How To Plant, Care For & Harvest Peas In Your Garden
From planting to harvesting, we share the best tips for growing your own garden peas. Growing peas is easy and you can enjoy a successful pea harvest with these expert tips.
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One of our favorite garden crops is the snap pea. Our kids pick and eat them straight from the vine. They’re crispy, crunchy, juicy and perfect as is, but we also love them in salads.
Peas (including English, snap, and snow) are about the earliest crop you can plant in your garden and are worth growing because they’re so much better than what you can find in the grocery store.
TYPES OF PEAS
There are two categories of peas—edible pod and non-edible pod.
Within each category, you’ll find dwarf types, also called bush, which get to a height of about 18 to 30 inches at maturity. We grow bush peas in our garden and use a simple stake for the tendrils. Tall types, also called telephone, can grow three feet or taller and will need to be trellised.
- Non-edible Shell Garden or English peas have non-edible pods and must be shelled before the peas inside are eaten.
- Edible Shell Snow peas and snap peas have edible pods. Snow peas are flat and typically used in stir fries. We love crisp, plump snap peas that have a sweet flavor and a juicy bite.
Once pea plants start flowering, you’ll be eating peas pretty soon after. Pods develop over the course of a few days. Once they’re plump, they are ready to pick. For snap peas, you don’t want to leave them on the vine any longer or they will get tough and stringy. We are usually able to pick and enjoy snap peas for a few weeks every season.
If you’re growing English peas, pick them before the peas have completely filled the pod. English peas should be shelled and eaten as soon as possible, as they don’t last more than two or three days in the fridge.
Tip: Plant several pea varieties with different maturity dates to spread out the harvest. Peas are finished producing pretty early in the season, so this makes a great spot in your garden to practice succession planting. We pull plants once they are finished producing and immediately reseed the area with another rapidly maturing crop such as beets or kohlrabi.
OUR FAVORITE SNAP PEA VARIETIES
Sugar Snap peas are arguably the best tasting and highest yielding variety, but the vines grow tall and require substantial support. We opt for dwarf varieties such as ‘Cascadia’ or ‘Sugar Ann.’ They are still delicious and require much less effort.
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