Snap Peas and Snow Peas

When I think about Snap peas or sometime called snow peas,I pause for a moment and think way back when I was just a little critter helping my grandfather collect his daily quota of vegetables from his vegetable garden. It was with his encouragement I ate

my first pea pod directly of the vine and suddenly I discovered a wonderfully new taste. I also remember not many of those peas ended up in my pail to be brought to the kitchen table. I'm sure that fond memory was one of the main reasons that years later I became an avid vegetable gardener.

As a beginner vegetable gardener, you may want to add snap peas and snow peas to your list of spring planting. If you have young children I can think of no better way to introduce them to the wonderful taste of garden vegetables. But be aware! Not many of your peas will make it to your kitchen table.


Snap peas and snow peas are a cool season vegetable plant and can tolerate late frost as well as a light blanket of snow. Like other cool season vegetable plants, because they tolerate cold so well, they are a popular plant of choice by many vegetable gardeners because they can be planted early in the spring and again in the fall.

Sugar snaps and Snow peas

Can be eaten including the pod right of the vine. Sugar snaps are at their best when the pods first start to flatten but before the peas grow too large. Keep a close eye on these peas because if they are left on the vine too long they will begin to develop a tough fiber in the pod. At this point, the pods must be shelled and the peas inside removed for consumption. To save yourself the work of shelling the peas, check your snaps on a one but no more than a three day basis.

Snow peas

For best taste this variety of the pea family should be picked from the vine when very young and just as the pea begins to form while the pod is still flat. This usually happens five to seven days after flowering.

To ensure a bountiful supply of both pea varieties, be sure to pick the pods every one to three days to encourage the plant to continue to flower and produce more pods.


Depending on the variety of snap peas or snow peas, they will take from 50 days to 70 days to reach maturity. If purchasing seeds from a manufacture specific maturity time will be stated on the vegetable seed package. I also suggest you purchase seeds that are disease resistant to some of the most common vegetable plant disease your peas will encounter. A manufacture I use to purchase my seeds is Burpee Seeds.  I have recommended this company in several articles because of their high quality standard of producing only the best vegetable seeds that will grow into healthy high yielding plants. But whatever your choice of vegetable seed manufacture, always follow the instruction on the seed package to increase the chance of a good healthy plant.

When to Plant

Peas are a hardy plant that can tolerate some frost as well as a light blanket of snow. So if you misjudge that last winter frost warning where the temperature dips slightly below freezing, your hardy peas probably won't mind at all.

A good practice to follow is to wait until the soil is dry enough to till without it sticking to your garden tool. If there is too much moisture in the soil and the climate is not warm enough to heat the soil then your peas may end up with root rot.


Before you plant any vegetable, give some thought as to where. Most vegetable plants will need at least six hours of sunlight to thrive and produce a good yield. And because peas like tomatoes and beans are a vining plant, they will grow quite tall. Plant your vining plants on the north side of your vegetable garden so that they do not block the sun from reaching other vegetable plants in your garden. Also, leave plenty of space to accommodate a vining support such as a teepee structure, trellis,or wire cage.


Similar to beans, snap peas and snow peas are light feeders but prefer a fertilizer that has a high phosphate and potash content and lower nitrogen content. A 5-10-10 ratio generally works well and can be purchased at your local nursery or garden supply store. I like the organic fertilizer from Burpee Seeds, because of the high standard they use to provide top quality fertilizer. Their price is quite reasonable and the fertilizer is delivered straight to your door. Put quite simple, I know their grade and quality is what I want for my vegetable plants. However, the purchase of vegetable plants and fertilizer is a personal decision, so by all means purchase what works best for you.


Similar to beans, snap peas and snow peas require little water and what I said about watering snap beans will hold true for your peas and is worth repeating again.

If you plant your snap peas and snow peas after last frost when the soil heats up water thoroughly, and as the temperature and power of the sun increases, water every two to four days depending how quickly the moisture evaporates from your garden soil. But do remember, if you plant a little earlier during or just after winters last frost or blanket of snow, your soil is full of moisture and your plants will need little if any water. If you already don't have a soil moisture tester I strongly suggest you purchase one. I have an example of a very affordable tester on my beginner gardening page near the bottom of the article.

To enforce the value of adding a soil moisture tester as an addition to your gardening tools is to remind you that too much or too little soil moisture will play havoc on any vegetable plant and your peas may experience blossom and pod drop as well as malformed pods.


As with most vegetable plants, insect pests are not far behind the moment your seeds began to emerge from your garden soil. Some of the most popular insect pests to be on the look-out for are aphids, mites, leafhoppers, and the Mexican bean beetle.

To learn more about these pesky critters that invade your  vegetable garden, read our article vegetable garden pests.

If this is your first year to try vegetable gardening, be sure to read our article on Beginner Gardening.

To find out more about snap peas I've included a link to Wikipedia

Before you leave me why not drop into My Gift Shop for a peek and see if you find something of interest for you, family, or friends.

Happy Gardening

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