Cool, green and succulent. Whether they’re sugar snap, snow peas, or shell peas, there’s just something magical about the gentle pop between your teeth and their fresh beany sweetness. You’ll find that, along with being extremely tasty and refreshing, they are also some of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. Below we have listed the different types of peas and are offering some tips for starting, cultivating and harvesting your very own crops!
Peas come in three types, all very tasty and highly nutritious. Also, peas in your garden grow in similar ways, so there is no need to have to choose just one…!
1. Garden/Shelled peas: These are usually grown for their immature seeds, which get removed from their pods for cooking. Gardeners can choose to grow big, meaty peas as well as smaller varieties.
2. Snap peas: These peas have rounded, usually thick pods and relatively small seeds. The whole pod is cooked, often steamed or eaten raw.
3. Snow peas: Once again, the whole pod is eaten, but in this case the pods are flat and can be cooked or eaten raw. You have probably noticed that this type of pea is a frequent ingredient in many Asian and stir-fry recipes.
Peas are cool-season vegetables and can be grown for spring and fall crops. When growing, try to provide fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Also, when deciding on which peas you want for your garden, you will find that there are either vining types or bush pea types. If you choose to grow bush peas, you are not going to need a support for them. If you have chosen a vining type, you will need to provide it with a trellis, fence, or other support to climb. For instance, I’ll be using the chain link fence at the back of my property; this will help me to save on time, money, and space. Oh, and one more thing…as always, when preparing your soil for growing, you are going to want to mix in some compost and a little bit of organic fertilizer. Just ask one of our associates for a bag or 2 of Bumper Crop and some Dr. Earth #5 fertilizer, which is great for all your veggies, tomatoes, and herbs!
When and How to plant:
It’s best to start your seeds now, mid-March, before temperatures really start to climb. To help speed up germination time, you may want to soak the seeds in water overnight before planting directly into the ground. Sow your seeds at about ½ inch spacing, in troughs that are 2 inches deep. Gently rake soil back over the troughs, and firm down with your fist, shovel, or head of a rake.
Cultivation and Harvesting:
Water peas if the weather is dry, particularly once the peas flower. For the best crops, never fully allow peas to dry out while in flower or when the pods are swelling. Harvest frequently to ensure the best quality and to encourage the plants to produce more flowers and pods. As summer temperatures rise, flowers will stop forming and vines will begin to shrivel.
And last but not least, when the harvesting time for your peas has ended, the vines that are starting to dwindle, fade, and turn brown, end up making perfect additions to that composting pile you’ve been working on!