Growing sugar snap peas in the home garden is fairly easy to do. Sugar snap peas are similar to snap beans in the sense that they are eaten for both their seeds and their pods, unlike snow peas harvested for their pods alone, and garden peas shelled for their seeds.
When to Plant
Sugar snap peas are a cool season crop and will not perform well in temperatures 85°F or above. Because of this it is imperative that you plant them as early in the season as possible to allow the plant to fully mature before the hot weather set in. Sugar snap peas prefer soil temperatures between 55-65°F, but can withstand temperatures as low as 40°F if your climate warrants it due to a short growing season. Planting early is riskier. Though young plants can withstand a light frost, mature plants cannot.
Sugar snap peas are a climbing plant, unlike garden and snow peas that come in both climbing and bush varieties. The seeds should be planted at the base of the trellis and then trained up as they mature.
Peas require a plenty of direct sunlight in fertile, well-drained soil. They prefer a slightly alkaline soil pH between 6.0-6.7. In order to assess your soil’s pH you should perform a soil test. Amend you soil as necessary prior to planting. Your peas may require further fertilization after the pods have formed.
When to Harvest
Most varieties of peas take at least 60 days to mature. Your peas are ready to harvest when the pods begin to fatten but the seeds are not fully mature. The pod is similar to a green bean and will snap crisply when attempting to bend. If you miss the optimal harvest time the pods will turn fibrous just like the English variety and are no longer as desirable. You can still salvage the peas by shelling them and eating the seeds only. Though they resemble the common garden pea, they are not as sweet.