How to Grow Snap Peas

Snap peas combine the crispy edible pod of snow peas with the sweet green peas of the traditional English variety. Useful in a range of dishes and delicious when eaten straight off the vine, growing snap peas is easy to do in your home garden.

Site and Soil Requirements

Full sun is best for snap peas, though they will tolerate partial shade. The ideal soil should be well-drained and high in organic matter, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Snap peas grow well in average-fertility soil, so there's usually no need to go overboard with fertilizers.

Incorporating nutrient-rich material like leaves, grass clippings or compost into the soil should give peas all the nutrients they need. It's best to add organic matter to your garden in fall so that it has plenty of time to break down before you plant peas in spring.

Planting Snap Peas

Unlike more sensitive crops like peppers and tomatoes, snap peas can tolerate a light frost, and actually thrive in cool, damp weather. You can plant snap peas in your garden as soon as the soil has reached 45 degrees Fahrenheit and is dry enough to work with.

Till the soil to a depth of 8-10", and then plant peas 1-1½" deep and 4-5"apart. Leave 18-25" between single rows, or 8-10" between double rows.

Care and Harvesting

Water snap peas enough to keep the soil from drying out, but don't overwater to the point that the ground becomes waterlogged. Snap peas don't always need a trellis, but using some form of support, like stakes with string or a wooden trellis with chicken wire, will make them easier to pick.

Most varieties of snap peas are ready to harvest 50 to 65 days after planting, or a week after flowering. You can start picking when pods reach their full length or when individual peas are the size of BBs, and continue to pick over the course of many days as more pods become ripe.