Peas Are Cold Weather Crops

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Posted by @RickCorey on
My Favorite Snow Pea Pod and Snap Pea Pod Varieties

All peas are cool weather crops. They can be direct sown in spring before the last frost, and mature fall vines seem able to take some frost. In my very mild summer with cool nights, they don't seem to mind growing in late spring and lasting into early summer.

Both snow and snap pea pods are so sweet and juicy that they seldom make it all the way into the house. In season, I pick a double handful of snow pea pods or snap pea pods and eat them all while driving to work. I've never eaten either one stir-fried, only raw.

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I used to grow only 'Oregon Sugar Pod II' snow pea pods, a bush variety. I tried as many different varieties as I saw in stores or got in trade, and liked 'OSP II' the most.

I often let the flat, thin, tender snow pea pods grow until they plump up and have visible fat peas. Most people don't do that, because they are a little less tender and less sweet that way. But old pods have a much greater yield because each pod is plump and heavy. I think that 'Oregon Sugar Pod II' doesn't get as tough or starchy as fast as some other snow pea pods do.

Then I tried snap pea pods and liked them more than snow pea pods: sweeter and thicker and crunchier. It's as if they are "designed" to be sweet and tender at the stage I like the pods (big and fat). But even snap pea pods get somewhat less sweet and tougher when TOO old.

Also, I like the 5 foot "vine" growth habit of Super Sugar Snap Peas more than the 2 - 3 foot "bush" snow peas I had grown up until then. "Pole" peas produce a much greater yield, are easier to pick, and have more exposure to the sun.

Plus, I like building supports with string and bamboo. One of these years, I look forward to building supports that don't sag under the weight. My most recent experiment with horizontal strings 6-8 inches apart let the peas blow right off the strings during a rare windstorm.

I didn't taste much if any difference between 'Sugar Snap' and 'Super Sugar Snap,' but 'Super Sugar Snap' yielded more and was a few days earlier. Both are vine types with 5' - 6' vines. 'Super Sugar Snap' is my current favorite snap pea. (It is also supposed to resist several pea diseases.)

I would like to find a snow pea that grows on long vines and stays sweet as long as 'Oregon Sugar Pod II.' I found a 5-foot snow pea variety that Territorial calls "Chinese Snow Peas" (# PE627). I grew them side by side with 'Super Sugar Snap' last fall, but I started them too late: They grew slowly and hardly bloomed at all, wind blew them off the strings ... and then I had a week of hard freezes.

I already knew that I can't collect peas for next year from a fall crop - my fall rains make everything moldy before it gets ripe. But last fall I didn't even get pods! I think that every variety I mention here is OP, and I could collect peas that would grow true to their parents IF I didn't try to test several varieties side by side at the same time. Pea blooms look very prone to cross-pollination to my eye, so I'm not even trying to save my own peas until I settle on just one variety to multiply.

I've tried to grow 'Carouby de Maussane' snap/snow peas several times, but I got low germination in cold and wet clayey soil. That's an old French variety that Italians call 'Pisello Rampicante Gigante Svizzero.' I wonder why Italians would call a French pea "Swiss"?

I think I may need to pamper those, at least for early spring crops. My heavy clay soil stays wet even longer than it stays cold. I think these peas rot before they sprout. I might sprout the peas on paper towels and plant sprouted peas, or even start them in small pots and transplant pea seedlings to get them past cold-wet-soil rotting.

There are two other snap peas I want to test, even if they are bush varieties: 'Cascadia' and 'Sugar Ann' ("Extra early compared to other snap peas").

I also plan to test 'Rembrandt' snow pea pods (with 4' vines), and 'Avalanche' bush snow pea pods ("Semi-leafless, with many tendrils for garnishes").




 
Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
All peas are cool weather crops, except for Southern peas. by hazelnut Jan 14, 2014 11:04 AM 5
iced peas by hazelnut Jan 11, 2014 6:58 PM 0
Peas are so tasty. by Newyorkrita Jan 10, 2014 8:14 PM 16
Peas in January by Anderwood Jan 10, 2014 4:59 PM 1

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