Southern Peas can be planted from May to August, as soon as the soil has warmed to about 65ºF. Most varieties are ready to harvest at the green pea stage in about sixty days and at the dry stage in seventy five to one hundred days. Therefore in most areas, Southern Peas really should be planted in May or June.
Plant four to six seeds per foot, 3/4 to 1-1/4 inches deep in rows twenty to thirty-six inches apart. Control weeds early in the season with shallow cultivation. Later the peas will shade out most weeds. Avoid cultivation after the plants begin to bloom. Irrigation is normally not necessary; southern peas are renowned for their ability to grow and produce under harsh conditions. As a legume, they have the ability to fix their own nitrogen from the air so planting in too rich of soil or fertilizing can cause the plants to keep growing (running) and with pod production greatly affected. Southern peas are self-pollinating with insects, as well as wind, being responsible for moving the pollen to achieve fertilization.
There are several types, groups or categories of Southern Peas. These include:
Field peas - Vigorous, vine-type plants with smaller seeds. Example: 'Red Ripper'.
Purplehull (Purple Hull) peas - The pods in this group are either completely purple or exhibit some purple coloring at the tips. Example: 'Big Boy Purplehull', 'CT Pinkeye Purplehull', 'Coronet', 'Early Scarlet', 'Knuckle Purple', 'Mississippi Purple', 'Pinkeye Purple Hull BVR' and 'Quickpick Pinkeye'.
For more information, click here for a PDF document on growing Southern Peas.