How to Presprout Pea Seeds

By Willi Galloway
eHow Contributing Writer

Peas are one of the earliest vegetables you can grow because they germinate in cold soil and tolerate late frosts. The only problem is that big pea seeds take awhile to germinate and that makes them prone to rotting in cool, wet spring soils. Presprouting your peas indoors before you plant—and growing them in well-drained soil—is an easy way to increase pea germination rates and improve your yield of tender, tasty, sugary sweet pods.


  1. Step 1

    Pour a packet of pea seed into a shallow dish. Sort through the pea seeds and remove any that are broken or cracked.

  2. Step 2

    Fill the dish with water until the seeds are covered. Then, wet three layers of paper towels and place them over the seeds.

  3. Step 3

    Check the seeds daily for signs of germination. Within a week to 10 days the pea seeds should begin to crack open and small, fleshy roots will emerge.

  4. Step 4

    Prepare the garden soil prior to planting the presprouted seeds. Raised beds are ideal because they drain well and warm up more quickly than adjacent soil, but a regular garden bed works, too. Start by spreading a 1-inch layer of compost over the soil and digging it in with a spade. Rake the soil smooth and install your pea trellis.

  5. Step 5

    Bring the presprouted peas outside and plant them 1-inch deep (with the root pointing down) and 2 to 3 inches apart in rows that are 2 feet apart. Pea seedlings should pop up through the soil in a matter of days.

  6. Step 6

    Sprinkle the soil with an organic slug and snail bait, such as Sluggo, to prevent these slimy pests from chowing down on emerging seedlings. Newly planted pea seeds and tender seedlings are also irresistible to birds. Cover your pea bed with bird netting to protect your crop, being sure to weigh down the edges with bricks to keep birds from sneaking in. Remove the netting when the peas are 2 inches high or their vines will become hopelessly tangled in the netting.

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