Snow peas are relatively easy to grow as they resist cold weather and appreciate the full sun. The plant produces crispy and crunchy peas, making it fun to eat straight from the garden, especially for the kids.
Growing snow peas requires little preparation and materials making it an ideal plant for starting growers. You’ll just need to find yourself some wooden stakes, ribbons, digging tools, and a sunny spot in the backyard. Grab seeds from your local nursery or pick them out from the pods purchased from your supermarket. In this article, I break down the steps on how to successfully plant snow peas. It’s not as hard as you might think!
To plant snow peas:
- Choose a sunny location
- Prepare the seedbed
- Plant the seeds in rows of two
- Place a trellis between rows for support
- Water thoroughly after planting and weekly after that
- Pick the pods
Continue to read this article for further details on each step. You’ll also learn to identify pests and diseases so that these potential problems can be eliminated.
Summary of Planting Snow Peas
|Common name||Snow peas|
|Scientific name||Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon|
|Light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water||Water deeply once a week or when the soil is completely dry.|
|Soil||Well-drained. Loose soil with plenty of phosphorus and potassium|
|Fertilizer||Added inoculant can help|
|Pests||Aphids, Powdery Mildew, and Pea Moths|
|Diseases||Bean White Mould, Pea Enation Virus, and Pea Wilt|
|Germination||Between 10 to 12 days|
|Days to harvest||60 to 100 days|
Before You Start Planting Snow Peas
Snow peas like the cold. I live in Sydney, and I plant my seeds at the start of Autumn/Fall, which is in March. The temperatures throughout that period hover between 7 and 23 degrees Celsius (45 to 73 F). Harvesting occurs in Winter where the peas are ready to eat.
Where ever you are, ensure that temperatures are at least 7 degrees Celsius (75 F) and that all chance of frost has passed. Snow peas are pretty resistant to frost, but it’s better to avoid it altogether.
Soaking expedites the germination process of peas. If you’ve taken fresh peas from the pea pods, it’s recommended that you soak seeds for about eight to 12 hours. Over-soaking the peas could cause them to decompose and not fit for plant growth. Discard any peas that have floated to the top of the water as these are not useable for planting.
Steps to Plant Snow Peas
1. Choose a sunny location
Pea plants need at least six to eight hours of full sunlight exposure daily to get the best growth. Pea plants will still grow in partial shade but may experience slower growth, leaving you suboptimal results.
2. Prepare the seedbed
The soil should be dry enough. If the soil is sticking to the rake, then it’s too wet to plant.
To optimize growth, add compost and dolomite to the soil before planting, as peas love alkaline soils.
If you live in a region that passes through hot weather, you may find it beneficial to add mulch on the surface to block out the heat. It can also help prevent the soil from being puddled with water during heavy rainfall.
3. Plant the seeds in rows of two
Draw two rows of shallow holes in the soil. The holes should be about a palm length apart and a half a pinky deep. Place two pea seeds in each hole and cover with soil. The reason for planting two seeds in each spot is because not all seeds will mature successfully.
4. Place a trellis between rows for support
Pea plants are climbing plants; give it support by establishing trellises or wooden stakes. Placing the support structure between the two rows will provide support to both sides of the plants.
5. Water thoroughly after planting and weekly after that
Once all the peas are planted, water the soil evenly and thoroughly. Avoid overwatering to the point of puddles forming. Your next round of watering should be when the soil has dried out.
As the plant blossoms, it will draw more nutrients and moisture from the soil. Monitor the soil dampness and water as needed. You may need to water the plant daily if you live in areas of high temperatures.
Hydration is critical to maintaining pod production and pea quality. You might want to invest in a soil moisture sensor meter to take out the guessing of watering the correct amount.
6. Pick the pods
If you’ve reached this step, congratulations! Now here’s the fun part. It’s time to grab a container and scissors to pick out those pods!
Now, try to avoid the temptation of plucking them out with your bare hands and causing a pulling action from the vines. Doing so will cause distress to the plant and potentially damage the vines. Instead, use scissors to harvest the pea pods.
It’s recommended that harvesting occurs early while the pods are young for crispy-tasting peas. Older pods will toughen over time and become inedible.
If you’re only interested in harvesting the peas themselves without the covering pod, you can wait for the pods to age a little longer before picking. The peas will become rounder and fuller.
Insects and Pests
Aphids are the primary pests for pea plants. The solution to aphid control is spraying the plants with cold water to knock the bugs to the ground. If heavy infestation occurs, use an insecticidal soap spray, rotenone, or pyrethrum.
Powdery mildews are the most common disease of green peas, usually appearing during the warmer weather and high humidity. To reduce your chances of seeing these pests, water the soil and not the leaves. If you spot mildew on plants, remove the affected leaves and apply a fungicide. If the infestation has taken over the plants, you may want to cut your losses and re-plant all over again.
The pea moth (Cydonia Nigricana) is common amongst pea family plants. They’re grey-brown with white wingtips. They lay tiny pale-yellow caterpillars that feed on peas inside the pods.
You need to regularly check the pea pods once the plant starts to bloom. And always check the peas before eating them. Once the moths have laid their eggs on the plants, you’ll need to remove them from further infestation.
|Disease||What it looks like||What to do|
|Bean White Mould||A white cotton texture surrounds the vines and pea pods. Also appears as a white cotton mold with black patches.||These can appear after heavy rainfall. It can be prevented by good air circulation and plenty of sun. |
Also, avoid using sprinklers and overhead irrigation systems that cause overwatering and excessive leaf moisture leading to rot.
Gather and remove all affected pods.
|Pea Wilt||Leaves begin to turn yellow, and older leaves start to depress. As disease advances, the root will rot, causing the plant to wilt and eventually die.||If possible, pull out the affected plant without injuring neighboring vines. Or use scissors to carefully remove the damaged plant. |
Otherwise, it may be better to leave the withered plant to stay in place until the whole planting is ready to be taken down.
|Pea Enation Virus||Yellowish spots and/or white spots appear on leaves. The leaf becomes crinkled with small cracks and blisters.||Remove the affected plant and surrounding plants entirely to prevent the further spread of the virus. Do not use the seeds from the infected plants as they may have been infected with the virus.|
Planting snow peas is an excellent idea if you live in a region of cold but sunny weather. Growing these is a fun family activity, allowing the kids to munch on those crispy peas once they produce. Snow peas can grow in large quantities, so why not share them with your family and friends!