The way to Develop Supersweet Snap Peas


It’s all the time a fantastic day once I decide the primary snap peas. Plenty of the harvest by no means makes it to the kitchen. Snap peas—which snap like inexperienced beans and look and develop similar to common shelling peas—have one scrumptious distinction: The pods are as tender and candy because the peas inside. I may say I develop snap peas as a result of they yield extra meals per sq. foot than shelling peas. However that’s not it. I really benefit from the eat-it-all peas within the pod, whether or not I’m snacking on them within the backyard, tossing them with pasta, or that includes them in a soup.

Though one thing like snap peas grew in the US greater than 100 years in the past, most gardeners didn’t learn about them till Calvin Lamborn developed ‘Sugar Snap’ within the late Seventies. Lamborn, a pea breeder for Rogers Seed Firm, crossed a sugar pea that had a skinny, twisted, however edible pod with a shelling pea that had an undesirably thick pod. The outcome was a pea with a spherical pod and a crisp, tender, juicy texture. In 1979, ‘Sugar Snap’ was voted the All-America Alternatives winner for the very best new vegetable, and it has been one of the crucial fashionable greens to develop ever since. Different forms of snap peas have been launched through the years, however ‘Sugar Snap’ continues to be my favourite. It has the sweetest taste of all of the snap peas, and it additionally provides an extended, considerable harvest, starting about 10 weeks after sprouting.


Snap Pea Rising Fundamentals

  • Dig 1 inch of compost or manure into the beds.
  • Plant early in spring, as quickly because the soil is workable.
  • Inoculate seeds with rhizobia micro organism.
  • Sow the seeds 1 to 2 inches aside and ½ inch deep.
  • Harvest when the pods are 3 inches lengthy and plump.

sugar snap peas on the vine
‘Sugar Snap’ has all the time been tops in style. Although different candy forms of snap peas, equivalent to ‘Sugar Ann’ and ‘Sugar Bon’, have been developed since ‘Sugar Snap’ first got here out within the late Seventies, pea growers nonetheless insist that ‘Sugar Snap’ has the very best taste.

When to plant snap peas

Seed packets inform us to plant peas within the spring as quickly because the soil may be labored—when all of the frost is gone from the backyard beds and the soil isn’t too soggy. I might add these warnings: It’s important to plant peas early, as a result of the vines cease flowering when daytime temperatures keep above 80°F. Alternatively, if the soil is just too chilly and moist whenever you plant, the seeds can rot earlier than they sprout. Pea seeds germinate greatest when the soil is between 50°F and 75°F.

I purpose to plant in mid-April, about six weeks earlier than the last-frost date in my space. I sow the seeds over a two- to three-week interval for a pleasant lengthy harvest. If April is chilly, although, the primary vegetation sulk, and all my plantings start bearing about the identical time. Snap peas aren’t that specific about soil. I add compost or rotted manure yearly, shoveling about 1 inch on high of the soil and dealing it in.

bag of inoculant
Give them a bit of inoculant. To extend yields, coat your pea seeds with particular micro organism earlier than you plant.

The way to enhance snap pea output

Particular soil micro organism referred to as rhizobia reside in a symbiotic relationship with pea roots and assist the plant extract nitrogen from the air. Though snap peas will develop with out these micro organism, you can provide them a lift and enhance yields by inoculating them with rhizobia at planting time. You’ll be able to often purchase the micro organism by the identical catalog from which you order the peas. Dampen the seeds, roll them within the powder, and plant as traditional. Some folks say you must inoculate solely the primary time you plant peas in a specific spot. Others say yields enhance sufficient to justify utilizing pea inoculant yearly. I take advantage of it yearly.

The way to trellis snap peas

I develop my ‘Sugar Snap’ peas on a easy trellis system, which runs down the middle of a raised mattress. The heavy, pea-laden vines develop as much as 7 toes tall, and so they want a considerable assist to maintain them from blowing over. Whereas it takes a bit of further work to arrange a trellis, as I grow old I recognize the consolation of not having to reap each vegetable squatting, crouching, or bending over.

