Sugar Snap Peas

April 11, 2006

If you enjoy eating fresh peas but aren’t crazy about the idea of picking and shelling bushels of pea pods, then sugar snap peas may be the perfect vegetable to plant in your home garden.

Sugar Snap Peas are delicious and just as easy to grow but eliminate the effort required to shell and prepare the peas for cooking.

With Sugar Snap Peas you get to eat the entire pod with the peas nestled inside. The pods are juicy, crisp, sweet, and crunchy, and in my opinion are best when enjoyed fresh and uncooked right from the garden.

Planting Sugar Snap Peas in the Garden

Edible Podded Peas enjoy cool weather growing conditions and can be planted during early spring, with a second crop planted during late summer for a fall harvest.

Sow Sugar Snap Peas about an inch deep after treating the seed with a nitrogen fixing inoculent designed for peas. The inoculent isn’t required but will help improve growth, result in higher yields, and increase the nitrogen levels “fixed” in your garden’s soil. The inoculant contains a natural bacteria and can be purchased at garden centers or organic gardening suppliers and seed companies on the Internet.

Sugar Snap Peas will grow well in raised beds, the biggest challenge is to space them out evenly. One planting technique is to lay all the seeds out on top of the prepared bed using the desired spacing pattern and the go back and use a finger to press the seeds to the proper depth. You can also make rows along the length of the raised bed, plant the seeds two inches apart and cover.

Care and Maintenance Tips

The peas will quickly germinate and begin growing so you should be prepared to provide some type of pea support to hold the plants upright as they grow taller. The dwarf varieties that only grow a foot or two in height will do fine without additional support from fencing, stakes, or trellis material.

Aside from weeding and watering when needed, there’s not much routine maintenance required to raise your crop of Sugar Snap Peas. The pea vines grow very fast and within a few weeks of planting you will notice blossoms that will quickly be followed by the developing pods.

Harvesting and Using Sugar Snap Peas

Harvest the Sugar Snap Peas when the pods are plump and have reached full size but to enjoy the best flavor don’t allow them to over mature or start to shrivel and dry out on the vines.

Sugar Snap Peas are often cooked by steaming or sauteing, but I think that they are at their best when simply harvested and enjoyed raw with absolutely no cooking. In fact the fresh pods are so delicious that you’ll be tempted to eat half of the harvest right there in the garden.

In addition to the pea pods you can also harvest and enjoy eating the flower blossoms and leafy plant tips or pea shoots. Just be sure that you don’t attempt to eat any portion of the varieties of ”sweet peas” that are grown as ornamental flowers and are not edible.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Becker June 26, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I just ate my first home grown sugar snap peas right off the vine! They were so delicious, i think I ate 10 of them without stopping. Should I pick them when they are skinny or plump? I think I’ve seen both recommendations, and now I’m confused.

Kenny Point June 26, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Hi Carolyn, sugar snap peas are sweet and delicious and often don’t make it out of the garden. Sugar snaps are best harvested when they are plump, after the seeds have filled out within the pods. Edible podded snow peas on the other hand are harvested when the pods are still flat and skinny.

Steven J June 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Is there a particular procedure for perserving all the EXTRA Sugar Snap Peas from a wonderful crop so I can enjoy them well into the Autumn?
(Please respond as soon as possible)

Kenny Point June 29, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Hi Steven, I’m not the best person to ask about preserving veggies from the garden but I’m guessing that freezing may be the best way to preserve your extra sugar snap peas. Canning may be another option but I’m no authority on that either.

Dannielle July 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Hi just picked my sugar snap peas, ate half of them. I was wandering do I pull the plants out of the garden after I harvest the peas or do they come back again?? My first time planing these.

Kenny Point July 13, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Sugar Snap Peas don’t produce much in the way of a second crop, so you’re better off pulling the vines after the plants mature and put the garden space to use growing other crops. But rather than pull the vines out it’s probably best to cut the pea vines off at soil level, or if you are not going to replant the area turn the plants under to help build soil fertility and take advantage of the nitrogen-fixing ability of pea plants.

Brenda July 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

Thanks for the info. I was confused between sugar snap and snow peas. I’ll leave mine on the vine to fatten up.

josh Vaccaro August 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I just pick a bunch of sugar snap peas for the first time. This is the first year that I have grown them in my garden. I cant figure out why they taste so bitter though?

