Which Early Peas Will You Plant in Your Garden


Peas of all types are among the most coveted of spring vegetables. Peas are a cool-season crop, best grown in spring or fall in most regions. The three main types of garden peas are based on pod type. Most varieties grow best when trellised or trained on a fence.

Green peas — also called English, pod, or shell peas — are best picked just an hour or two before serving before their sugars can convert to starches. Be sure to plant plenty, because after all the shelling, there’s almost never enough to sate everyone. Tender, sweet spring peas are a treat that’s hard to get enough of.

Increasingly popular are snap peas, which bear plump, tender pods that are eaten pod and all. They’re gaining fans because they don’t need time-consuming shelling and no part of the pod goes to waste.

A favorite for years has been snow peas, which produce flat, tender pods that are eaten before the peas inside the pod swell to full size. They’re great in stir-fries and Asian dishes.

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
1-7 feet tall
Plant Width:
6-12 inches wide
Maestro Pea: Pisum sativum ‘Maestro’ is a 2-foot-tall shelling pea that is resistant to powdery mildew and enation virus, the two most serious disease problems to attack peas. 60 days
Oregon Giant Snow Pea: Pisum sativum ‘Oregon Giant’ grows 3 feet tall and bears tender, flat pods on disease-resistant plants. 60 days
Sugar Ann Pea: Pisum sativum ‘Sugar Ann’ needs no staking. The 2-foot-tall plants bear 3-inch pods. 52 days
Sugar Snap Pea: Pisum sativum ‘Sugar Snap’ is the granddaddy of snap pea varieties and still one of the best. The 6-foot-tall vines produce extra-sweet peas and pods, which have a tough string that must be removed before eating. 68 days
Wando Pea: Pisum sativum ‘Wando’ is an heirloom shelling pea with good heat tolerance. Plants grow 3 feet tall. 68 days
Harvest Tips

Pick shelling peas when pods are full and rounded, but before the peas inside become tough and starchy. Harvest snap peas when pods first start to fatten but aren’t completely full. Some varieties have a tough string along the pod suture that must be removed before eating the entire pod. Harvest snow peas when pods are still flat and the seeds inside are small and undeveloped. If the peas inside enlarge too much, harvest and shell them similar to English peas.


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