Growing your own sugar snap peas is a breeze and a great way to kick off your gardening season, as they thrive in cooler weather and can be planted early in the spring. Sugar snap peas are a popular snacking vegetable due to their sweet, crunchy flavor and plump outer skin.
Home gardeners often have trouble resisting the temptation to snack on them straight from the plant, making it crucial to get a good harvest. Sugar snap peas are not only delicious fresh, but also when grilled, stir-fried, or added to salads. Moreover, they are low in calories and rich in fiber, protein, and vitamins, making them a healthy addition to any meal.
The good news is that growing a bumper crop of sugar snap peas is easier than you might think. These plants require little soil nutrients and even improve soil quality as they grow. With their short seed-to-harvest time, you can plant multiple crops per season.
How To Plant Sugar Snap Peas
There are three main types of peas, with the most popular being the traditional green shelling pea. Also known as English peas, these require shelling to reveal the green peas inside. The other two types are the sweet snow pea, which is flat and great for fresh eating and stir-fries, and the sugar snap pea, which is the focus of this article.
However, it’s worth noting that both snow peas and sugar snap peas have similar growing requirements. Therefore, the information provided below can be used to produce a bountiful harvest of both types of peas.
Planting – How To Plant Sugar Snap Peas For A Big Harvest!
When To Plant
The most critical requirement for successfully growing sugar snap peas is cool weather. Peas thrive in cool temperatures and should be planted in early spring or early fall. They can germinate in cool soil and air temperatures, typically around 40 to 45°, as soon as the soil is workable.
Pea plants can even tolerate some frost and should be planted in the ground two to three weeks before the last frost date in your area. This allows them to mature before the summer heat sets in, as consistent temperatures approaching the mid-80s can cause the plants to stop producing and begin to fade. However, you can plant peas again for a fall harvest.
In late summer, as fall approaches and temperatures begin to cool down again, you can plant peas once more. Despite warm soil, the plants still sprout well, and the cool temperatures of fall allow them to produce a big harvest that can last until the first hard frost or freeze.
How To Plant Peas
Sugar snap peas don’t need extremely fertile soil to thrive. As legumes, they aid in enhancing the soil they grow in by fixing nitrogen levels for the subsequent crop.
There are several excellent sugar snap pea varieties to cultivate, and we have listed some of our favorites below, along with our affiliated seed links. Whether you acquire your seeds from us or elsewhere, make sure to place your order or collect them early since spring crops are typically the first to sell out.
Sugar Snap Pea Seed Links:
To achieve success with sugar snap peas, it is recommended to grow them in early spring, as they improve soil quality for other nitrogen-loving vegetables that will be planted in early summer.
Peas can be used as a green manure crop before the summer vegetables are planted. Sugar snap peas can be grown in a garden, raised bed, or container, but it’s essential to have some support or trellis in place for them to climb and sprawl to their full potential.
When planting, create a small furrow or hole in the soil, three-quarters to one inch deep. Space the seeds approximately one inch apart, and if planting in rows, keep them 18 to 24 inches apart to allow for easy harvesting
Supporting Your Crop – How To Plant Sugar Snap Peas For A Big Harvest!
As previously mentioned, sugar snap peas are capable of growing and producing without the need for a support or trellis. However, allowing them to climb will greatly enhance their manageability and yield. On the other hand, if they are left to sprawl on the ground, it can stunt their growth and inhibit flower production.
If you’re growing sugar snap peas in a garden or raised bed, a simple fence piece propped up by a couple of stakes in the middle of each row can provide ample support. Alternatively, you can grow them along fence lines to create a natural trellis.
For container gardening, a wooden or metal trellis positioned behind the peas will suffice. You can also plant them in a container next to an arbor, trellis, or fence, and they will instinctively climb and twine around any nearby structure.
Supporting your sugar snap peas not only leads to a bigger harvest but also simplifies the harvesting process.
Maintaining Your Crop – How To Grow Sugar Snap Peas For A Big Harvest!
To ensure a successful crop of sugar snap peas, there are a few essential gardening tasks that need to be taken care of. First and foremost, it’s important to water the seeds immediately after planting. While peas don’t require excessive watering, if the soil is dry at planting time, watering will expedite the germination process.
Afterward, only water your crop if the soil becomes overly dry. When watering, aim for the ground level to avoid the development of mildew or mold. Typically, once pea crops have sprouted, they don’t require frequent watering, except in extremely dry conditions.
Mulching is another important chore for the growth of sugar snap peas. Mulch helps to prevent weed growth, conserve moisture and regulate soil temperature. In particular, it helps to keep the soil cooler if there’s an unexpected heatwave.
After planting, cover the soil with a light layer of straw or shredded leaves. Once the peas have begun to sprout, add a few more inches of mulch for a total of three to four inches. This will make it easier for the seeds to germinate and will help ensure a healthy crop of sugar snap peas.
Harvesting – How To Plant Sugar Snap Peas For A Big Harvest!
To ensure maximum freshness, it’s important to harvest your sugar snap peas as frequently as possible. Wait until the pods are plump and full before plucking them from the vines. Picking them too early will result in flat and tasteless peas, while leaving them on for too long will cause them to become woody and tough.
Pea plants will continue to produce blooms as long as they are not overloaded with peas. Regular picking not only ensures freshness, but also improves your yields. Once warm weather ends new blooms, you can simply pull up the plants and add them to your compost pile. Pea plants are excellent for composting and give back to the soil in this way.
If you want to save seeds from your pea plants, leave a few of the plants to dry out. Once the plants and remaining seed pods turn brown, pluck the pods and remove the peas. Store them in a cool, dry place, and you will have seeds for your next crop at no cost.
To ensure a successful second crop in late summer or early fall, aim to plant at least 8 to 10 weeks before the average first frost in your area. Keep in mind that fall pea harvests may not be as abundant as spring harvests due to the warmer late-season weather and approaching cold temperatures, but they are still worth the effort of planting. May your garden yield a bountiful crop of sugar snap peas this year!