Growing Tips: Peas, Snap

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/4 inch deep spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. Germination: 7 to 20 days. Plant pea seed in two rows side by side, 6 inches apart so plants will twine and help support each other. Support is beneficial for snap peas.

When and where to plant: Snap peas grow exceptionally well in Alaska and will mature pods in most areas of the state. In cool areas where the pods don’t fully develop peas, the pods are still great for Chinese cooking. In the cooler areas use a soil warming technique like a raised bed to raise the soil temperature. In the spring, plant peas as soon as the ground can been prepared and has warmed. The young plants tolerate considerable cold, even a light frost, so when peas are planted early they are seldom harmed by cold weather. Choose an area with full sun, cultivate the soil and apply plant food. Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours immediately before planting, NO LONGER, then plant the seed shallow to take advantage of the sun’s warmth in two parallel rows six inches apart. Firm soil over seed and keep soil moist until seedlings emerge.

Care: Support is beneficial for snap peas. For support place posts between the double rows 4 feet apart and then attach netting to the posts or run heavy twine back and forth between the posts every 6 inches for the vines to cling to. Water by soaking the soil not the foliage to reduce the danger of disease.

Harvesting: Pods may be picked when they are full sized but not plump for pea pods used in many Chinese dishes and for both pods and peas pick when peas have enlarged so the pods are plump but still bright green. Hold the vines while picking pods to avoid tearing the vines.