About Sugar Snap Pea: Dr. Carl Lamborn, a Ph.D. horticulturalist from the University of Idaho, developed Sugar Snap as a result of his research in new types of peas for commercial food processing. He ended up with this sensational new pea, the first of the sugar snap varieties, by crossing a thick shelled English pea with a snow pea. Sugar Snap won the presigious AAS Gold Medal award in 1979.
Sugar Snap Pea Germination: Because peas thrive in cool weather and do not transplant well, they should be planted outside 4-6 weeks before the last frost or when the average soil temperature reaches at least 40 degrees F. If planting later, remember that most peas won't tolerate weather above 75 degrees F. If planting peas in your soil for the first time, keep in mind that a powder inoculant of beneficial bacteria should coat the seeds. Plant the peas 2" apart and 2" deep in light soil and full sun; plant in double rows 6-8" apart to allow for a trellis. For an early spring crop, plant in the same manner in the fall. Peas do not do well when planted near onions or garlic.
Growing Sugar Snap Pea Seeds: As the vines begin growing, a trellis will support their climbing habit; any kind of support 5-6' tall should be sufficient. Before they bloom, pea plants need to be kept moist but not wet; after blooming, slightly increase the watering. Remove weeds carefully to avoid disturbing the plants; mulch may be helpful to conserve moisture and control weeds. Sugar Snap is tolerant of wilt, but not mildew.
Harvesting Sugar Snap Pea: Snap peas taste best when harvested as soon as both the pod and the peas are filled out; test their ripeness by breaking them in two. If they snap cleanly, they are ready to harvest. Sugar Snap peas freeze very well.
Saving Sugar Snap Pea Seeds: To save seed from garden peas, let the pods mature fully on the vine; they will turn brown, and the peas should rattle inside when they have dried completely. Pick them individually, or pull the entire plant and hang it upside down in a warm, dry location to finish drying. Shell the peas after 1-2 weeks of drying. Store the seed in a cool, dry place for up to three years.
Detailed Sugar Snap Pea Info: Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon. Annual. 70 days. 135 seeds per oz. 48-72" height. 2-4" spacing. Produces 4-5" edible pods.