Growing Sugar Snap Peas
In Your Garden

Growing Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a real treat when eaten raw. They have a sweet mild taste that will please almost everyone. Because you eat the whole pod, you can just pick and eat. 

Health Benefits

Even though they have the word “sugar” in their name, they contain only 2.52 g of natural sugar per cup. There is a mere 67 calories in sugar snap peas per cup.

A cup of sugar snap peas contains 4.6 mg per cup of lutein, an antioxidant that is important to skin and eye health. A cup contains as much vitamin c as a medium orange. Growing sugar snap peas can be very healthy!


How to Grow Snap Peas

When to Plant

When growing sugar snap peas, they need to be planted so that they will mature in the cooler months of the year. In my garden (which is zone 7b)

I try to plant around Valentines day (February 14). The peas mature in about 2 months. This gives me about a month of harvest time before they falter under the hot June sun.

In milder climates, they can be grown in the fall as well.


Transplanting peas

I have read that peas don’t transplant well.

However, when it’s time to sow the seeds, the soil in my garden is too cold for them to germinate. So when growing sugar snap peas I start mine in cell packs with a heat source. They germinate well at 65 to 70 degrees soil temperature.

I am careful not to leave them in the pot too long, since they are vining plants and get tangled together.

They must be handled carefully so as not to disturb the roots too much when they are taken out of the cell pack for transplanting.


Varieties to Plant

Harvest sugar snap pea pods when they start to bulge a little.

Sugar snap peas are considered the best tasting snap variety of pea. They are different from snow peas, which are harvested while still flat. Sugar snap peas are best harvested when the pods are round and plump.

There is a newer variety called super sugar snap peas. These may be planted a little earlier and are more resistant to powdery mildew. However, they are not quite as sweet.

The variety Sugar Ann snap pea may be planted the earliest of the snap peas. It can be grown without support. However, the pods have strings that need to be removed before cooking.


How to Plant

Sugar snap peas need full sun. Their roots reach deep into the soil, so make accommodation for this. They can be directly sown in the garden or carefully transplanted, as outlined above.

Sugar snap peas require trellising to support them. They can grow 6 foot tall.

I plant them about 3’’ apart in the row, and space the rows about 28’’ from each other.


Nitrogen fixing

Peas belong to a group of plants called legumes. This group of plants use bacteria to fix nitrogen into the soil.

When growing sugar snap peas,I always inoculate my seed with a special pea bacteria to be sure I have enough bacteria to get the plant started. The inoculant comes in a powder that will stick to your seed when they are dampened.


Fertilize, Water and Maintain

Since peas can make their own nitrogen, only a small amount of organic fertilizer is needed. To supply important trace minerals, I add some Ocean Trace to the water when I water the plants.  Sea minerals are loaded with trace minerals. These make my peas so much more nutritious and beneficial, plus they enhance the flavor!

Here I am, right after examining my Sugar Snap Pea vines to make sure they are attached to the trellis.

Sugar snap peas do best when the soil is kept slightly moist, not dry and not water logged. A moist soil is especially important when they start producing pods.

Every few days I examine my peas, looking for any vines that are not attached to the trellis. If I find any, I carefully help them to hook into the trellis.

Once the peas are round and plump I pick them. Picking them often stimulates the plant to bear more. If peas are left unpicked they become tough.


Problems to Avoid

The most common disease is pea root rot. You can avoid this problem by doing the following:

  • Plant on raised beds to maintain good drainage of the soil
  • At least once every 3 years plant a non legume crop in the soil 

Sometimes a powdery mildew appears. If this happens, you can purchase an organic control called Serenade. It is a biofungicide that kills the mildew. 


Harvesting Sugar Snap Peas,
Cooking and Preserving

Every few days I harvest Sugar Snap Peas from these vines.

Harvesting

Pick peas when they are round and plump. Sometimes they can be hard to spot. I look at my vines from various vantage points to try and find most of my peas.


Cooking

Sugar Snap Peas can be:

  • cut into smaller pieces for salads
  • lightly steamed
  • lightly stir fried

I especially enjoy just popping these delectable morsels into my mouth right out of the garden.


Preserving

If you have an abundant crop, peas can be frozen and used later in a stir fry.


Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • ½ pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onions or shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped lemon thyme
  • Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place sugar snap peas on a baking sheet in a single layer, not piled up.  Brush with olive oil and top with the other ingredients.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes.  They should be tender but still have a little crunch.


Below is my YouTube video on Sugar Snap Peas
(FYI, the sound is a bit up and down)

<br>Happy Gardening!

(Return from Growing Sugar Snap Peas to Vegetable Gardening)


I appreciate your input.

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This article was written
by Master Gardener
Mike Cunningham

Coming soon: Purchase Mike's  worm castings, plus other products


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