Snow peas & sugar snap peas

gardener_sandyJune 15, 2009

I've always grown shelling peas. I'm really ignorant about these edible pod peas but would like to learn. Can somebody tell me the difference between them and give me advice on some good varieties for zone 7 fall crops? Thanks for any help.


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Snap peas grow just like shelling peas, but have edible shells. Sugar Snap is a cultivar name for a snap pea that is excellent but a very large plant. gets over 5 ft tall in some instances. Snap peas are also available in dwarf doem just like shelling peas. Snow peas are a bit more tricky, for me less tolerant of conditions. These are used when the pod is flat, before any peas develop in the pod.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snap pea cultivars

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:53AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

I've rarely had success with peas because I have trouble getting the timing right so that I can harvest before the heat takes them out, but I'd like to comment that I absolutely love Sugar Snap's tall vines that I can harvest without having to crawl down the row on my hands and knees.

IMO, up at waist to shoulder height on the trellis is where vining things belong. :-)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:44PM
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LOL I just finished picking my first batch of green beans ("snaps" to us older Virginians) and I totally agree about the height of vining crops. These are Blue Lake bush beans and my head is still spinning from bending over them. Oh, but they are going to be so good tonight with dinner! Well worth the work.

Which varieties do you prefer? I'm looking for a good producer because I don't have a lot of room for them. My veggie patch is easy to keep watered and I can give them a bit of shade until the weather moderates some so I think I'll try them this year. Maybe I'll put out a block of a couple of kinds to see which does better for me and which we like best. That's always a fun experiment.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 3:13PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Sugar snaps can be eaten raw and can get a little 'fat' in the middle and still be good. Also, the peas inside are good and sweet when they form. Snow
peas have to be picked when still flat, and often get strings. In general I do not care for the flavor of the peas inside when the snow peas got too mature, so either save as seed, or I cooked them for the dogs. I cook snow peas and sugar snaps together in many dishes.

Just two days ago I pulled the last pea plants, the mammoth melting sugar edible pea pods. We grew lots of peas, so here is my report for the 08-09 pea season:

Sugar snaps (pole)
Sweet flavor, great raw in salads, can eat the peas inside, prolific and drama free unless it warms up.

Pea snaps Cascadia (bush)
Bush type peas but they benefit from support, tomato cages are ideal. Pretty good producer and tasty sweet snap peas. Peas inside also tasty.

Oregon sugar pod - snow peas (pole)
They do well in cool weather and get fairly large before they get peas inside. Once they get peas, they also develop string. Peas inside not so tasty, best to eat only pods unless saving seed. Big difference if planting in cold or spring like weather (OK if planted in November or December, but February it is too late in my zone).

Oregon sugar pod snow peas (bush)
Tall bush, likes tomato cage type support. Good producer, need to pick them a bit smaller than the pole snow pea version. These could be planted in succession, Nov, Dec, Jan.

Dwarf gray sugar pod (bush)
Again, a very tall bush, benefits from tomato cage support. Beautiful two tone purple flowers. They made it late into our garden, so perhaps colder weather works better for them, but other than the flowers they had no saving grace. They got fibrous when the pods were really small, the peas are not so good - I cooked them and gave them to the dogs.

Mammoth melting sugar peas, semi vining
I would treat this one as a pole. They are snow peas that get really wide and huge before getting fibrous and large peas inside. They are fairly warm weather tolerant.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:31PM
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queenofthemountain - SoCal 9b

Resurrecting this thread to see if there are any more opinions on snap pea varieties?

I have grown Sugar Snap and Super Sugar Snap the last 2 years. This year SS has gotten powdery mildew, and even before that I saw a lot of weirdly misshapen pods, which SSS did not have. The SSS tastes great and produced a ton and I will definitely plant it again, but I know there are various other snap peas out there. Anything else worth trying?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

Super Sugar Snap is awesome. If I had a proper garden this year I'd be growing it too. I'm container gardening this year, which is new for me, so I'm only growing smaller varieties while I get the hang of it.