Janet March 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I’m relieved by your information. I’m growing them for the first time and in an apartment. Fortunately, I have a yard and large pots with support that I’ll be transplanting them in. Although I’ve planted way too much, I’m looking forward to enjoying the aspect of fresh veggies that I’ve grown myself. My husband is chomping at the bit. Sugar snap peas are his favorite. I suspect I won’t be harvesting much because he’ll get to them first. Any suggestions on transplanting? I’m using mircle growing planting soil at the point of transplanting. I’m just not there yet.

Kenny Point March 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hi Janet, just be careful to disturb the root system as little as possible. Transplant on a cloudy or cool day, and water the seedlings well until they are established.

gretchen April 4, 2009 at 11:46 am

Thanks for the info on sugar snap peas. How much support do they need…a this stake for each plant. Any suggestions will help.

Kenny Point April 5, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Gretchen, it depends of the variety of sugar snap peas that you are growing, the taller varieties can grow over six feet high and will need a trellis or tall structure to support them. The smaller growing varieties may be staked or allowed to climb up pieces of brush, cages, fencing, etc.

Sarah E April 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I am growing my first sugar snap peas this year. They are wonderful! Unfortunately, only two of the baby plants I started with survived, and thus far, only one has produced any pods. I only get a few peas ripe enough to pick at a time, so they have never made it into my kitchen. my daughter, especially, has a hard time waiting for them to mature and plucks and eats them right off the vine!

This is the first year that I have decided to save seeds from my garden to plant next year. I read that you wait till the pea is very plump and begins to dry out before plucking it for use as seeds. But what I need to know, is do I wait for the last pods of the season, or can I leave a couple plump pods on the vine to start to dry, and continue harvesting others as they grow? Also, once I have picked some for seed, do I shuck them immediately, or allow the pods to dry out more first? After that, I assume, I let the peas dry out thoroughly and then store them in a dark, dry place till next year. Correct?

Any advice would be much appreciated, as I have a couple pods currently about to bust at the seams on the vine! It has been hard work keeping my daughter and husband away from them so I can save the seeds!

Erin April 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Sarah, there’s a site called Seed Savers that explains how to save sugar snap – and many other – seeds. I did a search for “how to save seeds” for some other seeds I have and found that site.

Kenny Point April 10, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Hi Sarah, you can allow the peas to dry pretty well right on the vines, just watch that they don’t shatter or split and disperse the seeds before you have a chance to collect them.

The problem with using the first fruits for seed is that they aren’t always the best and allowing a plant to mature seed early in the season can reduce the overall production since the plant may assume that it has fulfilled its mission to reproduce and begin to relax and bear fewer fruits than it ordinarily would. You also don’t want to use the last fruits because they can be of poorer quality and you run the risk of them not fully maturing and ripening before the season ends. So the ideal is somewhere in between and you always look for the best fruits/seeds from the best plants that you have.

Yes, let the seeds dry out thoroughly and store them in a cool, dry, and dark place until you are ready to plant them out.

Holly April 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Please help!! We are a young couple starting our first garden. We planted our peas just as directed and all the suddden I have what I am sure ared little sugar snap sprouts coming up all over the garden. How did they get everywhere, rain, birds, rodents? And should I re-till those rows, and start over now??

Kenny Point April 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm

That’s really strange Holly but I don’t think that there is any way the elements or the critters could have scattered your pea seeds like that. Maybe they’re just unrelated weeds sprouting, and your peas haven’t germinated yet. Try digging one of the shoots you spotted up and see if there any remains of a pea seed attached to the roots.

Jennifer April 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm

I planted several snap peas in my garden a little more than a month ago. The vines are growing beautifully but I have yet to see any blossoms. How long do the blossoms normally take to appear?

Barbara May 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Yes, Jennifer, me to. Not a single blossom anywhere and mine have been in the ground for way over a month. Very healthy plants at around 4 ft. I do see the birds eating the top shoots and leaves but no sign of a flower, pod or any thought of future goodies. Plants were purchased at nursery store. I may pull them and put in a lemon cucumber.

