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How to grow snow peas in your backyard garden. You’ll love growing and eating these sweet and tasty peas after a long winter. An early garden treat!
Snacking on fresh snow peas straight from the garden is one of the great treats of your spring garden.
After a long winter, I’m so glad to have fast-growing greens in my garden. I bet you are to right?
One of the first vegetables you can get started in your garden is snow peas, and thankfully they are really easy to grow too! If you are gardening with kids it’s also a perfect vegetable to start with because they are nice and sweet.
Varieties of Snow Peas
Snow peas come in two different types bush and vining. Really the only difference between them is how tall they grow.
If you are growing peas in containers then a bush variety will be perfect for you. But if you have more room to grow you’ll get a larger harvest off pea plants that grow taller.
Oregon Sugar Pod II – This is my all-time favourite snow pea variety to grow. The plants get about 3 feet tall, they are fast growing and so easy to care for.
As long as they are kept well watered they produce huge amounts of sweet tasting snow peas. It’s ready to pick in only 54 days and has disease resistance to pea mosaic enation virus, fusarium wilt, and powdery mildew.
Dwarf Gray Sugar – This is an old heirloom snow pea variety that doesn’t require staking. It grows 24 to 30 inches high on strong, bushy plants.
You’ll love this variety with it’s pretty pink, red, and purplish flowers. It’s ready to harvest in just 66 days.
Mammoth Melting Sugar – This is a tall sweet pea variety that grows to 4 feet in height and does need staking. It produces some of the largest snow pea pods at 4 to 5 inches long.
It grows well in cooler weather so it’s a great option for both spring and fall plantings. It’s ready to harvest in 70 days and is resistant to wilt.
When To Plant Snow Peas
Peas love cool weather so you can start planting them early in your garden. A good guideline is 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost date in the spring. For me in my zone 5 garden, this means planting snow peas around May 1st is perfect.
Although peas love to grow in cooler weather the seed will rot if it’s planted into soil that is too wet and cold. They really need soil that is at least 4C (40F), use a soil thermometer if you’re not sure.
If you are having an unusually cold spring and really want to get started growing your snow peas you could plant them under a fabric row cover. Then remove it after the peas are a few inches tall and install your trellis.
How To Plant Snow Peas
Planting snow peas is really easy!
All you need to do is make a little furrow in your garden and drop the seeds in 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart.
Then rake the soil over the peas, tap the soil down gently to make sure the seeds have good contact with the soil and water them well.
How To Grow Snow Peas
Snow peas are very easy to grow and really aren’t a demanding vegetable. This makes it a perfect one to start with if you are new to gardening.
Do Snow Peas Need Full Sun?
Snow peas will grow best if you can plant them in an area of your garden that gets at least 7 hours of daylight.
I’ve tried growing them in very shady areas of our garden before and although they were nice plants, they were smaller than the plants grown in full sun and didn’t produce many peas.
How Much Water Do Snow Peas Need?
While you need to be careful not to over water peas just after planting, once they are up and growing keeping the soil moist is good for them.
Peas need at least 1 inch of water each week, so if you haven’t received enough rain remember to water your garden.
It’s especially important to keep them well-watered once they start flowering and forming pea pods. Mulching the plants deeply with a fine mulch about 4 inches deep will help the soil stay moist and cut back on how much you need to water.
If you are growing a dwarf or bush variety of they can get by without using a trellis for support. But giving them a little trellis to grow on will help to keep them from falling over in strong winds.
A pea trellis for dwarf peas doesn’t need to be complicated. You can use some 2-foot high chicken wire or some sticks and string to provide support.
If you are growing a taller variety of snow peas you’ll want to make sure you have a strong trellis to support them. But there are lots of options that will support your plants and not cost a lot.
8-foot lengths of 2×2’s or bamboo polls sunk at least a foot into the ground make a great support for garden netting.
You can buy or make a simple A-frame trellis, tie garden twine between poles or sticks or use a fence already in your yard.
You’ll want to harvest snow peas as soon as the pods are long enough for your liking but the peas inside are still tiny. A pod length of 2 to 3 inches or longer is perfect.
To pick peas gently hold the pea vine just above the pea in one hand, and with the other hand pull the pea free. This makes it so easy to pick your peas without breaking or damaging the plant.
Peas grow pretty fast so remember to check the plants every few days and keep picking the pods that are ready. Your pea plants will keep producing for a long time if you keep up on picking them often.
Have you grown snow peas before? What’s your favourite type to grow?
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Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.