The Complete Guide to Growing Sugar Snap Peas In 6 Easy Steps!

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I adore growing sugar snap peas! They are the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy. Eating them is a heavenly delight. These little green pods also pack loads of flavor and nutrition, and growing sugar snap peas is a doddle for even the most novice gardener.

But what’s the best way to grow sugar snap peas?

And what insights can we share to make growing them a snap?

Well – here are a few pointers that can help.

What Are Sugar Snap Peas?

Sugar snap peas are easy and delicious garden crops. And they’re wicked easy to grow! Here’s why. Peas need fewer fertilizers than other crops. They’re also famous for their resilience. They rarely suffer from any insect pests. And we’ve never lost our pea harvest due to disease or blight.

Sugar snap peas are a type of pea that belongs to the legume family. They are a cross between snow peas and garden peas, resulting in a delicious combination of flavor and texture.

Unlike traditional garden peas, sugar snap peas are perfect for eating whole, including the pod. The pods of sugar snap peas are tender and plump, and the immature peas inside provide tremendously satisfying juicy sweetness bursts when bitten into.

Sugar snap peas are delicious raw and taste extravagant in salads for extra crunch. They can be stir-fried, steamed, or tossed in yummy homemade dishes like soups and stews.

But there’s a big problem. At least half of my sugar snap peas don’t even make it into the kitchen. They’re the perfect energy-boosting snack to graze on when working in the garden!

In addition to their delicious taste, sugar snap peas also offer several nutritional benefits:

  • An excellent source of dietary fiber, aiding digestion and overall gut health.
  • They are low in calories and fat, making them the perfect choice for those watching their weight.
  • Rich in vitamins A, C, and K and essential minerals like potassium and iron.

Sugar snap peas are one of the first crops of spring, perfect as a salad ingredient. This low-maintenance crop is also relatively easy to cultivate. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing your favorite type of peas can be a rewarding experience.

Growing Sugar Snap Peas In Six Easy Steps

Sugar snap peas are ready to grow as soon as the risk of frost has passed in early spring. You could even sow them slightly before that time – since baby pea plants are surprisingly resilient to cold weather.

(You can also grow sugar snap peas in early autumn if you have at least six to eight weeks before your first fall frost.)

No matter when you sow your peas, here’s how to grow them in six easy steps.

  • Step 1. Prepare the garden soil’s top six inches by removing all weeds, rocks, and debris. Peas are easy to grow. But they love soft, fluffy garden soil. And they hate competition!
  • Step 2. Plant your peas roughly one-and-a-half inches deep in the soil. Plant them in single or double rows, spaced one inch apart.
  • Step 3. Plant additional rows if you wish. Are you sowing more than one or two rows? Then provide around one to two feet between rows.
  • Step 4. Peas are nitrogen-fixing crops. We find they usually grow perfectly without fertilizer. But if you want to boost your peas, try using some inoculant. Nitrogen-fixing inoculants help peas grow!
  • Step 5. Water your peas around once per week. Monitor the soil to ensure it’s moist. If it ever feels dry, give them a cool drink. (Water the garden soil near the plant’s base. Not the leaves!)
  • Step 6. Your sugar snap peas will develop to their mature length in around six to eight weeks. The peapods will appear thick and heavy when ready to eat. Get your garden salad bowl or hibachi grill ready!

We also have many sugar snap pea growing tips to help make the above six steps more successful.

They are as follows.

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06/13/2024 02:32 am GMT

How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas – Everything You Need

As with any plant, sugar snap peas need the perfect conditions to produce a bountiful spring crop. We advise paying attention to every detail, from sowing your peas at the right time, providing the ideal growing conditions, and nurturing your plants during every phase.

So, to help you along the way, we’ve covered every step to ensure you have a successful harvest!

Where to Plant Sugar Snap Peas

You’ll need to find the perfect garden space for your sugar snap peas to flourish. I’ve erred by planting sugar snap peas in the wrong spot once or twice. And believe me – they were not happy!

Sugar snap peas love the sun, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least six hours of sun daily.

Good air circulation is also ideal to help keep fungal diseases such as powdery mildew at bay. For this reason, avoid planting sugar snap peas close to a wall or solid fence.

What Temperature Do Sugar Snap Peas Grow Best In?

Regarding temperature, sugar snap peas are kind of like Goldilocks. They don’t like extremes of temperature! Sugar snap peas grow best in temperatures between 55°F (13°C) and 75°F (24°C).

So if you live in a region with a warm climate – then you’re in luck! Sugar snap peas will feel right at home in your garden, and you may get a crop from spring into summer. Under the right conditions, sugar snap peas can also produce delicious pods in the fall.

