Whether you’re a child or an adult, there’s something pretty fun about heading to your garden, picking some peas, and instantly eating them. Sugar snap peas are crispy, sweet, and quite nutritious. Find out when the best time is to plant this crop so you can start enjoying them as soon as possible.
When to plant sugar snap peas: Sugar snap peas grow best in cool times of the year, including spring and fall. For spring, you can put peas in the ground as soon as the ground has thawed. Depending on where you live, this date range includes late February to early April. You can also try for a second growing season in the fall. For this, plant your peas six to eight weeks before the first frost date, which means you should aim for a September planting. Sugar snap peas can take between 50 and 70 days to grow although you can speed this up by soaking the seeds overnight or by starting seedlings indoors. Some sugar snap peas need a trellis to grow but others are smaller in size and won’t need any extra support.
Planting Sugar Snap Peas in Different Climates
Peas are a cool-weather crop. They like cold temperatures and not too much rain, so a tropical climate is not ideal for them.
A dry climate might be ok with peas. While peas like cooler temperatures, they don’t like a lot of water in their soil, so this might be ok, as long as you monitor them closely as they grow.
A temperate climate is great for peas. With shorter winters, you can get your peas into the ground in either late February or early March.
Just watch out for heavy spring rains as peas do not like their soil to be too moist. Prepare raised garden beds for your peas so that the water can drain better.
Even though you might have to wait a bit longer to get your peas into the ground in a continental climate, you can still have them in by early April. The colder temperatures are fine for peas and there usually isn’t too much rainfall in the spring so you don’t have to worry about root rot.
Even though peas enjoy cold temperatures, a polar climate is far too cold for them to grow.
Choosing Sugar Snap Pea Seeds
Sugar snap peas are actually a category of peas so you may be surprised to learn there are further varieties within this category. Here are a few selections to choose from.
Super Sugar Snap
This variety has all the intense flavor you know and love, along with the crisp texture you crave. However, it is even better than the original as it is disease resistant and as a bonus, is actually stringless.
As its name implies, this variety is both tender and sweet. It takes between 65 to 70 days to mature, is stringless, and is rather petite so it can be grown in containers.
Those who don’t want to wait all spring for their peas will love that this variety is ready in just 50 days. It is slightly smaller in size than other varieties but doesn’t require much care such as staking or trellising.
This smaller variety is excellent if you are worried about diseases and as a bonus, provides large yields. If you keep harvesting the peas, you can actually have a supply that goes right through the summer.
Those that love the sweetness of peas will instantly fall for this variety. With high yields and large-sized peas, the variety also offers great resistance to diseases.
How to Plant Sugar Snap Pea Seeds
There are so many crops that make you wait until late spring to occur that it’s nice when you can find a vegetable that actually prefers cold weather. Sugar snap peas are one of them.
You can plant this crop early in the year, even at the end of winter. And, even if it snows after you plant them, they will still continue to thrive.
In some areas, you can plant as early as St. Patrick’s Day, which is the local custom in a lot of areas. If you are having an especially long, cold winter, you only have to wait a few more weeks to plant them.
The key is that if you can work the soil, you can plant your peas. Depending on where you live, this can be anywhere from February to April.
Any time you have a cool-weather crop, there is always an opportunity for a second planting. This is true of sugar snap peas.
You can plant once in the early spring and then again in the late summer or early fall. For best results, get your peas in the ground about six to eight weeks before your first local frost date.
While this second planting may have a smaller harvest, it is still a great idea if you love peas. Plus it’s an easy way to make use of all your garden space, especially if a previous crop has just finished.
Despite their tolerance for the cold, sugar snap peas prefer full sunlight. Be sure to plant in an area that gets lots of suns so that these vegetables can grow to be nice and plump.
Raised garden beds
Even though peas should be planted in late winter to early spring, doesn’t mean they really like wet soil. If you live in an area that regularly sees wet, soggy springs, mound the dirt to create a raised garden bed.
This will provide a bit more protection to the seeds. It will also give the roots a better chance at keeping above the water-logged soil that spring so often brings.
Prepare the soil
Giving your plant the best chance at success is key. If you can, start way back in the fall when you turn over your soil.
Take this opportunity to add in aged compost or manure. The nutrients will settle in and the soil will be ready for you when it’s time to plant in the spring.
You probably won’t need to add fertilizer to your soil but if you do, it’s important to remember that peas only need phosphorus and potassium. The root structure of peas will actually fix nitrogen levels in your soil.
Soak your peas
The best way to get your peas ready for planting is to soak them overnight. Just leave them in a bowl of room temperature water. This will help speed up the germination process.
Plant your seeds
Now that your seeds and your soil are ready, it’s time to get planting. Using a finger, make small indentations in the dirt that are one-inch thick.
Place the seeds in and then cover. Rows of peas should be about 7 inches apart.
Depending on the variety, you may need to place a trellis or other support system near your plants. It’s best to do this early so that the vines can quickly find their way.
How to Water Sugar Snap Pea
If you’re lucky, you might not need to water your sugar snap peas at all. This is because they grow in the spring which is often a wet season.
If you live in a drier climate, only water your peas once or twice a week, for a total of one inch of water per week. Check the soil to see if it is dry and add water accordingly.
How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas
Once your sugar snap peas start to sprout, you can add a layer of mulch. This will help the soil retain moisture while also keeping weeds from appearing.
If you do see weeds, gently remove them by hand. Peas have shallow roots that are quite fragile, so be careful around them.
Your peas should be planted in full sun but this might be a bit too much for them at some parts of the day. If your spring starts to turn really hot, try to add shade at the hottest parts of the day to protect the plants from drying out.
How long do sugar snap peas take to grow?
There are many different varieties of sugar snap peas so the growing period can really vary. While some varieties only take 50 days to mature, others can take up to 70 days.
If you plant your peas in late March, you can expect your first peas to be ready by mid-May.
To make your growing season last longer, plant your peas in small batches, within one-week intervals. Also, the more you pick your peas, the more your plant will produce. With careful planning, you can have fresh peas ready to enjoy for an entire month.
Sugar snap peas are an excellent way to add flavor to your garden. With a crisp texture and a sweet taste, they are a treat for everyone. Plant your sugar snap peas as soon as the ground is workable, which is usually in March.