plants a little head start by propagating them. In general, however, you should sow peas directly, as they will grow more robustly. In addition, legumes can only enter into symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria later if they are pre-grown and planted out. This reduces their effect as green manure.

You can read more about preplanting or direct sowing here. Here you can get an overview of which plants can be grown in advance and which you prefer to sow directly.

Image by ramszei on Pixabay

Tips for propagating and planting out peas

Only in harsh locations, where the first sowing can only be started late, is it worth pre-cultivating the plants two weeks in advance. Multi-pot trays filled with potting compost are suitable for pre-cultivation. The soil should be kept moist during germination, but not too wet. Depending on the size of the pots, two seeds can be sown per pot. As soon as the seedlings have developed a good root ball, you can plant them in rows 10 cm apart. As pre-grown plants are generally more susceptible to diseases and pests, you should never plant them too close together.

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Marie studied agricultural science at the University of Hohenheim. Her main focus is on ecological agriculture and permaculture. She writes articles for Fryd to educate people about ecological interrelationships and alternatives to current land use. Our current economic systems, especially in agriculture, have numerous negative effects on nature and destabilize our ecosystems. We need a great diversity in our gardens and beds again to counteract the extinction of species. Every gardener can contribute to creating and maintaining habitats and food for a wide variety of creatures. With her articles, she would like to pass on her experience in dealing with natural systems and give people the opportunity to contribute to a stable ecosystem and thus also to securing our livelihood.

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