QUESTION: How do you prepare soil for peas? What do I add to the soil? -Tammy R.
ANSWER: Choose a sunny location to plant your peas in. Peas can grow in partial shade, but they will not grow as fast, and the peas they produce will not be as sweet or as abundant as they would be if grown in a location that receives lots of sun each day. The site you choose also needs to have well-draining soil. One of the only issues that gardeners encounter when growing peas is seed rot. Don’t plant your pea seeds in wet areas where the soil doesn’t drain well, as your pea seeds may end up rotting before they get a chance to germinate. If necessary, raise the beds up to six or eight inches high to provide a well-draining site for your peas.
Next, turn over the beds, while adding in two to three inches of compost or manure. If using manure, try to select a manure with low nitrogen levels, as excessive nitrogen will cause peas to focus on foliage growth instead of on producing flowers and pods. Add wood ashes and bonemeal to the soil before planting to boost phosphorus and potassium levels in your soil without raising the nitrogen levels at the same time. For tall and vining pea varieties, place poles or trellises in the appropriate areas at the time of planting. Even the young tendrils of pea plants need to have something in place to climb on immediately after emerging from the soil.