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You can easily save pea seed to plant next year! Here’s how…
Who doesn’t love to eat fresh garden peas? There’s nothing like snapping a ripe pea pod right off the vine, opening the pod and grabbing a handful of peas to eat.
Peas are so easy to grow and it’s also really easy to start seed saving to sow the following year.
We grow lots of sweet peas so we will have lots for eating later on; they are one of our favourite vegetables. And that’s what you should grow too – your family’s favourite vegetables! Anything from green beans and tomatoes to snap peas and snow peas! Fresh veggies are great for soups, salads, stir fries, and other meals.
You can even grow your own herbs for fresh flavors in your favorite dishes. That way you won’t have to buy them during the winter months. But we like peas especially!
Blanching and then freezing bags of garden peas to enjoy during the winter is a great way to preserve peas. The peas will have that freshly picked flavour even in the dead of winter.
Here’s another great idea – saving your own sweet pea seeds. So whether you grow enough peas only for fresh eating or lots of rows of garden peas so you can preserve some for later, always remember to grow extra pea plants so you will have enough to save pea seed at the end of the gardening season. Here’s how to never buy pea seed again!
How to Save Pea Seed
First, be sure you use heirloom seed. You can buy heirloom seeds online, through an online garden nursery or at the local garden center. Plant your peas (here’s everything you need to know about how to grow peas) in good soil.
Peas are a great choice if this is your first attempt at seed savers, since peas will produce their seed the same season they’re planted and are also largely self-pollinators! No need to worry about potential cross-pollination. Plus, peas are easy to take care of and can also fix nitrogen levels in the soil.
You will need to have trellis or fencing for them to grow up as they love to send out little tendrils to grab onto whatever they can find, in order to grow taller. You can also use chicken wire. After your pods fill with peas and you have started harvesting, just leave some pods on the vines to keep growing. These will become your seed for next year.
What’s the Best Way to Dry Pea Seed?
There are a few ways to dry pea seed. The very best way is to do it naturally. The ideal thing would be to just let the peas dry naturally on the vine in your garden. They can stay on the pea shoots for months. When they become dry and brown, carefully pick off the mature pods into a small bucket or basket.
Transfer to a paper envelope, seal and store in a cool place until next year. Remember to label them with the variety name.
Tip: Keep an eye on the pods! You don’t want them to mature so far along that the pod starts to split and the peas begin to spill on the ground.
Sometimes letting them dry on the vine just won’t work for your situation. Maybe you’re trying to free up garden space. Maybe a later maturing vegetable needs to go in right in the spot where the peas were growing.
Peas are such a nice early season veggie that you CAN easily plant something after the pea harvest.
Can I Dry Fresh Peas?
Yes you sure can! When we aren’t able to just leave the vines on the pea fencing, here’s how we save our seed. I pick all the pods that look fairly dry and also pick some that are still green but starting to dry out.
I bring them in the house and spread the pods out on cookie sheets. Then I give them a stir with my fingers when I walk by. Instead of cookie sheets, you could just use a shallow bowl or even a basket.
Find something to use where you can spread the pea pods out without them piling on top of each other. Keep the pea pods in a single layer to help keep the pods away from each other. You don’t want them touching each other.
Days later, here is what those pea pods look like. You can see how dry the pods are getting. Just keep letting them dry until the pods are completely dry.
Then, shell the pods. I just do this by hand, but if you had a lot to shell, why not thresh them instead? Just put the pods in a pillow case and smack it against a wall. This will help separate the peas from the pod. Remove the pods and save the seed.
Just because the pea pods looked dry, that doesn’t always mean the actual peas inside are thoroughly dried enough to put away for storage.
Here are the peas after threshing; they are not dry enough yet. So, I will leave them here on the cookie sheet longer and let them dry more.
This could take a couple of weeks and you are always better to let them sit out longer rather than a shorter amount of time. It’s OK if they are very pale green or even, no longer green at all.
Then they get put into a seed envelope, labelled with their name and the year the seed was gathered. I keep my seeds downstairs in the cool basement. Next year, I bring them up and plant them in the garden!
Start to save pea seeds this year and never have to buy more again!
This variety of shell pea is called Bounty and they taste wonderful, whether eaten fresh or frozen. Never buy pea seed again – save your own pea seed instead! The only thing to remember is to buy heirloom seed in order to start saving your own seeds.
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Originally published 2017; last updated October 2022