Peas are fun, fast, and can be sown at the first sign of spring. The pea shoots and climbing tendril-festooned vines keep you company throughout the many spring garden tasks--and provide beautiful flowers and delicious snappy crunchy bursts of summer's-finally-here.
Peas love cool weather, so sow them the first or second week of April. You can probably get away with plantings up to early May, but after this you're best off waiting until mid-summer (for a fall crop) or next spring.
Soak peas overnight, inoculate them, and then sow them in rows (or double rows, or even more) about one or two inches apart. Sow them deeply--between one and two inches below the surface. While you're waiting for the first tendrils to emerge through the moist spring soil (what joy!), be sure to provide a trellis up which the young plants will quickly climb. You can use string and 2x2 posts spaced every ten feet, or you can use chicken wire, or old bed frames salvaged from a dilapidating Catskills resort (that's how we've done it in the past).
Peas are damaged by little but perform less well in hot springs, such as the dry spell we had in April of 2008, when the Shawangunk Ridge erupted in flames. Peas are ready to harvest in late June and early to mid July. Sow snow peas in late July for a fall crop; other varieties rarely do well at that time of year.