Bill Conley June 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm

All the above is important and interesting. But – hasn’t anyone experienced wild animals eating the peas early. I’ve put a low fence (20″) high aroung the garden to stop the rabbits, but to no avail. My dog chased away a ground hog yesterday. I think it’s the culprit. What is the solution? A higher fence, an electric fence, a trap (what do you use for bait?). I understand they will burrow under anything. Right now I think they just climb over the plastic fence I’ve used, or lift it and crawl under.
PS In northeast Ohio, I planted them in late March and they are doing wonderful. (Could have planted them earlier, I do believe.)

bb June 15, 2009 at 5:37 pm

The stems are very delicate and break easily. I planted several plantings and only a few came up. I then replanted and again only a few came up. What is up?

Kenny Point June 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Peas can be a bit fussy when starting the seeds if conditions aren’t just right. Some gardeners will soak the seed overnight in water, pre-sprout them between moist paper towels, and then transplant the seedlings out into the garden.

Jules July 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

Ok, my plants are already having trouble. The lower leaves are turning yellow and are dying off. The upper leaves have been eaten by something, they are all lacey looking.

They were grown from seeds bought this year, so not old seed stock.

There are now some flower at the tops of the vines, but not many. One flower has a pea on it, and that is about it.

What’s gone wrong??

Katy August 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm

A question for Kenny and a response for Steven re. preserving:
I have already harvested all the snap peas from my raised beds, and yesterday as I started to rip down the dying stalks, I noticed that several peas from that crop had sowed themselves in the ground. They haven’t germinated yet, and I read that it’s early enough in our season here (NW Wash.) that I may be able to grow a second harvest before winter. My question: can I use those peas from this most recent harvest to grow a fall crop? It looks per other posts that I need to dry them out and use them next winter instead, but I thought I’d check. Any advice would be appreciated!

Steven, as far as preserving snap peas, I haven’t used this technique yet since we eat them all fresh in the garden, but my mother in law swears by it. Steam the pods for less than 3 minutes, don’t let them turn soft, and THEN freeze them. She says they taste almost as good as fresh and that this has been the best technique over the years. Good luck!

Kenny Point August 9, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Hi Katy, you can use your own seeds to plant your next crop of peas. if you planted more than one variety and did not isolate them there is a chance that your seeds could have been cross pollinated so that is something to keep in mind. Also some vegetable seeds won’t germinate until a set period of time has passed after they mature. The pea seeds should be thoroughly dried out but other than that I think that you would be okay planting your pea seeds now to squeeze in a fall harvest.

Paige August 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I planted sugar peas and snow peas the same day (13 days ago). 5 snow peas germinated after about 7 days, and no more after that. None of the sugar peas have germinated. Fresh seeds for 2009/2010 season. Planted 1 inch deep without soaking. Any ideas?

Kenny Point August 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Hi Paige, peas can be rather finicky germinators and the seed will sometimes rot in the ground during rainy weather conditions. You could try pre-sprouting the seeds. Soak them in a jar of water overnight, pour the water off in the morning and then rinse them with fresh water five or six times each day until they sprout. As soon as the germinate and begin to show a bit of root growth they can be gently planted in the garden. Good luck.

BC DOLLAR October 2, 2009 at 11:22 am

Hello, I did a fall planting in Denver, CO. What is the lowest temperature that peas can survive? I understand they can take a light frost. Thank you.

Shyre May 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Has anyone had rabbits nibble the tops off? When this happens will the rest of the plant survive and “regrow”?

Katy May 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

I’ve had robins eat the pea pods right out of the ground and have also seen them eat the tops right off the shoots. The shoots never recovered so my guess is same for the rabbit pest damage. Best solution I had was to cut bird netting into strips and gently tack it over the shoots until they started to climb the trellis…maybe that’ll slow your furry pests?

Shyre May 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Thanks, Katy. I was beginning to think that was the case as it has been almost a week and no signs of new growth.

sam May 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

my question is how far do you need to plant snap peas from regular shelling peas to prevent cross-pollination?

Kerri May 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Ok… I have some snap peas on the vine and everybody says wait till they are plump to harvest…. I have to admit I really have no idea what that means… they are flat pods with well defined peas inside them… how do I know when they are actually “plump”?

Kerri May 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I want to eat them right now :)

Kenny Point May 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

Kerri, it is going to vary depending on the type of peas that you are growing. There are shell peas, sugar snap peas, and edible podded peas. The shell and sugar snap peas are both harvested when the pods look like green beans but larger and plumper around. Then there are edible podded peas which remain pretty flat even when they are mature and ready to harvest… the peas inside these pods are also much smaller and not as defined as the other types.

