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How Deep to Plant Purple Hull Peas? [3 Important Tips]

Do you want to plant purple hull pea seeds to get a handful of delicious peas for your summer cuisines but are unsure how?

Well, here is the trick!

Plant purple hull pea seeds about ½ inch (1cm) deep into the ground, spacing each seed 2-3 inches (5-7.6cm) apart, and leave approx. 18-24 inches (45 to 61 cm) between rows to allow enough space for the vines to spread.

When done right, the peas will sprout within a few weeks.

In this article, we will guide you on the correct way to plant purple hull pea seeds for the best harvest.

How to Plant Purple Hull Peas Seeds? [Step-By-Step Guide]

Did you know Purple hull peas or Southern peas are a type of legume widely enjoyed in Southern US for their tender texture and nutty flavor?

Widely eaten as boiled, steamed, sautéed, or added to soups and stews or salads, these are grown in spring to get fresh harvest in summer.

Like any other pea variety, sowing purple hull peas requires a cool spring temperature, fertile soil, and correct techniques.

purple hull peas
Sowing purple hull peas should always start with a fresh batch.

Otherwise, you will likely get dormant pea seeds that fail to sprout saplings.

Note: Seeds are best grown directly into the ground or soil rather than transplanted from a germination kit.

Step-by-Step Guide to Plant Purple Hull Peas

Before planting purple hull pea seeds, gather necessary items like a fresh packet of seeds (not older than two years), a trowel, a rake, a watering can, organic compost, and mulch.

1. Choose the Time

  • Purple hull pea seeds grow well in warm climates, typically in spring (March and April or as late as May).
  • Early spring boasts ideal soil temperature of around 55°F-75°F (12°C-24°C).

2. Choose the Planting Site

  • Select a sunny spot in your garden with at least 6-hours of direct sunlight.
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained and fertile, with a pH range of 5.8 to 7.5.

3. Prepare the Soil

  • Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches using a garden fork or tiller.
  • Add organic compost and mix well to encourage microbial activity in the soil.
  • Plan the area into rows about 24 inches apart.
  • Install stakes in the rows at 4 inches intervals; better to do it before sowing seeds.

4. Prepare the Seed

  • Soak the seeds overnight or for a few hours in warm water before planting.
  • Sow the seeds in the soil about one or a half inches deep, spacing them about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) apart.

5. Cover and Water

  • Cover the seeds with soil and top them with a few-inch mulch to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
  • Water immediately and lightly after planting to provide moisture for germination.
  • Remember to keep the soil moist but overly soggy.

6. Care and Maintenance

  • The seeds will germinate in about 7-14 days, during which you should keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Wait for the seedlings to reach about 3 inches before thinning them out.
  • Voila! The purple hull pea seeds will harvest between 55 and 70 days, depending on the variety.

How Deep to Plant Purple Hull Peas

It may be worth noting that purple hull pea seeds are not entirely photoblastic, meaning they do not require light during germination.

You would not need to bury them too shallowly as the seeds begin sprouting within a week after planting.

Therefore, sow them about 1 or ½ inch deep into the ground, covered with a fine layer of mulch to retain the warmth necessary for germination.

Remember, planting them too deep will take longer for seeds to sprout, resulting in delayed progress.

Here are a few methods to plant pea seeds for the best result.

1. Direct Sowing

  • The direct sowing is the same as mentioned above.
  • Sow the seeds in an inch or 1.5-inch hole and cover them with the soil and mulch.
  • Create straight and evenly spaced furrows to allow young sprouts to rise quickly.
Purple hull pea sowing
Purple hull pea sowing directly in the ground will only work when the temperature and lighting is correct.

2. Scattering Seeds

  • Scattering the seeds over the soil may also work and is often sought as a direct sowing alternative.
  • Evenly scatter the purple hull pea seeds over the prepared soil, aiming for a uniform distribution.
  • Using a rake, lightly till the soil to press the seeds into the soil, allowing for good soil-to-seed contact.

3. Indoor Germination

  • Peas are often grown in large batches; hence, indoor germination may not work well for purple hull peas. However, you can give it a try to start a small batch.
  • The sowing depth remains the same—burrow seeds at least one inch deep in the seed trays or pots using a seed-starting mix.
  • Keep the substrate evenly moist and use grow lights for at least 10 hours to germinate the seeds.

Once done, you can plant the sapling into the ground using the direct sowing method.

Why Are Purple Hull Peas Failing to Grow?

Purple hull pea seeds will sometimes fail to grow despite your best effort.

Here are some potential reasons why the pea seeds failed altogether.

  • Poor seed quality: Purple hull pea seeds older than two years, damaged, or of poor quality will fail to germinate. Check with your local supplier or nursery about the harvest dates before buying.
  • Improper planting depth: Planting them too shallow or deep can affect the germination process and speed, sometimes failing sprout.
  • Unsuitable soil conditions: These seeds require well-drained soil with organic matter and a pH between 5.5-7.0. Avoid using heavy clay or compacted garden soil.
  • Incorrect watering: The consistently dry or overly saturated soil will inhibit seed growth. The seeds may fail to absorb enough water to initiate growth.
  • Low soil temperature: Planting them too early in spring can inhibit growth. If the soil temperature remains constantly low, the seeds may remain dormant. Use indoor germination instead.
  • Pest or disease issues: Birds, rodents, or insects regularly feed on the seeds, preventing germination. Use a mesh or netting in such a case.
  • Competition from weeds: Growing pea seeds in the weedy ground is terrible as they will compete for resources.
  • Insufficient sunlight: The lack of sunlight is a significant concern for seedlings. Insufficient sunlight can hinder their growth and development altogether.

Editor’s Note

Germinating seeds is often the most challenging task, requiring a conducive growing environment and care.

If you are unsure if your batch of pea seeds will sprout, place 10-20 seeds in a single layer inside damp paper towels, kept inside a Ziploc.

Check for moisture and germination daily. If they sprout in seven days, they are suitable for sowing.