As the weather warms and the ground thaws, it’s time to start thinking about eating and maybe even planting spring peas. By performing the small act of planting some seeds, you’ll be rewarded with climbing tendrils and sweet snacks that both you and your kids will love.
Before you plant your spring peas, it’s important to understand the different types. Yes, there are different types of these veggies!
While there are hundreds of different individual varieties of peas available – including purple and yellow pods – there are three main categories: snap, snow, and shelling.
Often called sugar snap peas, these crunchy little veggies are seriously sweet! Since they’re one of my favorite spring treats, I find it hard to resist eating all of them as I’m harvesting.
When some do make it to the kitchen, I love to pair them in a salad with mint and lemon. The freshness of the mint and the sourness of the lemon balance out the sweetness of the peas.
Snow peas differ from snap peas in their pod shape and pea size. Snow peas have flatter pods that you should harvest when their peas are still small.
They taste similar to snap peas, but they’re a bit less sweet.
A great way to use snow peas is in a simple stir fry. Saute some minced onion, ginger, and garlic in oil on medium heat. Once these become fragrant, add in snow peas, sesame oil, and soy sauce and cook just until the peas are warm – about two minutes.
Also known as shell peas or English peas, these plants produce large, sweet peas encased in a tough pod. Unlike snap and snow peas, you don’t eat the entire pod.
These peas do take some work to eat since you’ll have to remove the individual peas from their pod by hand. However, this is a great activity for kids or a reason to get a group of friends together.
One of the best ways to prepare shelling peas is to simply saute them in some oil. They’re great with roasted or mashed potatoes.
How to Plant Peas
No matter what type of peas you choose to plant, it’s easy to grow your own.
These plants like cool weather, so plant seeds as soon as you can prepare the soil. Depending on where you live, this is typically some time in February, March, or April.
Plant seeds two inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Once the pea plants are a few inches tall, they’ll start looking for something to hold on to. So, it’s a good idea to provide a trellis. You can weave a string between two sticks or t-posts, or you can build a teepee structure with bamboo or sticks.
About two months after planting your seeds, you’ll start seeing peas that are ready to harvest. Make sure to pick the peas a few times a week, as the pods mature quickly!
Snap to It
Now that you know about peas and how to grow them, it’s time to get started adding these to your garden. Even if you can’t grow your own, look for peas at local markets during April-June.
If you don’t know it already, you’ll soon learn that a fresh pea is one of spring’s sweetest treats!