Don May 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I grew my Snow Peas from new seeds (Burpee variety) that I planted in Mid-March. The plants have started flowering, but they are only about 14″ tall and the description says they will be 4′-5′ tall. Some bottom leaves have already turned yellow too. Considering that it is not even June yet, should I expect the plants to get taller and produce more or should I just pull them out and plant a different variety?

sam May 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

Kerri plump means that the seeds inside are mostly formed, even if the seeds get over large they are still great to eat.

Kenny Point May 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hi Don, I would expect the plants to continue growing and produce more peas. They usually flower and set pods lower as the plant continues to grow taller.

Joann June 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm

We have a large crop of suggar pod peas —more than 2 people can eat. How do I prepare them for the freezer

Kenny Point June 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I have never frozen sugar pod peas but most people blanch them in boiling water for a couple minutes, then dunk them in cold water to stop the cooking process and then freeze them.

Gerald June 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

When harvesting, is it best to pinch off the stem close to the pod or cut off the whole stem (close to the leaf)?

Kenny Point June 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

I would pinch the pea pods off close to the pod but leave some stem attached to help them stay fresher and not damage the pod itself.

Jennie July 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Hi there!

I recently planted 4 pea plants (not sure of variety) and within 1 week they were healthy and beatiful with flowers. They were about 3” tall when they started to wilt. I used appropriate fertalizer but still they died. I cant watch them 24/7. I bought new seeds and plan to plant them but dont want to make the same mistake. Any suggestions?

Kenny Point July 4, 2010 at 11:54 am

Jennie, that’s odd peas can be tricky to germinate but once they are up and growing they are usually pretty reliable producers. The one thing that I can suggest that you didn’t mention is to inoculate the seeds with the appropriate bean or pea inoculant powder before planting and try again. I’m not sure when you planted your seeds, but peas are best started during early spring or in the fall so that they can grow and mature during cooler weather.

Kate July 6, 2010 at 4:19 am

My sugar snap peas have grown to a good height, flowered and now produced lots of pods. My worry is that the pods are a very pale yellow colour. Will they turn green or is this normal? Can I eat them like this?

Do you think they need feeding? (They were planted into the garden enriched with well rotted homemade compost.)

Mark Jensen August 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I have started growing sugar snap peas and the thing is I got a strong harvest/ yield from the peas but i want to be able to preserve the variety, and be able to reproduce this strain for next season. my question is when is the best time to harvest some pods for seed for next season and what is the best way to perserve them (such as harvesting and drying the pods/seeds out or keep them on the vine until they fall off)?
if someone can give me some knowledge in this area, it would be helpful.

Matt August 30, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I have grown two batches of sugar snap peas and both crops failed. They quickly germinated, and grew to a height of about 3 feet on a trellis I put above the large pot in which they were planted. Then, right as they started to flower and produce the beginnings of a few pea pods, they started dying from the bottom up, with all of the plants eventually dying. This happened with both batches, the first planted in April, the second in June. I live in California and this year we’ve had a very mild summer (most days with a high only in the low 70′s), and I’m at a loss as to what the problem is.

Cindy September 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

What are the marks that appear on the snap pea pods? Is it a fungus? are they still eatable? Could it be bruising from cleaning them and banging them against each other? Why do only some of the pea pods get these marks?
Thank you

Barb Keeler September 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Cindy, where are you located? Where we are, East Coast USA, we are having terrible damage from the brown marmorated stinkbugs. If the spots are light colored and just on the surface, it is most probably insect damage. They should still be edible. I doubt you are bruising them during picking. Darkening or dark blotchy spots are a different matter, again probably insects, but those are burrowing into the peas and rot may be setting in. Observe, and use as you think fit.

Christi November 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Hi! I planted Ferry Morse (seed company, not the variety) peas about a month ago, and they came up beautifully. However, they have been VERY slow to getting climbing, and they are now only about 4 or 5″ high on the pole. They appeared healthy until a few days ago, and now they are turning yellow at the base, with some leaves drying out and turning whitish. The top of the vines are still showing new leaf growth. We did have two days of heavy rain earlier in the week, but the plants are in 7 gallon pots and should have good drainage. What could be going on? Too much rain? Or is something else the culprit?

