How To Grow Snow Peas

How To Grow Snow Peas

Snow peas are also referred to as Chinese pea pods because they are usually used in stir-fries. You can eat the whole pod, which is flat and contains very small peas. It is worth stating that you need to get rid of the tough 'strings' on their edges before eating them.

Snow peas can be served cooked or raw since they are mildly flavored. During cool seasons, you can grow them in an open field. There is a very minimal difference between snow peas, garden peas, and snap peas, but they are all climbing plants.

You can easily grow snow peas in your garden, and the best part is that you can harvest a lot of them even if you have grown them on a small patch. After winter, it can be such a relief to see the greenery of the snow peas in your garden, and they are also the right choice of vegetables to start your garden. If you have kids who may want to help with gardening, planting snow peas will be a good start for them.

Types of Snow Peas

Before we get started on how to grow snow peas, it is worth noting that there are two variations of snow peas, the bush and the vining type. What differentiates the two is how tall they can grow. The bush variety would be an excellent choice for anyone planting their snow peas in a container, and the vining type would work best for someone who has sufficient space to grow them.

You will also get a lot of harvest when you opt for the vining variety since your peas will grow much taller. Listed below are a few examples of types of snow peas.

Mammoth Melting Sugar

Mammoth Melting Sugar

This type of pea grows tall, is sweet, and can grow up to four feet in height. Staking is not necessary for this pea, and you can harvest it after seventy days. It thrives in cool weather, so the best time to plant it will be during fall and spring plantings.

It is resistant to wilt and often produces large snow pea pods about four to five inches long.

Dwarf Gray Sugar

Dwarf Gray Sugar

This is a variety of snow pea that is an old heirloom and does not need staking. It is a bushy plant that grows about twenty-four to thirty inches high. It has purplish, red, and pink flowers that you will love and can be harvested after 66 days.

Oregon Sugar Pod II

Oregon Sugar Pod II

This is perhaps the most uncomplicated variety to grow since they are easy to care for and are fast-growing. They grow up to three feet tall, and all you need to do is ensure they are well watered. They are disease resistant to powdery mildew, fusarium wilt, and pea mosaic enation virus.

They usually ready for harvest after 54 days and produce large amounts of sweet-tasting peas.

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How To Grow Snow Peas

When You Should Plant Snow Peas

As mentioned earlier, peas often thrive in cool weather, meaning it would be best to plant them early. Therefore, the best time to do this would be to check the last frost date in spring and start planting between 4 to 6 weeks before that date. Note that the dates may vary for different individuals.

While it is true that peas thrive in cooler weather, if you plant your seeds in soil that is too cold and wet, your seeds will rot. Pea seeds require soil that is at least 40F or 4C. It would be best to use a soil thermometer to confirm the soil condition if you are not sure.

Suppose you want to get started planting your peas, but spring is unusually cold. You can plant your seeds under a fabric row cover. Once the peas have grown a few inches tall, you can remove the fabric row cover and install your trellis.

Planting Snow Peas

As mentioned earlier, planting snow peas is pretty easy. All you have to do is make a little trench in your garden, then throw in your seeds and ensure that they are two inches apart and one inch deep. Once you are through with this, cover the peas with soil and gently tap the soil down, so the seeds are well covered, and then water them.

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How to Grow Snow Peas

Snow peas are some of the least demanding vegetables you can grow in your garden, and they are easy to grow too. If you are a novice, this would be an excellent choice to start with. Listed below are some of the factors to consider when growing snow peas.

How To Grow Snow Peas

Seeds

You can either look for seeds online or buy them from your local nursery. Alternatively, you can also save your snow peas seeds and use them. Choose the plants that are the strongest and let their pods dry while still on the plant. Next, you have to shell them then allow them to dry for another week.

Put them on a towel or rack so they can dry well. Once they have dried, please place them in an air-tight jar and store them in a dark, dry, and cool place. They will keep until the next planting season.

Water

It is essential to know how much water specific plants or vegetables need to ensure that you give them sufficient supply. Right after planting your snow peas, you need to be careful not to overwater them. However, once they have grown, moist soil is great for their growth.

