How and When to Plant Peas in the UK

Home-grown peas are relatively easy to grow and, if sown in batches, can be harvested all summer. But do you know when to plant peas in the UK, and how to grow peas? This five-minute guide will give you all the key info you need.

6 March 2024

In risottos, in soups to keep out the winter chill, as a side to your fish and chips, or even straight out of the pod, growing peas is an enjoyable hobby for garden newbies and experienced enthusiasts alike.

So let’s discover when to plant garden peas in the UK to ensure a bountiful and regular harvest! If you want to know how to grow peas in the UK, our guide will cover all the important points you need.

When to Sow Peas in the UK

Sowing peas into the soil (Credit: temmuzcan via Getty Images)

The best time to sow peas in the UK generally spans from March to June, allowing for a harvesting period from June to August. This timeframe can vary slightly depending on your specific location within the UK, as well as the prevailing weather conditions each year.

Peas prefer cooler weather, so early sowing is encouraged to avoid the hotter summer months, with the possibility of starting them in a greenhouse or under cloches if the early spring weather is still too cold.

The Different Types of Peas You Can Grow at Home

Fresh garden peas on a wooden background. (Credit: Ls9907 via Getty Images)

Knowing when to plant garden peas in the UK varies due to the notoriously unpredictable weather. For gardeners eager to get an early start, there are varieties of peas known for their ability to germinate in cooler temperatures. This means you can extend the growing season.


Feltham First

This is a popular, high-yield choice for early sowing, often recommended for its hardiness and ability to withstand cooler temperatures. It can sometimes be sown as early as late February or early March, under cover if necessary, to protect from extreme cold.


Another variety that’s well-suited for early sowing, known for its cold tolerance, small, well-filled pods, and early cropping.

Kelvedon Wonder

While it’s a slightly later variety, this popular dwarf pea is still considered an ‘early’ and is popular for its flavour and productivity.

Douce Provence

This variety can be sown in autumn in milder areas or early spring elsewhere, providing flexibility for gardeners looking to extend their pea-growing season. It can also be sown as a maincrop to extend the harvest.

It’s worth noting that peas are relatively frost-hardy, and early varieties are bred to germinate in cooler soils, making them ideal for early sowing. However, always check the seed packet for the best sowing times and care instructions specific to the variety you choose. Additionally, using cloches or fleece can help protect early sowings from frost and encourage germination in cooler temperatures.

Maincrop Peas

Maincrop peas are varieties sown later in the season – around late March – to provide a harvest between late summer to autumn. They typically have a longer growing period compared to early or second early varieties and are valued for their yield and quality. Some of the most popular maincrop pea varieties in the UK include:

Hurst Green Shaft

This variety is highly regarded for its sweet flavour and high yield. The peas are packed tightly in long pods, and the plants are known for their robust growth and productivity.


Another favourite among gardeners, it’s known for its disease resistance and sweet taste. It produces a good crop of large pods, each containing numerous peas.


This is a traditional variety that can grow quite tall, requiring support. It produces large pods with a high number of sweet-tasting peas.


This variety is appreciated for its strong growth and extremely high yield. It produces large pods with delicious peas, and it’s known for good disease resistance.


A more recent variety, ‘Boogie’ is known for its large pods and sweet peas. It also boasts good resistance to Fusarium wilt, making it a popular choice for many gardeners.
Now you know when to plant peas in the UK, let’s find out how to grow them.

Growing Peas

Pea pod on a branch, growing among green leaves. (Credit: Andrei Metelev via Getty Images)

When we’re discussing how to grow peas in the UK, gardeners will know they’re relatively easy to cultivate and provide delicious, sweet pods. Follow our step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Choosing Your Variety

Decide whether you want to grow early, second early, or maincrop peas, based on your desired harvesting time. If you want to extend your harvest, look at a mix of varieties with different harvest times.


Choose a sunny to partially shaded site with well-drained soil. Prepare the soil in autumn or early spring by digging over and incorporating plenty of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and structure. If possible, ensure the pH of your soil is neutral, between 6.0 and 7.5.


Sow your peas directly in the ground at a depth of about 2.5 – 5 cm (1- 2 inches) and a distance of 5 – 8 cm (2 – 3 inches) apart in rows. Space the rows around 45 cm (18 inches) apart. If you want to start early, peas can be sown in pots or trays under cover and then transplanted outdoors when the seedlings are sturdy enough and the risk of severe frost has passed.

Support, Care & Maintenance

Peas need support to grow well. Install supports such as pea netting, trellis, or twiggy sticks at the time of planting to avoid damaging the roots later. Keep the soil moist, especially during dry periods, but avoid waterlogging. Spreading mulch around the plants helps to retain moisture, suppress weeds and keeps the soil cool. If you think you may have a problem with birds, you can cover your pea plants with netting.

Pests & Diseases

In the early weeks, watch out for mice (who like to eat the seeds), as well as slugs and snails. Once the plants are well established, they usually offer trouble-free growth. Pea moths, especially the females, like to lay their eggs on pea plants, and pea weevils may cause notches in the leaves but the damage is usually cosmetic and unlikely to affect the crop.


Harvest peas regularly to encourage more pods to develop, and for the sweetest, freshest flavour, pick your peas just before you plan to eat them! Early varieties can be harvested around May to July, while maincrop varieties are usually ready from July to September.

Give Peas a Chance

Close-up of peas and pea pods exhibiting their vibrant green colours. (Credit: Martin Barraud via Getty Images)

Knowing when to plant peas in the UK and how to grow peas can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially for kids and novices. By sowing them at the right time and following our guide for planting and maintenance, you can enjoy a harvest of perfect peas!


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