Christi November 21, 2010 at 12:31 am

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m in zone 7B, Metro Atlanta, GA area. I also gave them a tiny bit of general purpose 7-7-7 fertilizer (I know they don’t like a lot, but since they are growing in pots, I felt like they might need a little soil nutrient replenishment. Perhaps that was also a mistake?

Kenny Point November 24, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Hi Christi, sounds like it could be a drainage problem to me. Are you sure that the pots are draining sufficiently? I don’t think that the small dose of fertilizer would have caused the yellowing. The other possibility is that the peas are being affected by some sort of virus or disease. If the tops look healthy and the vines are still growing I would just keep an eye on the plants and check the drainage if you can.

Christi November 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Thanks for your advice, Kenny. I’ll check the draining issue, although it may be that we’ve had so much rain here lately that could be part of it… I don’t know. The tops are growing and producing flowers, so I’ll just see what happens!

archsquash February 19, 2011 at 12:11 am

Hi, I’d like to ask which would be the best way to start and plant sugar snap peas (cascadia sugar snap peas). Pre-sprouting, germinating in small soil containers until you have a young seedling and transplant into ground or patio container, or just sow and plant directly into the ground or patio container? I live in zone 5. please help.

Kenny Point February 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

I would soak the pea seeds in water overnight and then pre-sprout them between moist paper towels inside a plastic bag. As soon as the pea seeds germinate you can plant them out into the garden. You can also plant them directly in the soil but you will need to keep an eye out to make sure that they don’t rot in the ground before sprouting if the weather conditions aren’t favorable.

catherine March 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I am working with snap pea seeds that I saved from last year. Bugs have burrowed in to some of them. What are they? Can i use the ones without bugs?

Kenny Point March 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Hi Catherine, I don’t know what kind of bugs are attacking your pea seeds but if you have some that are undamaged you should be able to plant them. To be sure you could try sprouting them first and then plant them out into the garden. Good luck.

Jessica March 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hi Kenny,
I planted some sugar snap peas a few weeks ago and I check on them every now and then. Today I see that the lower leaves are turning yellow and are dying off. On top of that the upper leaves are being eaten by some kind of bug… are they going to dye? What should I do?
Oh and they haven’t attached them selves to the sticks I put in the ground… is that the problem? and should i tie them up there until they attach themselves?

Kenny Point March 27, 2011 at 8:31 am

Hi Jessica, what has your weather been like since you planted the peas? I’m not sure what the problem is… could be related to soil fertility, weather conditions, disease, etc. I would keep an eye on the plants to see if they will recover on their own. If the soil is poor you can use a liquid fertilizer or side dress the plants.

I wouldn’t worry at all about them not attaching themselves to the sticks, they will do that when the time comes that they need the support. As long as the sticks are close enough for them to reach they should be okay.

Carol April 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Hi. Thanks for all the comments. I luive in zone 5 (NW Indiana). I planted sugar snap pea seeds indoors about two weeks ago. They are already 7-8 inches tall. When can they be planted outside? I’ve read they can go out now and I’ve read not until a week or two before the last expected frost. Thank you!

Kenny Point April 3, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Hi Carol, you should be safe to plant those peas outdoors now. They can handle a bit of frost but it’s still a good idea to harden them off for a few days by gradually exposing them to the outdoor conditions.

Carol April 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Thank you Kenny! I will start hardening them off tomorrow. Gardening is so much fun…and good for me too!

Jerry April 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Kenny, on 3/15/11 in zone 7 I planted two different varieties of peas: Sabre and Sugar Snap, in different rows, after soaking them for 5 hours in water and coating them in an inoculate. I had about a 95% germination rate and they seem to be growing nicely. However, it is now 4/17 and they are about 6″ tall. The packages say that I should be able to harvest peas in 65 days, 5/21. I can’t visualize them being anywhere close to that harvest date at there present growth rate. The soil has lots of vegetative compost, no manure, and the weather has been normal. I have read that it takes 21 days from the time the first blooms appears to harvesting the peas. That means that they will have to start blooming by 5/1. Will the peas really start growing more quickly; and, am I on track for harvesting on time? Thank you

Kenny Point April 18, 2011 at 6:47 am

Hi Jerry, you are probably pretty much on schedule, the peas will grow much faster once they start bearing. I think that it may take a little less time than that from blossom to pea production. Also the maturity dates could reflect the time to the first harvest, which will be smaller than when the plants come into full production. Let us know when you pick your first peas!

