Peas are cool weather plants, hardy down to 20 degrees F (28 degrees F when flowering). They prefer mild temperatures (60 to 75 degrees F) and don't usually set pods above 80 degrees F. In areas with hot summers they are grown as a spring or fall crop (fall planting presents its own problems however).

As a cool weather spring crop they can be out of the ground by June, leaving time for a warm weather crop to succeed them.

Water Needs

Moderate

Peas should get about one inch of water per week. In cool spring weather peas will usually get enough water from rainfall so you don't have to irrigate. Watering at this time may encourage mildew and can actually reduce yields. If the soil starts to get dry at any time you must start watering. This is particularly important from the time the flowers appear, as water is needed for pod formation and maturation.

Fertilizer Needs

Light

Low nitrogen. Low potassium. Low phosphorous.

Peas aren't very hungry plants.

Watering, regularly

Water, 0.5 inch(es), regularly, 2 times a week

Peas should get about one inch of water per week. In cool spring weather they will usually get enough water from rainfall so you don’t have to irrigate. Watering at this time may encourage mildew and can actually reduce yields. If the soil starts to get dry at any time you must start watering. This is particularly important from the time the flowers appear, as water is needed for pod formation and maturation.

Weeding, after sowing

after sowing, every 3 weeks

Weed the young plants carefully (preferably by hand), to avoid damaging their shallow roots. Older plants are usually vigorous enough (and tall enough) to overwhelm most weeds.

Side Dressing, after planting

Mulch, 2 inch(es), after planting, 1 time

Optional: Mulch is helpful to keep down weeds, cools the soil and conserves soil moisture.

Side Dressing, before flowering

Compost tea, 5 gallon(s) per 100 sq. ft., before flowering, 1 time

The young plants may benefit from a feed of compost tea or liquid kelp (used as directed).

Support

At planting

It is a good idea to erect your supporting structure before you plant your seed, so you don't disturb the young plants later. Whatever support you decide upon, it must be sufficiently tall and strong to support the plants. The tangled full size vines and their load of peas can weigh quite a lot (especially when wet or when the wind is blowing).

Pole peas climb by means of slender tendrils and can't grow up thick poles. This means they need a different kind of support from beans. A pea tendril will take about an hour to curl around a slender twig. Chicken wire (or any stiff wire) also works well, either as a fence or a cage of some kind. You can also use a trellis, which can later be used for cucumbers or melons. If you are creative, you can rig up something from poles and string or netting.

Large tomato cages (which aren't needed so early in the season) can work well with Bush Peas.

In England, peas were traditionally supported on stems from hazel shrubs, but any brushwood will do (fruit tree prunings are good). They were trimmed to a flat two dimensional plane and the butt ends were pushed firmly into the ground.