Snow Peas, also known as mangetout, are a fantastic crop to grow. Kids love them - in fact if you have kids and don’t grow enough, there is a risk that few will be left for the dinner table. They are beautiful picked and then eaten immediately!
I live in the sub-tropics and grow them year round, however; there is no doubt that yields are best during the cooler months - you should get good results during autumn, winter and spring.
All peas don’t like too much moisture. It is therefore important that the soil drains well. Heavy clay soils will need breaking up, but you should have success with most other soil types.
A pH of 6.5 is best for growing peas, so if your soil varies significantly from this, you will need to adjust it accordingly.
Snow Peas grow well with all Brassicas - brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussell sprouts.
I have had by far the most success by sowing seeds directly into the ground where I want them to grow. Sow the seeds approximately 2 to 3cm deep and about 10cm apart. I would recommend that rows are about 1m apart - particularly in warmer climates, peas are susceptible to fungal diseases. It is therefore important to ensure that there is good airflow between the plants - don’t overcrowd them.
Germinating seeds in punnets and then transplanting the seedlings is less successful - young seedlings are very delicate and do not always respond well to transplanting.
As always; the best part, and in this instance a very easy part. Simply pick when they are ready for you to eat - enjoy! Seriously though, the pods can be picked and eaten at any stage of their development, but most people pick the pod when it has become firm and crisp, but before the peas inside have fully formed.
Other things to Consider:
- Expect them to grow at least 1.8m high - they will need support in the form of some type of trellis.
- Don’t over-water them.
- I think that they are beautiful to eat. Unfortunately the local King Parrots agree with me! Keep an eye on them - you may need to “net” them to protect them from birds.
- All pea plants are legumes. This means that with the aid of specialised bacteria, they “fix” their own nitrogen. Therefore, when the plants have finished cropping, dig them back into the soil - this will help replenish nitrates in the soil.
Finally, If you sow new seeds every 4 to 5 weeks, you should have snow peas for the dinner table all year round.