Sugar Snap Peas 101: How To Plant, Grow, & Harvest

Sugar Snap Peas 101: How To Plant, Grow, & Harvest

Sugar snap peas are a cool-season vegetable. Snap peas are intended to be harvested and consumed with both the pods and the peas when grown. Snap peas are delicious prepared in stir fry with other vegetables or served raw in salads. Since ancient times, sugar snap peas have been consumed by people. 

Originally, they were eaten straight from the pod. Sugar snap peas are a good source of vitamin B1, which helps your body convert food into energy and maintain a healthy nervous system. Sugar snap peas can be planted as early as February in some areas, depending on whether the soil temperature has increased sufficiently to cause the earth to thaw and become workable. Peas are one of the very first crops of spring.

The early spring through late summer growing period for sugar snap peas is quite brief, with an alternative early fall opportunity for some regions. Even while young pea plants can withstand a final frost or a light snowfall, the patch may fail due to an unanticipated week of intense cold or moist soil from snowmelt, necessitating a round of replanting. Read on to learn all about how to grow sugar snap peas!

Optimal Growing Conditions For Sugar Snap Peas

Light & Temperature

These plants are relatively easy to grow, but they do have some specific light and temperature requirements. Sugar snap peas need full sun in order to produce an abundance of pods. 

They also prefer cooler temperatures and will not tolerate heat well. For this reason, it is best to plant sugar snaps in the spring or fall. With proper care, these plants will produce a tasty crop of sweet peas that can be enjoyed fresh or cooked.


Sugar snap peas need well-drained, loamy soil with a pH of 6.0 - 7.5. They also need plenty of organic matter, such as compost or manure. The best way to prepare the soil for planting is to till it to a depth of 12 inches and add the organic matter. 

You should also make sure that the soil is evenly moist before planting the seeds. Once the plants have sprouted, you should water them regularly so that the soil doesn't dry out. 


Like all plants, sugar snap peas have specific water requirements. The amount of water that your plants will need will depend on factors such as the climate and the type of soil in which they are grown. In general, sugar snap peas should be watered once a week, giving the soil time to dry out between watering. 

However, during hotter weather or when the plants are actively growing, you may need to water them more frequently. If you notice that your plants are wilting or their leaves are turning yellow, this is a sign that they need more water. 

Nutrients & Fertilizer

To get the most out of your sugar snap peas, it is important to use the right fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 is ideal. This will provide the plants with the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium they need to grow strong and produce plenty of peas. It is also important to apply fertilizer regularly, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

How To Plant & Grow Sugar Snap Peas

Choose A Location

Plan the placement of your rows of peas so that they are in full sun to yield pods with concentrated sweetness. Make sure the planting area drains effectively because peas are particularly susceptible to root rot in wet soils. If there is a problem with snowmelt or pooling rain, raised beds are a wonderful approach to prevent damp soil.

Prepare The Soil

Before planting, incorporate organic material into the soil, such as compost, wood ash, and bone meal. Peas add nitrogen to the soil to benefit the nearby plants, but they also need phosphate and potassium to grow.

Plant The Seeds

Rows of pea seeds should be spaced two inches apart and one inch deep. Rows should be spaced one to two feet apart. Add a thin layer of soil, then gently push it down. Alternatively, you can scatter the seeds over the garden bed, cover with fine topsoil, and then plant. Water your new plant well. Keep dogs and pets away from newly planted sugar snap peas.

Build A Trellis

As soon as the tendrils start to sprout and protrude through the earth, vining peas like sugar snaps—which may reach up to six feet—need a support structure. Your sugar snap peas can be supported vertically using a tomato cage, an improvised chicken wire fence, or some twine stretched between posts.

Add Mulch

Once tendrils have appeared above ground, a thin layer of mulch (straw or compost work well) can be applied to assist control weed growth and soil temperature. Any weeds you see, pull them by hand.

Harvesting Sugar Snap Peas

You can begin selecting fresh sugar snap peas off the vine for some late spring or late fall eating once your peas begin to blossom. While some varieties can be harvested a week or even two after the blossoms first show, others may take longer.

You'll know you've waited too long if your pea pods begin to develop brown, fibrous veins. To promote more production, remove these "over-ripe" pods from the plant. Although the larger peas in these pods are frequently still edible, it's possible that the pods themselves are too stringy to be enjoyable.

Harvest continuously until the first heavy winter frost kills your plants or the summer heat starts drying up your vines. Pull the plants from the soil and give it a good till after your late spring harvest. Plant a summer vegetable that loves nitrogen, such as chard or beets, in their stead.

Common Sugar Snap Pea Pests & Diseases

There are many pests and diseases that can affect sugar snap peas. Some of the most common include aphids, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew. Aphids are small, sucking insects that can cause damage to leaves and stems. Cucumber beetles are destructive pests that can transmit plant diseases as they feed on leaves and fruits. 

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes white or grayish-white powder to form on the leaves of plants. It is important to be aware of these potential threats in order to keep your sugar snap pea plants healthy. If you notice any signs of damage or disease, it is important to take action immediately. 

Remove affected leaves and dispose of them in order to prevent the spread of the problem. Be sure to monitor your plants regularly so that you can catch problems early and take steps to resolve them quickly.

Review: How To Grow Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a type of edible pod pea that is popular in many home gardens. These peas are easy to grow and can be harvested in as little as 60 days. When planting sugar snap peas, it is important to choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Peas prefer cool weather, so it is best to plant them in the spring or fall. 

Sugar snap peas can be direct seeded or started indoors and then transplanted outdoors. If you are starting the peas indoors, sow the seeds in pots or cell packs filled with potting mix. Sow the seeds about 1 inch deep and keep the soil moist but not wet. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them so that they are spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. 

When transplanting seedlings outdoors, make sure to harden them off first by slowly acclimating them to the outside conditions over a period of 7-10 days. When ready to plant, set the seedlings out about 2 inches apart in rows that are 18-24 inches apart. Sugar snap peas are climbing plants and will need some sort of support such as a trellis or fence. 

Keep the plants well watered during dry periods and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Harvest the pods when they are plump and full but before the peas inside start to bulge out of the pods. Enjoy your sugar snap peas fresh, steamed, or stir-fried!