why plant peas you have to stake?

pea planting in raised bedsIT 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.

  1. Louise says:

    Is Sugar Ann a good choice as a fall pea? For the first time, I’m considering planting peas for an autumn harvest. I live in Central New York and I’m not quite sure with would be the best time to plant my seeds.

  2. margaret says:

    Welcome, Louise. Any of the shorter-stature peas like that take many fewer days to grow to harvest size, so yes, a good choice. Hope to see you again soon.

  3. chigal says:

    My peas won’t grow! This must be a common lament from first-time pea planters. Half of them have sprouted, but the rest are waiting for more friendly weather. Even those that are growing are pretending not to, sitting there fingernail-high with the spinach (which also has had its first two leaves for about two weeks), taunting me.

    1. margaret says:

      Perhaps, Chigal, you have been in my garden surveying the situation? Exactly as you describe it…*so* frustrating.

  4. LuLu says:

    What a great site you have. I enjoy it very much. I read you new book thanks to my local library. What is that tool you are using to plant the peas? I’ve never seen anything like this before. Is it homemade or can I purchase this?

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, LuLu. It’s a dibber, also called a dibble, mostly used for planting small bulbs and big seeds. Sort of a thick stock with a pointed end and a comfy short handle/grip. If you look it up online, you’ll find many styles/sizes/prices.

  5. Heidi says:

    I loved the Sugar Ann I planted! They did take longer than I expected – planted on March 20, sprouted on April 10, and started harvesting last week of May through middle of June. For most of the plants it was over 70 days. We had a very wet, very cloudy (AND NOT TO MENTION SLIGHTLY DEPRESSING) spring, though. I bet with average or above average sun they would have blossomed faster.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Heidi. Looking forward to pea-planting season in another six weeks or so here. And I do love the ‘Sugar Ann’ variety.

  6. Heidi says:

    Yes, maybe earlier than that! This winter has been really weird. I think I’m going to try some English shelling peas this year. Is there a variety that you recommend?

  7. Gigi says:

    Is is truly OK to plant bush snaps that close together? I usually plant pole snaps just to economize on space but when staked they shade other plants and would rather use bush.

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