How to Grow Peas

There are a plethora of pea varieties – Sugar Ann, Sugar bonny, gray sugar, Snowbird, etc. However, an increasingly popular kind of pea is the sugar snap pea. Why? There’s no need to shell the peas from their pod, which can be an extremely time-consuming process. In today’s society, faster is definitely better. All you have to do is cook the peas in their pod and eat.

Don’t mistake sugar snap peas with snow peas – something people often do. Snow peas are flat, nearly empty pods; sugar snap peas are full-sized peas inside the pods.

Some pea varieties need some type of support while others, being a bush-type, can stand easily without support. Peas mature at various times – some types can be eaten after two months of growth while other types need longer than three months.

The great thing about sugar snap peas is that they can be eaten cooked or raw and are loaded with vitamin B1, C and K and folic acid.

Growing Peas From Seeds

Peas, regardless of the type, have a sensitive root system. Therefore, it’s best not to plant the seeds in an area where you’ll need to transfer them to another place later. Peas are often planted early in the growing season, so there’s typically no need to get ahead with your plants.

The best time to plant your pea seeds is when the weather has thawed the soil out enough to dig. This tends to take place four to six weeks before the last anticipated frost date. A negative drawback to planting early is the potential for seed rotting. However, applying fungicide can mitigate the chances of this occurring.

You can also purchase untreated seeds if you’d like. But, should you go this route, you’ll need to do some heavy sowing, as the seeds could rot before sprouting.

Be sure to thoroughly dig your soil, especially if you live in an area where the ground is frozen solid during the winter season. Consider using an inoculant, which is a natural additive that helps vegetables like peas to naturally consume the nitrogen in the soil. While it’s not a total necessity, they tend to grow better if you add inoculant when planting.

You’ll need to consider space for your peas. If you have vining peas, you can plant these near one another, as they tend to grow upwards, not outwards. Bushing peas need about a foot of space between the plants. Whatever type of seeds you go with, they need to be roughly an inch beneath the soil.

How To Properly Grow Your Peas

It’s important to give your plants a sufficient amount of water to grow. While a regular rain (from the sky will do), if it’s not been raining for some time, it’s okay to water your plants one time a week.

If your peas are growing on a vine, be sure to offer them support to hold them up. Do this shortly after planting, as moving them later on can cause damage.

Bear in mind peas are quick growers – even faster than weeds. However, you’ll still need to remove the weeds in the garden as summer continues. Since pea roots are often thin and shallow, avoid digging deep around your plants.

Can You Use Containers?

If you opt to grow sugar snap peas, containers are fine to plant the seeds in. However, it’s best to stick with the bush-type pea variety. Sugar Ann and other dwarf-like pea varieties are great for containers. They also mature faster (usually no more than 60 days).  Each pea plant should have a 12×12 pot, adding inoculant to the soil, if you’d like.

The great thing about potted peas is the ability to move them from one location to another during the hot season. When it comes to sunny in one location, you can move them to another location, adding to the plant’s productivity and live.

How Can You Effectively Deal With Diseases and Pests?

The biggest pest nuisance you’ll need to contend with for your peas is the pea moth. However, it’s not the moths themselves that are the nuisance; it’s the caterpillar larvae that are the real problem.

What happens is the moths lay eggs on the plant at a time when the peas are growing. Yes, you can use insect sprays, but planting an early maturing pea type can help too. Early maturing peas will mature before the emergence of the pea moth.

These pea pods are not as tough as regular green peas, which increases their vulnerability to chewing pests like cucumber beetles and slugs. You can pick the bugs off when you notice them, or you can spray the plants using a natural insecticide.

How To Properly Harvest and Store Your Sugar Snap Peas

When it’s time to harvest your sugar snap peas, it’s not like the traditional method. After the pods have developed, there’s no reason to wait for the peas inside to grow. Picking them can begin at any time. Keep in mind this – the longer you wait to pick, the bigger the crop is going to be.

With the temperature rises, the hot weather will take a toll on the plants. This means the plants will no longer produce pea pods. Provide them with some shade to increase the producing period. How much you get will vary from plant to plant, but vines tend to produce more peas than bushes do.

Peas can be stored in your refrigerator for at least two weeks before they start to go back. If you want to keep them for longer, place them in the freezer; either whole or shelled. Before this, however, you’ll need to blanch them in boiling water for no more than two minutes, as to keep both their texture and color.

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