You don’t want a trellis to develop some forms of snap peas. Good-tasting dwarf varieties, like ‘Sugar Ann’ or ‘Sugar Bon’,
require little or no assist to carry themselves off the bottom. Their vines develop 18 to 24 inches tall and bear 2½-inch-long pods about 60 days after planting. The pods are prepared to reap seven to 10 days sooner than ‘Sugar Snap’ peas.

planting peas on trellises
Nicely-spaced, trellised snap peas can share their area. Plant the peas down the middle of a mattress, 1 to 2 inches aside. Offering a trellis for the shoots to climb leaves loads of room on each side of the plot for different crops.

prop dwarf varities with sticks
Prop up dwarf varieties with minimize brush or stiff grass. You need to use absolutely anything, together with the bamboo-like stalks of decorative miscanthus grass within the backyard above, to maintain the brief vegetation from blowing over within the wind.

Sow in bands, not in rows

I’ve discovered that peas assist preserve one another propped up if they’re planted shut collectively. For dwarf varieties (those who develop lower than 3 toes tall), I scatter the seeds an inch or two aside in a 6-inch-wide band and canopy them with half an inch of soil. As they develop, the vegetation’ tendrils wrap round one another, and the entire clump stays off the bottom.

I plant tall peas, like ‘Sugar Snap’, in a 3-inch-wide band under the trellis. As soon as the peas’ tendrils catch the underside of the netting, they’ll clamber to the highest on their very own.

Concentrate on snap pea pests

I preserve the soil across the pea vines evenly moist, however I don’t mulch as a result of that encourages slugs, that are keen on defoliating the vines. My snap peas haven’t been bothered a lot by every other pests or illnesses. The one downside I’ve had is aphids late within the selecting season. They’re rapidly dispatched with a sprig of the hose or insecticidal cleaning soap.

When to reap snap peas

By mid to late spring, the pods are about 3 inches lengthy and able to decide. Snap peas are at their greatest when the pods are effectively rounded and full of plump peas however earlier than they begin to yellow or fade. As soon as the pods attain this stage, it’s greatest to choose them each different day as a result of the extra you decide, the extra you’ll get all through the season.

swollen pods indiciate the peas are ready to pick
They’re prepared to choose when the pods swell. If you happen to decide them too quickly, you’ll discover that youthful snap peas aren’t as candy.

What to do when snap pea season ends

In summer time, when the climate will get sizzling, the peas cease flowering and producing pods. I minimize the vines on the base of the trellis and allow them to dry for a few days in order that they’ll come off the netting extra simply. There’s nonetheless loads of rising time to plant salad or cooking greens, root crops, or quick-maturing bush beans in the identical spot to comply with the dearly departed peas.

snap peas fruit until hot weather comes
Snap peas fruit till the climate will get sizzling. For an extended harvest, plant seeds six weeks earlier than the final spring frost.

The way to construct a easy trellis

You’ll be able to arrange an affordable, 8-foot-long trellis in lower than an hour. You’ll want two 7-foot-tall metallic fence posts and an 8-foot size of nylon trellis netting.

  • Pound the posts 2 toes into the bottom, then string the netting between them, stretching it tight and tying at even intervals up and down the perimeters. Pea-laden vines are heavy, so ensure the netting is connected securely.
  • Lower the vines on the base of the trellis on the finish of the season, and allow them to dry out. Pull the dried vines off the netting, and produce the netting inside for winter.
  • Reuse the identical netting for as much as 10 years. You can even use biodegradable netting as an alternative of nylon to be able to minimize the mesh and pea vines down collectively and compost the entire thing.

snap peas growing on a fence diagram

David Hirsch is the creator of The Moose­wooden Restaurant Kitchen Backyard. He lives and gardens close to Ithaca, New York.

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