Mangetout includes all varieties of peas that have edible pods, such as snow peas and sugar snap peas. Unlike shelling peas, mangetout have flat pods that are picked before the pea seeds inside are fully formed. Eaten raw or cooked briefly to be added to Chinese and other dishes, mangetout have most of the same requirements as traditional shelling peas but less of the work after harvest as there is no need to remove the peas from the pod.
Prepare the garden bed in fall before the ground freezes. Loosen the soil to a 6-inch depth and perform a soil pH test, available from garden centers and extension offices. Add ground dolomitic limestone to the soil if it is acidic.
Lay a 3-inch layer of compost on the bed in spring once the soil is thawed enough to work. Till the compost into the top 6 inches of the soil with a hoe or power tiller.
Plant mangetout seeds four to six weeks before the last expected frost date in your area or when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Sow each seed 1/2 inches deep and 2 inches apart in rows. Space the rows 18 inches apart.
Install a trellis behind each row of mangetout after planting but before the seeds germinate. Place the trellis within 4 inches of where the peas are sown so they don't need to travel far to climb.
Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants once they sprout to preserve soil moisture.