• Krista Green

A Complete Guide to Growing Peas From Seed

Updated: 3 days ago

Peas are an easy and rewarding vegetable to grow in your backyard in-ground or raised bed vegetable garden. They are a hardy, cold tolerant plant, making them a great addition for the zone 3 garden. They grow to maturity quickly and are often one of the first crops to be harvested from backyard gardens.

Peas are always the first veggie on the list of what my kids want to plant in their garden plots! Because pea seeds are one of the larger vegetable seeds, they are easy to plant and space, making them the perfect vegetable to have your kids plant themselves.

Garden Pea Varieties

Pea varieties include snow peas, snap peas and English shelling peas. Snap peas are a cross between English peas and snow peas and have a crisp, edible shell. Snow peas have an edible shell as well but tend to take longer to mature than snap peas and are not as heat tolerant.

Snow peas growing up a wire trellis in a raised bed in zone 3 Calgary Alberta Canada.  Tips on how to grow peas from seed and how to plant peas.
Snow peas growing in my raised bed backyard vegetable garden.

Do Peas Need a Trellis?

Peas come in both tall vining and dwarf (or bush) varieties. Tall pea varieties are meant to grow vertically on a trellis, growing upwards as high as 4 to 6 feet. Securing such a tall trellis can be inconvenient to some, especially in our strong Alberta winds. If you wish to use a shorter trellis or no trellis at all, look for dwarf pea varieties which grow between 18 inches to two feet in height.

Growing Peas in a Pot

If growing peas in a pot or container select a dwarf or bush pea variety. These look beautiful trailing down over the edge of the pot or you can use a small trellis, like a tomato cage, to secure upright. Try to choose a pot nearly as deep as your pea will grow tall to support plant growth.

How to Trellis Peas (Pea Trellis Ideas)

Growing vertically can be a great way to grow more in the vegetable garden space you have available as well as making peas easier to pick once ripe. An easy to make pea trellis can be made from metal "T" posts and attaching chicken, stucco or hog wire with zip ties. If you are using raised beds, 2 x 4s can be attached to the sides of the beds as posts and wire stapled onto them for a permanent pea fence. Other metal or wooden fan trellises can be used to grow peas vertically and work especially well if you only intend to grow a small number of peas.

Garden peas growing up a wire trellis in a raised bed in zone 3 Calgary Alberta Canada.  Tips on how to grow peas from seed and how to plant peas.
My permanent pea trellises at the back of my raised beds.

When to Plant Peas

If you have read other posts of mine, you will know that at one time I used to plant all of my garden the third week in May, right around my last frost date. Since then, I have learned through the advice of seasoned gardeners, along with experimenting myself, that cold hardy crops can be planted up to a month prior to last expected frost with great success. (Find my full planting schedule