Jerry April 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Kenny, I’ll keep you posted as to when the harvested starts and how long it takes for them to go from seed to harvest, the first of the harvest that is. I can taste them now.

Ryan April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

This was very helpful for my science project on sugar snap peas. Thank you.

Kenny Point April 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

You’re very welcome Ryan, good luck with your project!

Kazza April 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

do you plant sticks in the ground so they grow around them or is that not necessary when growing sugar snap peas? Thanks :)

Kenny Point April 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Kazza, it all depends on the variety of sugar snap peas that you are growing. Some of the dwarf types don’t require much support while the taller varieties will do best grown on a trellis. I like to use the branches inserted into the ground technique for a simple support for medium sized pea vines.

Brian April 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Hey ken,
Thanks for providing everyone with such great info and being so responsive to everyone’s comments.
My snap peas (3 varieties) are doing great. . .the weather is starting to warm and has been consistently in the upper 70s/low 80s. This is my first year growing peas and am wondering when the’ll start dying back?
I’m considering starting some pole beans and cucumbers under them to utilize the trellis. If the peas will keep going for another month or two I won’t both. . .but if they are going to die as soon as we hit 90 I may start the beans. . .what do you think?

Thank you. b

Kenny Point May 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

Hi Brian, they may hold on for a while but the production will slow down as the weather warms and we head into the summer. I would go with the beans and cucumbers and just pull the peas when the space is need for the summer crops because they will ultimately provide much more production longer into the season. You could also start the beans and cukes in containers to give the peas a little more time before you transplant the summer crops in their space.

Carol May 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I wrote you before about my pea seedlings. They died when I transplanted them so I planted some seeds outside on 4/22. Ther are about an inch tall. I’m in zone 5. What are the chances of me actually harvesting any of them? is it too late in the season for them?
Thanks in advance. Carol

Kenny Point May 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hi Carol, I think that your chances are great to harvest a crop from the planting… peas like cool weather but they can stand some warmer temps as summer approaches. You can also plant some more towards the end of summer for a fall harvest.

Carol May 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I will plant some in late summer too! I hope they like rain becasue we are sure getting a lot of it. Thanks Kenny!

Beth June 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I purchased pea plants from a local nursery back in late April. They are looking lovely now in early June, but never flowered or produced. They are over two feet high with big leaves and thick stems, but no peas. I probably got them in a little late, but I thought they would have produces something by now. The weather is warming up now, so I’ve pretty much given up on them. Any suggestions on what I did wrong?

Hayley June 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Hi Kenny. I live in south east Queensland in Australia, so we’re in the beginning of winter. currently we are getting temps around 75 degrees F during the day to 55 degrees f at night. I’m growing my peas in a large pot with a trellis on my inclosed balcony and I’m having the same problem of yellowing, dying leaves from the bottom up. I have had about 6 peas off my vine so far with more to come by the looks of things, any idea what might be happening?

Heather July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Hi Kenny. I am a novice backyard gardener with a brand new raised bed. I planted sugar snap peas purchased loose from an organic nursery in San Diego where I live and got great, quick results. All 6 seeds germinated and I had to add a second level to my trellis because I used one that ended up being to small. But now I have questions…5 of my 6 plants, like others above have mentioned, have yellowing and leaf damage starting at the soil and moving up the plant. Will this be fatal? Also, I am still unclear, do they only produce once before I have to rip them out and start over? I have flowers and pods, and have harvested the developed pods. Should I pull the remnants of the flower off the plant? Sorry for so many questions…

Norma Valentine July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thanks for info on yellowing leaves. A few pods are turning yellow, also. Should they be discarded. The “lacy leaf” effect may be japanese beetles. I have to watch my plants closely and remove the beetles by hand. Great column!

Kenny Point July 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

Heather, it could be a virus affecting your pea vines but you should still be able to harvest a crop from the plants. The plants will continue to grow, flower, and produce pods over a period of weeks before the vines are done. You can replant in late summer for a second fall crop. I wouldn’t worry about the flower remnants.

