This step by step guide with pictures shows how to grow snow peas in the home garden. Fresh snow peas have a wonderful flavor and are easy to grow with continuous picking.
Like other peas they grow on a vine which will need to be supported. Their beautiful white flowers cover the vines providing color to the garden during the late winter and early spring.
Snow peas have an edible pod which is sweet in taste. It is commonly referred to as ‘Chinese Pea’ and the stems and leaves of young plants can also be eaten.
Culinary Uses of Snow Peas
They are commonly added to stir fry’s or simply steamed until just tender while retaining a little crunch. Snow peas only take a minute or two of cooking over high heat.
As a fresh side dish consider stir frying with finely sliced fresh ginger and soy sauce or try this recipe for Honey, Lemon and Ginger Snow Peas.
Growing Snow Peas
Like other peas, snow peas fix nitrogen in the soil making them the perfect companion plant to other leafy green vegetables.
In temperate and warm climates snow peas are planted in the fall (autumn) with harvest beginning in the late winter through spring. In colder climates they are planted in the spring with harvest beginning in the late summer.
Pick snow peas when the pods are between 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10cm) long. The pods should be carefully pinched off of cut with scissors to avoid damaging the plant.
From planting the seed most snow peas varieties mature in 65 days.
Plant snow peas in a full sun position in moist free draining soil. Avoid windy positions and have a trellis or fence to support the vines. It may be necessary to use string or twine to help hold the vines up to the trellis.
Add organic matter to the soil prior to planting such as compost or aged manure. They like a ph of 5.8 to 6.8 however they will grow well in a range of soils.
Creating a Trellis
Creating a support for snow pea vines doesn’t mean you have to go out and purchase anything. Consider planting them next to a fence or make a simple structure.
Put 2 posts in the ground after preparing the soil then either tie a piece of wire fencing to the posts or run wire between the posts in a zig-zag fashion. Alternatively, run rope or heavy duty twine in between.
Posts can be metal or use wooden tomato stakes. Metal posts can be found cheap at scrap yards or farm auctions.
For snow peas the trellis will need to be 5 feet (150cm) tall.
This expandable Natural Willow Trellis plant support is a great option as it can be easily packed away when not in use. It is great value and highly rated on Amazon. (Paid link)
Planting, Plant Care and Harvesting Snow Peas
- Tools Needed
- Snow Pea Seeds – Try these Organic Sugar Snow Pea Seeds from Seeds of Change. (Paid link)
- Shovel and Trowel
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Lime (For acid soils)
- Trellis, Fence or Wire and Posts
- Liquid Fertilizer – Seaweed and Kelp Fertilizer concentrate is an organic option which also improves the soil. (Paid link)
- Twine or String – This thick natural Heavy Duty Twine is perfect for gardening. (Paid link)
How to grow snow peas in the home garden.
- Prepare the Soil
First prepare the soil by adding aged manure or compost then add a handful of lime if your soil is acidic. Dig in well then make a wide trench with your trowel.
- Make a Trellis
Construct your trellis so it is in line with the trench.
- Plant the Snow Pea Seed
Make holes 1 inch (20mm) deep and ½ inch (10mm) apart then place 1 seed in each hole. Backfill the soil then water in well.
- Seedling Care
Keep moist until the seedlings emerge. Give the plants a half strength dose of liquid fertilizer after the 2 week mark then use a full strength dose every 2 weeks for the best results.
- Plant Care
Water regularly and protect from birds if they become a problem. Tie twine loosely around the vines if they begin to hang down to provide more support.
Harvest pods when they are between 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10cm) long. Either use scissors or pinch off the pod being careful not to pull on the vine.
The best way to preserve excess snow peas is through freezing. Simply blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, place in ice water to stop the cooking process then freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags. See this guide to Freezing Snow Peas for more information.
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