IT WOULDN’T BE a vegetable garden without edible-pod peas, the closest thing to dessert that you can eat right in the garden. But why bother with varieties that need staking? Non-vining, shorter-stature varieties yield a faster harvest with much less work.
‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’ (60 days, about 24 inches tall) is perhaps the oldest of the lot, in commerce since Victorian times and in cultivation far longer. A bonus with this one: beautiful purple flowers (instead of the more common white) precede the peas. ‘Wando’ (68 days; introduced 1943; 24-30 inches tall) is especially recommended for Southern and coastal gardens, as it has not just cold-resistance (like all peas) but also can withstand some heat. I grow it in my New York State garden which is hours from the shore, by the way.
Many experts claim that ‘Sugar Ann’ (about 24 inches tall) is the best of all the short snap peas—and it’s certainly the earliest, as quick as 52 days to harvest. It was honored with an All-America Selection award in 1984 as a result. A row of each would mean peas for weeks. Imagine.