Norma, I would remove any pea pods that are yellowing or stop developing.

Debbie July 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm

My sugar snap peas are producing great, but the pods seem somewhat deformed. Taste is fine and the vines are healthy. I check for water as needed. I grew peas in the same area last year and wondering if some sort of virus might be in the soil. Last year the pods were picture perfect.

Alicia July 10, 2011 at 4:00 am

My snap peas seem to be connecting to one another, instead of lattice I provided. I try to weave them through but they keep falling out somehow. Can snap peas strangle each other?

John Destasio July 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hey Ken, got a quick question for you, although i assume this is due to the heat of summer. I threw my peas in the ground outside in april(built an above ground, and didn’t get it done until later than i had expected). I had my vines grow up knotted string, and it worked well. They grew to about 5-6 ft, and produced one decent crop(about 40 pods from 6 vines), once, and now i only got another 4-5 pods, they’re not a dark green like before, and only have 2-3 “peas” instead of the 5 or 6 that came in the first crop. Also the bottom of the vines are getting yellow and even brown. I live in NJ, and we are starting to get weather consistently in the 90′s, and i am growing a super sweet sugar snap pea from burpee. I am assuming this is just getting too warm for them.

Cindy July 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

Hi Ken,
I am growing snap peas and I found one that the pod was drying out.
I opened it to find a white fungus or mold of some kind. do you know what that is and what to do about it.

Sara July 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I’m glad I found this page, so helpful! I planted sugar snaps for the first time this year and they did beautifully. We got lots of wonderful peas, although I did notice that some of the plants produced sweeter, fuller pods than the others.

I noticed a similar problem to Heather’s..after the plants flowered and produced pods, the leaves began turning yellow and dying. This moved up the plant but I wasn’t too concerned because I think the plant had pretty much finished producing so I was ready to pull it out anyway. I think it had got too hot..if I recall correctly these are spring plants and do NOT like heat.

My larger concern was that they appeared to also be suffering from a white fungus, I think it was powdery mildew (we are prone to that here on the coast). If it was, I am concerned about planting anything else in that spot. So, my question is, what can I plant in that spot next and how long should I wait before I plant again? I have raised beds so I can replace soil if needed.

Fay July 13, 2011 at 7:00 am

I planted sugar snap peas this year and they got 5 ft tall. I have harvested quite a few already and more are coming. At what time do I remove the vines. Also if I remove the vines can I plant a second crop this year?


Heather July 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I now also have the white powdery mildew…

Eugenia August 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I have several sugar snap pea plants, and they have been doing great for the season. About 2 weeks ago, we got a severe hail storm, and the plants were knocked over-stems seemed broken- but there continues to be new growth, flowers, and peas above the broken dead section. I’m wondering if I cut the plants down if they might regrow as they did after the hail storm. It’s gotten hard to harvest with the new growth at the end of a broken plant (it’s also growing into my zucchinis). Any thoughts?

Mary August 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I planted several snap peas from seed in April (I’m in LA). They gave a great harvest, but succumbed to powdery mildew. When I cut out the diseased plants, I found what almost looks like succulents growing. They have a red stalk and clusters of “teardrop” shaped leaves. I have no clue as to what they are and have never seen this plant in my yard before, so I don’t think it propagated itself from my own plants. They are only right where I planted the pea seeds. Are these strange little plants related to the peas, or is it just coincidence? Or could something have travelled along with the pea seeds. I didn’t notice any thing non-pea in the package.

Kenny Point August 11, 2011 at 6:47 am

Mary, I think they are just a random plant sprouting up but if you have a pic I might be able to offer a better idea of exactly what it is. Are the stems thick like purslane and are there any flowers on the plant? How tall does it grow?

James C August 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

How frequently do the plants need watering, and does it require full sun, partial…? Thanks :)

Liz September 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hey, in my class in school we just planted suger snap peas in our green house, and i took a seed home and planted in in a cup in my room, because i didnt know how fast or tall they grow. already its almost to big, and i was wondering, is it too late in the year for me to trans plant it outside? and if it is, should i move it to a bigger pot?

hazel September 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

my pods burst open before i can get to them. it looks as if it happens from a spot where something stung it. there are a lot of little snails in the bed. could it be them ?