For those of us in hotter climates, there is a shorter window of opportunity to harvest sugar snap peas.
When the weather gets too hot, the plants fail to thrive, and the pods might lose their sweetness. A spell of hot weather can also signal the end of the cropping period, so it pays to get your sugar snap peas planted early.

Not too early, though, as cold snaps can also be a problem with peas! A sharp frost or light snow can damage tender young pea shoots, although they can survive a light frost. Protecting your plants with fleece or cloches can protect them from frost – and potentially boost growth rates.

Sugar snap peas are cool-season crops. They grow perfectly in fifty to sixtyish-degree weather. You can sow their seeds in early spring when the soil thaws. They also make perfect fall crops. Sow peas around eight weeks before your first fall frost so they have time to develop.

What Is The Best Soil For Sugar Snap Peas?

Sugar snap peas are not high-maintenance divas when it comes to soil preparation. All they ask for is well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If you give them that, they’ll jump for joy in your vegetable garden.

The goal is to create loose, fertile, healthy soil that allows the roots to go deep in search of nutrients. My sugar snap peas grow best in my no-till vegetable beds, where they benefit from a layer of compost on the soil surface at the start of the growing season.

Can Sugar Snap Peas Grow In Pots?

Dwarf sugar snap peas are compact plants that thrive in containers or pots. Pole varieties can also work in containers. They are an excellent option for containers on a patio or balcony, adding vertical interest to your growing space. I love growing a few containers of sugar snap peas in pots near our outdoor kitchen for easy harvesting.

However, there are two potential problems you need to consider before growing sugar snap peas in containers.

Firstly, you will need to provide just the right level of water. Sugar snap peas need consistent moisture to grow tall and strong. But they do not like having water-logged roots. Ensure your pots have good drainage to prevent soggy soil and consider using water-retaining crystals to keep the soil damp.

Secondly, some sugar snap peas may start small, but they may climb! You’ll need to provide a framework for the peas to grow up – either in the pot or alongside it. Ensure to secure a trellis to a fixed structure. Otherwise, your pea pot may topple over.

Growing sugar snap peas in pots is easy. But not all sugar snap peas grow the same! Most cultivars we see are tall climbers that reach over five feet. There are also shorter cultivars – like Sugar Daddy Snap and Sugar Ann. These stout, bushy peas are the best for growing in pots. Taller varieties can also work – but will require more support.

When to Plant Sugar Snap Pea Seeds

Timing is everything when it comes to planting sugar snap peas, and the best time to plant them will depend on the climate in your area. These peas are cool weather crops, so you’ll want to sow the seeds when the soil temperature reaches around 45°F (7°C). In most regions, this means planting them in early spring.

A good rule of thumb when growing sugar snap peas is to have the crop harvested before the heat of summer hits. This timing means it may be tricky to dodge late frosts, which can knock back tender young plants. (If a surprise frost comes in your forecast, don’t stress. You can cover the plant with a cup or pot.)

If you are lucky enough to have a long, mild spring with warm weather, you have ample flexibility in sowing dates. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Once the ground is no longer frozen, it’s rumble time!

You need to be more creative with timing in areas with late frosts, hot summers, or both. (Yes, that’s me!) Sow your peas in pots a few weeks before the last frost date in your area, and plant them out under fleece or cloches to keep them warm in cooler temperatures.

How to Sow Your Sugar Snap Pea Seeds

There are two options when sowing peas from seed. They can be started indoors in containers to get an earlier harvest – or directly planted in the ground once all risk of frost has passed.

Whichever method you use – prepare the soil first, ensuring it’s nice and loose. When sowing in pots, use good-quality organic potting compost – peas germinate well, so it isn’t necessary to splash out on expensive seed compost!

(We find that any halfway decent potting soil or compost mix works wonders for peas. They aren’t picky.)

When growing peas, accurate spacing is the key to a successful harvest. When planted closely together, they will support each other as they grow, but they need good airflow to prevent powdery mildew.

Traditionally, peas get sown 1 or 2 inches apart, but many gardeners now plant peas using the multi-sowing method. This multi-sowing option means planting three seeds in one hole, spacing each clump about eight to ten inches apart.

The advantage of this technique is that each group of three plants will cling to each other as they grow, but you will still have good airflow between the clumps.

Whether you sow individual or multi-sown peas, the technique is the same. Make a hole or trench around one – to one-and-a-half inches below soil level, and drop in the seeds. Cover them gently with soil, pat them down, and water them deeply.

