PEAS! So many to choose from!
May your peas live long and prosper!
First decide if you want flat, snap or the peas themselves, or ALL of the above! Flat peas are called snow peas. Snap peas have a thick pod and often don’t make it home. They are eaten right when they are picked. Shelling peas have a tough thin shell, but the peas inside are delish! These might be your on-the-table steamed peas, although a fresh shelled pea is mighty tasty the moment it is shelled! Poor little helpless things.
Like beans, peas come in bush and tall vine varieties! Plant bush and vine at the same time – bush come in faster, production time is shorter. When they are done, those vine peas will be right there ready for the picking next! You container gardeners will find some great dwarf varieties listed below!
Mammoth Melting Sugar is a productive sweet-tasting snow pea ready to harvest in 68 days, resistant to Fusarium wilt. If you don’t want tall peas, there are several bush varieties to consider! Oregon Sugar Pod II has 20 5 to 30 inch vines, resistance to powdery mildew and Fusarium wilt, ready to harvest 65 days. Oregon Giant, growing to 30 inches tall, is resistant to most pea diseases as well.
English shelling peas (bush and vine form) require more space and they have to be shelled. There are dwarf and tall varieties and those that ripen early, mid- and late-season. Dwarf vines are Little Marvel, Progress No. 9 (Laxton’s Progress) and Greater Progress. These are resistant to Fusarium wilt.
Larger vines like Freezonian are resistant to most pea diseases, including Fusarium wilt; Green Arrow, which is resistant to downy mildew, Fusarium wilt and other viruses; and Maestro, which is resistant to Mosaic virus, Fusarium wilt and other viruses.
Of the Snap peas (thick edible pods) Sugar Snap is the most widely planted commercially in California. It is resistant to most diseases, grows to a height of 6 feet and is ready to harvest in about 70 days. Sugar Ann is a 15- to 24-inch dwarf that is resistant to most diseases, including powdery mildew. It is ready to harvest in ONLY 56 days! Sweet Snap (semi-dwarf), Sugar Rae (dwarf), and Sugar Daddy (stringless, dwarf) are all resistant to powdery mildew.
Sugar Mel, a 2- to 3-foot tall variety, has been reported to be more heat tolerant than other sugar snaps. Plant them in February. Unlike the others, this pea needs warmer conditions to sprout successfully. It is resistant to powdery mildew and is ready to harvest in 60 to 70 days. Pea Lovers, be sure to get the seeds well in advance so you will have late season peas in the spring!
Notice how many of these varieties are fusarium wilt resistant! Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden has this wilt in the soil, so be advised!
Harvest tips! Once picked, peas lose their sugar within hours, so pick, shell and eat them as soon as possible. No problem. 🙂 Pick peas regularly to extend the harvest.
Be careful – use two hands to pick the peas, one to hold the stem, the other to pick the pod. There is nothing so sad as to pull the vine from the ground accidentally. You can’t replant them. And that’s why you stake your trellis or cage so strongly to prevent them from blowing over in winter winds! Don’t lag getting your trellis up or installing your cage. Peas grow quickly, and keeping them off the ground gives a clean harvest.
From Monticello.org: The English or Garden pea is usually described as Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vegetable because of the frequency of plantings in the Monticello kitchen garden, the amount of garden space devoted to it (three entire “squares”), and the character-revealing playfulness of his much-discussed pea contests: according to family accounts, every spring Jefferson competed with local gentleman gardeners to bring the first pea to the table; the winner then hosting a community dinner that included a feast on the winning dish of peas. Among the nineteen pea varieties Jefferson documented sowing were Early Frame, which was planted annually from 1809 until 1824…. more
The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for our SoCal Santa Barbara CA USA, Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. All three of Santa Barbara city community gardens are very coastal. During late spring/summer we are in a fog belt/marine layer area most years, locally referred to as the May grays, June glooms and August fogusts. Keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is. Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!