If you’re growing peas in your garden, you may be wondering do peas need a trellis? The answer is yes- even when the packet says no!
Peas are a vining crop that puts out tendrils that will cling and climb as they grow.
There are many different types of peas- snow peas, shell peas, and sugar snap peas, to name a few. And within those types there are tons of different cultivars and varieties.
Depending on the type you choose to grow, you may see things like requires staking or does not require staking on the back of your seed packet.
What does this mean and do peas really need a trellis?
Do Peas Need a Trellis?
Is this your first year growing peas? Learn more about How to Grow Peas before learning about trellises!
What is Trellising?
Before we get into whether peas need a trellis or not, let’s first talk about what a trellis is.
Trellising is a technique used in gardening and farming to support plants as they grow.
This can be done in lots of different ways by using stakes, strings, wires, or other materials to create a structure that will provide support for the plant as it grows upward.
Along with providing support, trellising also keeps your plants off the ground which helps keep them healthy and makes harvesting easier.
Why Do Peas Need a Trellis?
The answer is always YES.
Peas are vines that climb and put out tendrils that wind around supports as they grow.
If left unsupported, the vines will sprawl out on the ground and become a tangled mass as the pea plants will try to climb and wind around each other and anything else- such as weeds.
If this happens the individual plants won’t get enough sunlight, the flowers can be hard for pollinators to reach, and harvesting is near impossible. It’s also a recipe for diseases like powdery mildew since there is no air circulation around the pea plants.
A trellis provides the perfect environment for peas to climb and thrive—it provides stability so they don’t sprawl out while still allowing them access to plenty of sunlight and air circulation. Plus, it makes harvesting a breeze since all the plants are growing upwards, the pods are easily accessed.
What about if your pea variety says it’s a dwarf type that doesn’t need staking? I don’t agree with that- I think all peas need staking.
Even if the vines are only 10 inches tall, that’s still fairly long for a wiry vine that’s planted close to lots of other 10 inch tall vines. They can still make a mess and cause all sorts of problems.
You won’t need a very tall trellis, and you can probably get by with using sticks and string, but they will still need something to grow up.
Trellis Ideas for Peas
Making a trellis for peas isn’t hard or complicated. In general, pea plants don’t get very heavy (at least compared to plants such as tomatoes), so your trellis doesn’t have to be too sturdy.
Here are a couple ideas for pea trellises:
Posts and String: This is one of the easiest trellises to make for peas, you’re basically making a fence out of string.
All you need is some sort of post: tpost, rebar, bamboo, recycled wood post, etc. and some tomato twine.
Put posts at least every 2 feet apart in your beds. Tie one end of the string to the first post and stretch it tight down the bed.
Go back and forth down the row, wrapping the string until you reach the top of your posts.
Netting: You can also purchase netting to attach to posts instead of string. You can use flexible netting or something like chicken wire.
Fencing: If you have extra fencing or panels lying around, they can make the perfect trellis for growing peas up!
Sticks and String: If you are growing dwarf peas that don’t get very tall, you can use study sticks from around the yard and use string to connect and make a trellis.
Tomato Cage: Not growing a lot of peas? Plant them around the base of a tomato cage and you have a ready made trellis.
Bamboo Teepee: Similar to posts and string trellis, you can also place bamboo poles in a teepee shape and then wrap string around it for an easy trellis. I use this one a lot as a cucumber trellis!
Whether you are growing sugar snap peas or shelling peas, having a trellis in place is essential in order to get the most out of your crop!