Peas require an inch of water weekly, so if you are not getting sufficient rain, ensure that you are watering them. Once they start flowering and they form pea pods, it is essential to ensure they are well-watered. You can also mulch them.

Use a fine mulch to mulch your plants about four inches deep. Doing this ensures that your soil stays moist, meaning you can cut back on how much you need to water them.
Sun

Plants are different when it comes to how much sun each plant requires. If you want them to thrive, it would be best to plant snow peas in an area where they can get at least 7 hours of daylight. They can grow in a shaded area.

However, you will note a significant difference between snow peas that have grown in a shady area and those exposed to light. Generally, those grown in a shaded area are much smaller, and they do not produce a lot of peas.

How To Grow Snow Peas

Pests and Diseases

As with every other plant, you need to ensure that you protect your peas from pests and diseases. Snow peas are easy to grow, but they can also be affected by pests and diseases. Therefore, you will need to grow them based on the right climate time in your region.

Ensure that your plants are healthy and getting the appropriate nutrients. It also helps to practice crop rotation in your garden. Some of the best companion plants for peas include radishes, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, beans, and corn.

Weeds

Suppose weeds are growing around your plants. It would be best to take them out by hand since the roots of a pea plant are relatively delicate. Gently pull out the weeds to get rid of them and to avoid uprooting the peas plants.

Fertilizing

Usually, snow peas do not require fertilizer to thrive. However, if you notice that your plants do not look great when they start to pod, it would help to add an organic fertilizer to help them grow better.

Soil

Ensure that the soil you are growing them in is well-drained. To achieve this, mound your beds before you start planting. Use sulfate of potash and well-rotted compost to prepare your soil. The ideal soil is one with a pH of about 6 to 7, so test your soil to ensure that it is in a suitable condition.

Suppose you find that the soil's pH is very low. You can add dolomite or lime per square meter and if you find that it is very high, add more compost. A general test to confirm the soil is right is dropping a garden fork in the soil, and if it stays upright, then the soil condition is perfect.

How To Grow Snow Peas

Trellising

The bush and dwarf variety can grow just fine without needing a trellis for support. However, if you want to prevent them from falling over, especially when the winds are strong, it would be best to provide them with a small trellis they can grow on. Usually, a trellis for dwarf peas is pretty simple.

You can get a string and some strings to provide support or get about a two-foot-high chicken wire. On the other hand, you will need a strong trellis if you are growing the tall variety to offer them maximum support. Luckily, there are multiple options you can select from to support your plants, and most of them will not cost you.

For instance, you can make or buy a simple A-frame trellis by using a fence that is already in your yard or tying garden twine between sticks or poles. You can also use bamboo poles or 8-foot lengths of two by two and ensure that you have sunk them at least one foot into the ground to create excellent support for garden netting.

Harvesting

As mentioned earlier, different variations of snow peas are ready for harvest after various times. Generally, you can harvest them as soon as their pods are long enough to your satisfaction but ensure that the peas inside are tiny. You can harvest once the pod is about two to three inches, but you can still allow them to grow longer if you would like.

When picking the peas, hold the pea vine gently above the pea using one hand, then use your other hand to pull the pea. Doing this ensures that you have an easy time picking your peas, and you do not damage or break the plant while you are at it. Note that peas often grow very quickly.

Therefore, it would be best to regularly check on them as you pick the pods that are ready for harvest. The more frequently you pick them, the more your pea plants will produce for an extended period. To ensure that you have the tastiest snow peas, pick them right before you eat them.

You can always blanch and freeze the excess pods if you want them to retain their flavor and color and last for months. However, if you plan to eat them within a couple of days, you can refrigerate them for a maximum of five days. You can also be sure that the snow peas you have grown in your home garden will be more sweet and tender.

Conclusion

Snow peas are pretty easy to grow and are very low maintenance. If you do not have a backyard garden, you can always still grow them in a container in your balcony. Just ensure that they are getting sufficient sunlight and they are well watered.