Snap and Snow Peas
Pisum sativum 2 oz packet sows 25 ft. 1 lb sows 200 ft.
Culture: Peas are legumes with moderate fertility requirements. Avoid excess nitrogen: they can fix their own. Use Legume Inoculant as an aid. They prefer cool, moist weather and dislike dry heat. Sow as early as ground can be worked for best yields. All peas produce more when staked; varieties over 2½' must be supported. Use either Trellis Plus or chicken wire. Install support at planting time to avoid disturbing seedlings. Plant 8–10 seeds/ft on each side of supports in double rows. Set supports for rows 3' apart (5' if very tall varieties).
Harvest snow peas before pods fill out. Don’t pick snap peas too soon: snaps taste sweetest when completely filled. Young snow and snap plants can be eaten as greens, good in mesclun or lightly cooked. To serve pea shoots, remove the coarse tendrils and break the stalk into 3" pieces each with some leaves.
Not well adapted to southern climates where the spring heats up too quickly. Pam Dawling in Virginia has great success with Sugar Ann but cannot grow the tall longer-season Sugarsnap in her climate. Smooth-seeded peas germinate better in colder soils than wrinkle-seeded peas, but are not as sweet. Minimal soil temperature for pea seed germination: 40°. Optimal range 50–75°, optimal temp 75°. Dawling suggests that forsythia flowering signals time to sow snap and snow peas.
- F: Fusarium
- PEMV: Pea Enation Mosaic Virus
- PM: Powdery Mildew
- PSV: Pea Streak Virus
- W: Common Wilt race 1
Powdery mildew looks like someone sprinkled talcum powder over the vines. It spreads rapidly when picking occurs in hot dry weather. Pick in early morning while the dew is still on the foliage to slow its spread and ensure best flavor. To combat the fungus, try Actinovate. Fusarium causes vines to dry out, yellow, then brown and die. As a preventive, always sow peas on well-drained soil. Fusarium-infested soils are said to be pea sick. Do not save seed from plants afflicted with fusarium, which can be seed-borne. Rotate out of legumes for at least 4 years. Brassicas, especially mustards, are good disease-suppressant successions.