Sugar snap peas are a cool season crop which means they grow best in cooler weather and don't do well in hot summer heat. They are one of the earliest crops that you can grow in your garden. They should be sowed as soon as the danger of frost has passed. On average, sugar snap peas take 60 days to harvest after your planting date, so you can also sow them in the fall 60 days before your first average frost. With a little care, it is fairly easy to grow sugar snap peas in Alabama.
Prepare your garden for your peas. Rototill to a depth of 3 to 4 inches and rake smooth with a garden rake.
Plant your peas when the danger of frost has passed at a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. They should be planted in single or double rows, with 18 to 24 inches between single rows and 8 to 10 inches between double rows.
Cultivate or hoe shallowly during the early stages of growth. Young peas can be damaged easily by cultivating or hoeing. Keep the soil loose around the sugar snap pea plant to allow adequate water and oxygen penetration into the soil.
Set up netting for the peas to climb as they get taller. Pound stakes in every 2 feet along the row of peas and fasten 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch bird netting to the stakes with 16 gauge galvanized wiring. Read the packaging of your sugar snap peas to determine how high they grow so you can make sure the netting is high enough.
Water the peas to keep them sufficiently moist--this is especially important during periods of warm, sunny weather.
Harvest the pea pods when they first start to swell but before the peas inside get real large. To harvest, grasp the pea pod by the stem and gently pull off. Keep harvesting every one to three days until the entire plant is harvested.
Things You Will Need
- Garden rake
- Cultivator or hoe
- 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch bird netting
- 16 gauge galvanized wire
- Wire cutter
- Garden hose
- Average last frost dates vary throughout Alabama. In the southern part of the state, the average last frost date is March 19, and in the northern part of the state, the average last frost date is around April 22. See Resources for typical last frost dates for specific metropolitan areas.
- Start your sugar snap peas indoors four to six weeks before the last frost in spring. Transplant into the ground after the threat of frost has ended. This will allow you to yield an earlier crop.
- If your soil has a high clay content, consider making raised beds to achieve a warmer soil temperature for faster germination. Also mix in some dehydrated manure or compost to improve drainage in heavy clay soils.
- Don't plant sugar snap peas so that they harvest in the middle of summer. Peas grow best in cool weather and will not yield a favorable crop during the hottest part of summer.
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