The Dirt Diva

Tailoring your garden to your needs!

It’s Time to Plant: Peas!


Snap pea ready to eat
Snap pea ready to eat

Are you a shelly, snowy or snappy? I’m talking about your pea preference of course! Shell peas, sometimes called English peas, are the kind you zip out of their pods and eat the insides, Snows are wide and flat podded, excellent eaten whole in stir fry and salads, and Snaps (my favorite) have fat and fleshy pods, that you eat as is, no zipping required. Peas are one of the most gratifying vegetables to grow. They are one of the first veggies you can direct seed into the garden, and one of the first you can eat, with a long window of harvest opportunity. Sew in late April and reap from mid-June to mid-July. Pea tip #1: Install a trellis for them to climb, before you sow. They are natural climbers with pure white and sometimes purple flowers. You can harvest some of the young shoots long before the pods are ready, getting multiple uses out of one plant.

Snap peas, sometimes called Sugar snaps because they are very sweet, are best eaten straight from the vine, in the garden. Shell peas are a joy for kids to pick and shell into a bowl. My late dog Yum-Yum loved to pick and eat them, so I had to keep an eye on her during harvest time!

Yum Yum and pea resized
The late Yum Yum with Shell Peas

Snow peas are the earliest ripening of the lot, and are so prolific you’ll be giving away baskets if you planted too many! Pea Tip #2: If you’re going to grow some of each kind, be sure to separate the rows with a little distance, or with another crop in between, (like lettuce), and label well.

Pea vines on 4th of July
Pea vines on 4th of July

It’s hard to tell the difference between the shellies and the snappies, since the plants and pods sometimes look identical. If you haven’t bought your pea seed yet, its not too late! The last 2 weeks of April is the best time to seed them in the garden.

Pea tip #3: pre-soak your seeds in a jar of warm water the night before you plant. They’ll swell up and hit the soil running!

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