I'm trying Cascadia Bush Snap for the first time this spring.

There's a variety called Sugar Lace that is supposed to be really dwarf, and an improved version, Sugar Lace II. I may try that one in the fall, or next year.

Years ago I lived in the upper Hudson Valley in NY, and Dwarf Grey Sugar did quite well for me there. I didn't have any disease on it or any other issues beyond picking it soon enough. This pea is an older variety. It hates hot weather. As a true snow pea DGS is meant to be picked when the pods are small, smooth and perfectly flat. If you can feel bumps from developing peas, they are too far gone. As cabrita says, if you let them get past that point, you won't enjoy them. They are not and never will be as sweet as a sugar snap. I thought they were nice when picked properly tiny and cooked "al dente."

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:57AM
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I have questions:

1- How can you freez young, full tender sugaar snaps with pods, or
shelled(while very tender)? Do you need to blanch them?

2- I have seen in Asian markets selling snow pea greens,
which is almost same as snaps. How do you prepare them?

I love fresh young SNPs. I can eat them off the vine, in salads, omletts, stir fry.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 6:08AM
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Eat them fresh, much better. If you must freeze them, blanch for 1 minute or til they change "color". I don't care for the frozen ones, kinda tasteless. You might could mix them in a stir-fry.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:36AM
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i tried Sugar Sprint this year which is smaller and not as delicious as Super Sugar Snap but is only about 2 or 3 feet tall and stringless. i like to let SSS get really fat before harvest, is it just me or do they seem to get sweeter that way? The pods must be strung at any age but it is so much easier to string a fresh pea.

queenofthemountain, did you get to taste any of the Sugar Snaps to compare to Super Sugar Snap? i have heard others say the taste is better? But also what your experience confirms, no resistance to PM.

i was suprised to discover that snap peas come in yellow and purple. i know Sylvia grew some Golden Sweet snow peas recently and i just received some Opal Creek and Sugar Magnolia seeds. Anyone else trying any of the colored podded peas?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:16PM
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oops, hit the send button too fast, also wanted to mention that Opal Creek is supposed to be very good for pea greens. According to the pea's creator, Mr. Alan Kapuler, "the pea leaves are sweeter than any other we have found, so far".

try them cyrus!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:22PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi All

I am growing Super Sugar Snap from Kitchen Garden seeds and they are very good! Very productive, I have to pick every day, no mildew problems. They took the freeze that we had and the hot temperatures that we are having now.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:57PM
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Rebsie Fairholm is an amateur pea breeder in England. i think Annie posted a link to her blog in another thread. She is posting again after a year's hiatus. i really enjoy reading about her projects and thought you might, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Daughter of the Soil

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:06PM
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some of my snap peas that are not even 2ft tall, are flowering.
Maybe they are bush type? Or maybe it suddenly got too warm?
We had unusually cold March, then unusually warm April, not very good
for cool crops, I think.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:32AM
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subrosa(PNW7 Canada)

I planted my peas on a six foot trellis. They are 5-6 ft tall now and just starting to bloom but only near the top. If they grow much taller, I'm afraid they will bend over and snap off. If I cut off the top of the vine will it force blossoms lower down? I see a couple of peas forming now - can hardly wait to taste them.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:44AM
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I happened to mention to DH that I'd like to grow some peas this year, thinking of the kind you shell out ( English Peas), which the grandkids love. Instead he bounced right out to the garden and put in a huge bed of sugar snaps, that are starting to bear like gangbusters. Except for snacking on a few raw ones, and putting them in the occasional stir fry, what do I do with them? Does anyone have any recipes?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:26PM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

I like them raw in any kind of salad (in quantity, sometimes I think I could replace the lettuce with them!) or steamed briefly for a cooked vegetable.

I have thought about, but haven't tried, replacing the green beans in my vinaigrette based potato salad with them.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:49AM
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