Amazing how quickly this winter seems to be drifting by. It may be the unusually warm weather that we are enjoying here in St. Louis due to the Canada air being contained to the upper Midwest. I will take it as I hate cold.
So to the peas. I plant mine in three areas that I use for this purpose. I have slightly over 40 foot of trellis for these plants. Two are formed in a U-shape and one is a square. Peas like to climb and produce so much better than just clinging together in a tangle of stems. Two of my spots have 50" high wire mesh as a support. This is attached to 2" x 2" boards on one of them and on metal fence posts on the other. It doesn't matter how it is supported as long as it is sturdy. The peas will get quite heavy in late May to early June when they start producing and can bend a weak support.
They don't need to be very deep in the ground. Follow instructions on the package for depth. I plant them as close as two inches apart. Some will not sprout but even if they all sprout the climbing method allows for plenty of growth. I like to cover the rows after I plant to contain the warmth from the ground. This will aid sprouting. Black polyethylene trash bags can be cut up to make a long thin layer which is pegged or weighted in place. I check the peas fairly regularly after a week or so and remove the plastic when I see the first sprouts. Watering is usually not needed due to the spring time moisture. A quick soak of the seeds, an hour or so, in a cup of water will also help them sprout. I do not bother to inoculate the seeds and see this as a waste of time and money.
RABBITS love the stalks. They will eat them to the ground unless you protect the crop. I surround mine with chicken wire and hardware cloth that I have accumulated over the years. They grow in the same spot year after year and I have yet to incur disease problems with the crop.
I buy the long sugar pea seed. Snow peas . Not the short podded type. They produce long slim peas. Most of them are picked around 2 to 3" long just as the pods are showing. If the pod is allowed to develop the peas get tough and stringy. Early picking is the key here.
The crop will grow slowly in March and April but explode in May and start producing peas in late May. For two to three weeks I will fill small plastic shopping bags every few days. The vines will brown out in Mid June when the heat comes. They make a great addition to any soil so recycle the vines back into the soil.
Once they are picked try to avoid eating them all right after washing them :) They are so sweet and tasty. Get out your favorite stir fry recipes and enjoy :) These also freeze quite nicely in zip locks or heat seal able bags for future use.