Jonathan September 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Is it too late to plant sugar snap peas in San Jose, California?


David Baron September 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I also love them fresh picked. I will eat as I pick.

But this year the weather was so wet this spring I couldn’t till the soil until it suddenly became hot (here in Kentucky). Anyways, both crops planted failed with the intense heat. Could I plant now? in mid sept.

Erica Helferich September 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m new to gardening and my first attempt at planting snap peas failed. I planted them in late August and absolutley nothing…may be to much sun or may be too much water, not sure. Should I try again since I still have more snap peas?

Kenny Point October 1, 2011 at 7:27 am

Hi Erica, I’m not sure what region you are in but it may be too late to plant more peas for fall production. The problem may have been too much moisture causing the seed to rot before it had a chance to germinate.

Caitlin March 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I’m growing mine indoors and they are producing wonderfully. That said, the lower leaves have gotten white/brown spots that eventually cover the entire leaf (then end up dry and brittle, more or less disintegrating when touched).

When I was looking closely for the cause I discovered a flower that was covered in tiny black bugs (1-2mm). I’m not sure if these are separate issues or if the bugs are causing the spotting/drying of the leaves. Any advice on how to get rid of the bugs and/or what’s causing the leaf issue?

Mike April 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hi! I live in Denver and began sprouting pea seeds in March in the sun room. Since the spring weather here is really unpredictable I kept them inside in small pots until this week when I placed them outside to get some late afternoon sun. One of the plants got far too much sun and wilted. I’m not sure when I should plant my little guys in fear of the Colorado sun sizzling them up (88 degrees today!) any suggestions ??

Kenny Point April 25, 2012 at 6:49 am

Hi Mike, peas are pretty hardy and it sounds like you should have set them out earlier. Also harden them off gradually by starting with just 30 – 60 minutes outside, then increase the amount of time that the seedlings spend outdoors so that they can adjust to the harsher conditions, that should help… also begin with morning sun rather than afternoon. They will get used to the sun quickly but it also helps to transplant them on a cloudy or rainy stretch of days and keep them well watered until they are established.

Betsy May 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

What wild animals will eat peas? I picked my first small crop a couple of days ago and was looking forward to the rest ripening and I checked and all the pods are gone. I know there are oppossoms. rats and probably raccoons in the area. (And, of course, birds frequent my back yard here in Santa Barbara.) If oppossums, is there a solution? (If rats, …traps.) If birds, well, I like birds…. Thanks for any suggestions.

Yukari May 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Hi! I was totally taken by surprise when my snap pea shoots got eaten up by sparrows. It hasn’t happened before and so I did not have any cover over the plants. Should I remove those seedlings (they have stems and fragments of leaves left on them) and sow new seeds or let them be and see if they survive and thrive? I’d appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Paul March 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I have been purchsing and planting sugar snap peas for 5 or more years here in the south, all have been what we call the running type because they have grown on somewhat of a fence, aporox. 4 to 5 feet in heighth. This past fall, I purchased 5 lb. of seed from my local supplier (sugar snap peas), under the belief they were the tall type, requiring some type of support, and planted them as I always have in the early part of the year. They are growing and are looking pretty, but they appear to be the bunch type. Is there any way I can tell from reading the lable attached to the bag what I have purchased and grown. I am aware the lable first stated they were sugar snap garden peas. The peas are now at the first blooming stage, and I am upset that they appear to be a bunch variety. I am also aware from some reading I have done on other web sites that there are bunch sugar snap peas . Please enlighted this garadener. My friends and I have planted 2 450 foot rowes of these things.

Kenny Point April 1, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hi Paul, if the label lists the specific variety name you should be able to look it up on the Internet. If it just says that it is a generic sugar snap pea you will probably just have to watch and observe its growth habits, either way you will still produce a crop of pea pods for you.

Paul April 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Thanks, Kenny, My friends and I are enjoying the peas anyway. They have grown reasonably large plants, and have longer pods than the regular sugar snap running variety. Actually, we planted most of them on very fertile soil and there will be quite a harvest. We are the old school type, and shell the peas we havest for freezing, we then use them through out the year in a variety of recipe’s and also as a dish themselves. They are quite sweeter than other varieties and have enjoyied them for several years, sharing also with friends and relatives.
Thanks for your help. I will be quite the wiser when purchasing seed in the future.

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