Winter Peas Growing Guide

Pisum sativum subsp. arvense

Winter Peas

Crop Rotation Group

Legumes (Pea and Bean family) 


Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

A cool-season annual, winter field peas (Austrian peas), can tolerate heavy frost but are killed by temperatures below 0to -10F (-17 to -23C). In the US, they are rated as hardy to Zone 7.


When using winter field peas to improve very poor soil, mixing a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting will give better results.


Single Plants: 3" (10cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 3" (10cm) with 7" (20cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Poke holes in prepared seedbed and plant seeds 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) deep. Gaps between plants can be filled with an upright grain.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Primarily grown to increase soil nitrogen. Highly recommended as a winter cover crop to go before sweet corn because of its vigorous nitrogen-fixing activity in early spring. Very low weedy potential compared to other cover crops.


For maximum nitrogen gain, chop plants down and turn them under as soon as they begin to bloom. You also can pull up the plants and compost them.


Allow at least 3 weeks after turning under winter pea residue before direct-seeding vegetables, because the rotting vegetation can cause an increase in damping off of seedlings.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Winter Peas