when-to-plant-sugar-snap-peas

When to Plant Sugar Snap Peas

Peas are traditionally one of the earliest garden vegetables. They are early to go in the ground and early to harvest. Planting peas late is actually a common reason that gardeners are unsuccessful. They are cool-season crops and will even grow right through a light snow blanket, and tasty snack some early summer.

Direct Sow Outdoors

This is often the best way to plant snap peas since they tend not to transplant well. It can be tricky though. Plant them when the soil is too wet and they may rot in the ground, plant them too late and the summer heat may take them early.

Generally, plant sugar snap peas outdoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. ‘As soon as the soil can be worked’ is a phrase heard often when talking about planting peas. It means when the soil has thawed and is dry enough to cultivate without creating a muddy mess.

Since pea seeds enjoy warmer germinating temperatures but cooler growing temperatures, they can take a while to pop out of the ground. Soak them overnight to speed up their germination. Planting them in raised beds can also help keep them warmer if in a sunny location.

Indoor Planting

Get a head start on the season, or avoid losing seeds to an overly wet soil by starting them indoors or in a greenhouse. Some gardeners and almanacs will claim that peas will not transplant, and they are prone to stunting when in small pots. You can purchase starts at nurseries, or grow them yourself and with some extra care have a successful experience.

Prepare trays or pots 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your region. There are a few things to consider when planting in trays:

  • Minimum 4 inch depth
  • Well draining
  • Loose and fluffy planting medium

Grow peas all through the winter in a greenhouse. Plant seeds indoors in late August for an indoor winter crop. Use containers with at least a 12-inch depth when growing peas to maturity.

Succession

One great thing about peas is that they are fast growers. With an average lifecycle of 60-70 days, you can get more than one crop in per year. Start you first crop as soon as the soil can be worked. Then plant new seeds every two weeks through the spring.

In milder climates, you can extend your succession into the summer by planting in shady areas. Peas do not like consistent temperatures above 70°F (21°C). If you live in a warmer region, take a break from planting in the high summer and then start again in the fall.