Peas will germinate in temperatures of 40 F or above, but the best and fastest germination rates occur at around 75 F. This temperature range is why many people prefer to plant snap peas in pots indoors, as it is a great way to give yourself a head start in the spring.

Do Sugar Snap Peas Need To Be Soaked Before Planting?

Soaking sugar snap pea seeds before planting is unnecessary. But it can give them a little head start. You can dunk the pea seeds in water for a few hours or overnight to boost your peas. This water-dunking process will soften the seed coat and help speed up germination.

Read More!

How to Care for Sugar Snap Peas

So, you’ve got little tiny sugar snap peas poking up through the soil – congratulations! The next step is to keep your plants happy and healthy by providing the perfect conditions for them to thrive. And don’t worry. You’re not in for a long haul here – within a matter of weeks, you’ll be harvesting your first crop!
Here are some of our favorite maintenance tips to help.

Do Sugar Snap Peas Need to Climb?

Providing a climbing frame for your sugar snap pea plants is a surefire way to boost your harvest. Without sufficient support, the plants will collapse onto the ground, potentially damaging the stems.

Sugar snap peas love to climb. And they’ll invariably reach for the sky if given the chance. A healthy plant can reach heights of six feet tall or more! They need plenty of things to grab onto with their tendrils, so provide a trellis or netting for them to clamber up.

Unlike beans, peas cannot get a good grip on vertical poles. If you use bamboo poles or stakes to support your pea plants, it pays to use pea guides to provide additional support for climbing pea tendrils.

Sugar snap peas benefit from support – even the dwarf and bush cultivars. We usually try planting our taller sugar snap peas along a trellis or fence. A few garden stakes can work sufficiently for smaller bush-like cultivars. You can also create a DIY trellis for the peas to straddle by tying twine between sturdy wooden garden stakes.

How Much Water Do Sugar Snap Peas Need?

Sugar snap peas are not fans of drought! So it’s wise to keep them well-hydrated. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged to avoid root rot.

The critical time for watering is when young plants first get planted. They need water often until their root system becomes well-developed.

Once your peas establish in late spring, it is best to water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and how quickly the soil dries out. If you are growing sugar snap peas in pots, it may be necessary to water them every other day.

harvesting ripe sugar snap peas in springtime garden
Sugar snap peas couldn’t be easier to water. One inch of weekly water works perfectly. The main thing is to ensure the soil doesn’t get too dry. One of our editors from New England hardly waters their peas because it’s usually rainy that part of the year in the early spring.

Do Sugar Snap Peas Need Fertilizer?

Sugar snap peas aren’t too demanding when it comes to fertilizer. They generally don’t require much additional feeding if the soil is already rich in organic matter.

However, if your soil lacks nutrients, you can boost them by applying a balanced organic fertilizer. But don’t go overboard – a little sprinkle here and there will do the trick.

(And if you add fertilizer – do a soil test first to see which fertilizer will help the most. Never guess!)

How Long Do Sugar Snap Peas Take To Grow?

Sugar snap peas take about 60 to 70 days from sowing to harvest. That’s right – just two months after starting peas from seed, you’ll dine on your first pods!

If your pea plants seem sluggish to get going, it may be that the weather is not quite warm enough yet. As soon as some sunnier weather arrives, you’ll be amazed at how rapidly things get going!

How Long Will Sugar Snap Peas Produce?

The good news is that sugar snap peas are generous producers. Once they start producing pods, they’ll keep going for several weeks.

As with any legume, regular harvests will keep the plants producing longer. I try harvesting my sugar snap peas every few days or even daily at peak harvest.

When to Pick Sugar Snap Peas

Timing is crucial when harvesting sugar snap peas – you must pick them at the perfect moment when they’re at their sweetest and most tender.

Look for pods that are bright green and plump. The peas should slightly fill out the pods. And they should feel firm when squeezed. At this point, they are ready to harvest.

If you come across any past their best, pick them anyway, and dispose of them on the compost heap. This pea-discarding strategy will encourage the plant to keep producing a bumper harvest for longer.


Thanks so much for reading our guide about growing sugar snap peas!

Sugar snap peas are the perfect cold-weather crop for new gardeners.

They’re straightforward to cultivate, don’t require much fertilizer, and taste delicious!

We also have a few questions for you!

  • Are you going to grow sugar snap peas this year?
  • If so – are you going for a dwarf or climbing variety?
  • And if you have experience growing sugar snap or snow peas – can you share your favorite sugar pea-growing tips? What works for you?
  • Do you want to grow sugar snap peas in the spring? Or the fall?

Thanks so much for reading.

And we hope to hear from you!

Until then – have a great day.

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