How to Plant Sugar Snap Peas in the Garden

When I was a young girl growing up on our family farm, pea plants were one of my favorite spring crops from our garden. We grew shelling peas. I didn’t even know snow peas and sugar snap peas existed until many years later. Fabulous Fred, my hubby, loves to tell the story of when we started dating, and he was showing me his vegetable garden. He had an excellent crop of sugar snap peas ready to pick and eat. He picked a few pods and handed them to me. Having never eaten sugar snaps I promptly opened up the pod, ate the peas inside, and discarded the pod. Fred was surprised I discarded the pods. He told me that I could eat the pods in addition to the peas. “No way,” I said. “Yes, you can,” he said, and after a short discourse on the merits of eating the pods, I gingerly tried one. Yummy. Much to my surprise, it was delicious. Crunchy and sweet like the peas inside. Wow, I had been missing out all those years. After all, shelling a huge pile of pea pods and ending up with a few cups of peas, in my opinion, is not the SIS (simple is smart) way. I recommend you grow pea varieties such as sugar snap or snow peas and eat the whole pod. Doctor Jo says; the extra fiber keeps the GI track humming along like it’s supposed to. i.e., it helps prevent constipation.

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What month do you plant peas?

Peas are one of the first crops that can be planted directly in the garden. Up here in upstate NY I have planted them as early as St. Patrick’s Day. Now that is super early for this area. Usually, my garden still has its winter snow blanket on in mid-March. However, peas can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. I love sugar snap peas so much that I like to plant a lot of peas. I will be guaranteed to have plenty to share. The ER staff at work always loves it when I bring in a big bowl of just picked pea pods from my garden. I want to make sure I have lots of peas, so I open up the weed block fabric and pack a lot of seeds into the row. 

SIS (simple is smart) Rx for how it’s done in a few easy steps:

1. The first step is raking the top couple of inches of soil to one side.

2. Spread the seeds uniformly in the row. Soak the peas overnight for a faster germination rate.

3. Cover the seeds with the soil you raked to one side.

4. Press the garden soil down over the peas by walking back and forth over the length of the row.

Blossom on peas, peas are about 24 inches tall.
Fence is concrete remesh wire.
Mesh fence is attached to the steel post with a cable tie.

5. Once the peas are about 4 inches high, it it time to get them some climbing support. Those little plants will grow and climb until they are taller than you. They need a nice sturdy support system to grow on. This is the SIS (simple is smart) way to support them. Use steel posts and a wire mesh fence for support.  The wire mesh is attached to the stakes with cable ties

6. Think about how much you are going to love eating all those fresh garden peas and how impressed your friends will be when you tell them you grew them yourself. 

7. Give yourself a big pat on the back or a hug.

If you don’t have a big garden, you can plant 5 or 6 seeds in a pot on your patio or make a small patch in a raised bed. You will need to add a wire tomato cage for support once the peas are about 4 inches tall. 

sugar pod peas

Harvest and Enjoy Your Sugar Snap Peas

Snap peas can be harvested 6-8 weeks after sowing. Harvest when the pods are green and still soft, and the peas inside are starting to swell. Sugar snap peas grow quickly, and if not checked frequently, they can become starchy and chewy and lose their sweetness.

Here is a little nutrition lesson from Doctor Jo.

Sugar snap peas are full of Vitamin C, a highly antioxidant vitamin that helps with wound healing and boosts immunity. It also aids in the production of collagen. (That good stuff in your skin that prevents wrinkles, hmm – I wonder if a pea mask would help with my lines?) They are high in fiber and have lots of vitamin A, B, and K in addition to the vitamin C. Let’s hear it for the peas.

Sugar snap peas are umm – a snap to add to your meals. SIS! Eat them raw as a snack or paired with your favorite dressing or dip. They are delicious with hummus, or artichoke dip. Use them to make a fresh and crunchy salad. Cut the pods into slices and add them to your favorite salad fixings. Include them in your stir-fries. They go great with asparagus, red pepper, and baby corn. Add a little tofu or chicken for protein. SOOO good. Yum!

Harvest sugar snap peas and pop them in your mouth, toss them into salads or cook them as a healthy side dish.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Thanks for keeping it simple yet smart 👊

    1. growwithdoctorjo Author says:

      You’re welcome.

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