How to Grow Heirloom Snap Peas

When it comes to finding early spring plants for your veggie garden, peas are a no-brainer. Growers love these easy-to-grow plants, but more varieties are available than the well-known sugar snap. Heirloom cultivars are a great choice for gardeners who want colorful legumes with a historical connection and rich flavor. 

Read on for our handy guide to growing heirloom peas!

Choose Your Peas

Eeeny, meeny, miney, moe! Whether you carefully choose your peas or just close your eyes and point at the catalog, there are many varieties out there to tickle your fancy. Do you want to grow huge towers of pea vines like the Tall Telephone or are you looking for weird colors like King Tut Purple or Golden Sweet Snow Peas? Whatever the draw, there’s a pea plant for you! 

Check your local garden center for starts, or you can always find the seeds of hundreds of varieties available online! Just make sure to check each contender for space, light, and water requirements, as these can vary between cultivars.

Popular varieties of heirloom peas include:

  • American Wonder Pea
  • Arbogast Sugar Pea
  • Blue Pod Capucijner Pea
  • Carlin Pea
  • Champion of England Pea
  • Dutch Gray Pea
  • Golden Sweet Snow Pea
  • Kelvedon Wonder Pea
  • King Tut Purple Pea
  • Magnum Bonum Pea
  • Marrowfat Pea
  • Prince Albert Pea
  • Prussian Blue Pea
  • Risser Sickle Pea
  • Tall Telephone Pea
  • Tom Thumb Pea

Pick Your Place

You can plant peas in the ground or in containers like GeoPot Fabric Pots. Consider your space and the plant’s needs to determine if you’ve got the perfect bed for your plant or need to stick ‘em in a container.

Don’t forget to factor in sun and water. Peas need around 4 hours of full sun and 4 hours of partial sun per day to grow well and require a spot where excess water can drain to avoid problems like root rot. 

Stick Them In the Soil

It’s time to get your plants in the ground! There are two main ways to purchase your peas: seeds and starts. Either way, consider giving yourself a headstart with our snap pea grow kit

Planting Seeds

To plant snap pea seeds, poke a hole in the soil about 1” deep and place your seed,

covering lightly with soil. Water and keep the soil moist until the seed sprouts.

Planting Starts

For snap pea starts, choose ones that are green, healthy, and stout. Pull the plant from the container, lightly and gently tease and fluff its roots, and then place it in your GeoPot or chosen spot. Be sure to bury the plant deep enough that no roots are exposed!

Maintain Plant Health

Caring for your bunch of Tom Thumb Peas can be a challenge. There are a lot of facets to proper plant care, especially for outdoor grows. Don’t forget to keep these essential plant care tips in mind:

Support

Peas are vining plants that require a support system to grow. Be sure to install Trellis Netting immediately to give your peas the support they need. Once your plant is growing strong, you’ll want to gently guide new vines through your chosen trellis for extra support as needed.

Watering

Peas are cool weather plants that need the right amount of water to keep from drying out. Water your plant every two or three days to keep the soil evenly moist. If the plant dries out more quickly due to hot weather, water every day as needed.

If you’re using a pot with superior aeration like GeoPot Fabric Pots or GeoPlanter Fabric Raised Beds, you may require more frequent watering. Always do a soil check! Stick your finger in up to your first knuckle. You’ll know your plant is thirsty if your finger comes out dry! 

Fertilizing

All plants need fertilizer, and heirloom peas are no exception. Be sure to implement your favorite feeders for your new grow, and if you don’t have a go-to fertilizer, consider something organic and easy-to-use like Geoflora BLOOM.

Because peas add nitrogen to the soil instead of taking it, they need a fertilizer with a higher level of phosphorus and potassium and a lower level of nitrogen. Be sure to check the NPK ratios on your fertilizer of choice and follow the application instructions!

Pest Control

It sucks when you work hard to grow veggies and they disappear before you can enjoy them! Keep pests out of your grow with an integrated pest management program that includes multiple pest control methods for the best results.

Use physical barriers like netting and fences to keep out large pests like rabbits, deer, and bird. For smaller threats like bugs, use an organic chemical pest control like ECOWORKS EC or Sierra Natural Science to treat and prevent infestations of creepy-crawlies, including gnats, whiteflies, aphids, and mites.

Manicuring

Snap peas don’t require regular pruning, but if you want to encourage branching and higher yields, you can prune the top few inches of your plant once it reaches above a foot in height. Trim at the leaf node and give it a few extra days, and the plant should start to branch out and continue its upward growth. 

Don’t forget to prune or trim leaves and stalks that are yellowing or showing signs of disease!

Harvest Your Fruits

Our favorite part of growing heirloom peas is the part where you get to eat them! Harvest your peas while they are still tender, when the pod is the correct color and just starting to swell. Be sure to check the instructions for your specific cultivar. Don’t leave ripe peas on the vine, as they can grow tough and inedible and discourage further flowering on the plant. Plus, leaving peas on the vine can attract pests like squirrels and birds!

It’s a Snap!

Growing heirloom peas doesn’t have to be complicated. Meet all the needs of your grow with a snap pea grow kit from GardenTap! With everything you need but the seeds and soil, you’ll have an easy, no-effort grow to feed your family. 

And don’t forget to check out our other grow kits for more options!

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