Ever notice you have a darling plant in your garden each year? The best producer or the prettiest flowers or one that just simply surprised you? Growing snow peas from seed in our 2020 pandemic garden ended up being my very favorite experience of all the crops we grew.
Oh, how I loved seeing my youngest daughter excited to snack on a snow pea pod fresh from the plant.
I loved how excited my oldest daughter was to see new snow pea flowers blossoming each day!
And, I loved the delicate sweetness of these tender and mild vegetables. How great they tase raw, steamed, stir-fried, or sauteed.
Growing snow peas in the home garden is easy and very rewarding. Keep reading to learn how to grow snow peas from seeds.
What Do Snow Peas Look Like?
Reminiscent of traditional snap peas, snow peas have a thin, flat pod. Small bumps may appear when the peas start to grow. Pick them while the pods are flat and about three or four inches long.
If left on the plant too long, the pods will start to plump up as the plant focuses on making seeds instead of more vegetables. Pick frequently for a bigger yield!
What Do Snow Pea Seeds Look Like?
Snow peas seeds look very much like snap pea seeds, but snow pea seeds are generally fatter and a bit bigger.
Most are a pale shade of green, but some may have other hues, such as the light pink shading of Beauregarde Purple Podded Snow Peas seeds.
What do snow pea seedlings look like?
Snow pea seedlings have round leaves that are folded when they come out of the seed. The snow pea leaves unfurl as the plant grows. You may also notice tiny tendrils on the snow pea seedlings as they begin to grow taller. The rounded leaves are very slightly similar to large clover leaves at a cursory glance.
How tall do snow peas grow?
Depending on the variety, snow peas can grow up to heights of between 5 and 8 feet. Make sure you have a sturdy trellis or fence available to support them in case they reach these great heights.
Benefits of Growing Snow Peas
Snow peas are one of my very favorite vegetables to grow, for so many reasons!
- Quick, Easy Germination: Snow pea seeds germinate quickly and readily.
- Kid-Friendly Veggie: My picky-eater kids liked these last year! Fingers crossed for this year.
- Space-Saving: Growing vertically is the way to go when your garden space is limited!
- Culinary Versatility: You can enjoy snow peas fresh off the plant, in a salad, a stir-fry, or on the side of your favorite meal. Their edible pod makes snow peas especially versatile in the kitchen!
- Delicious: Snow peas offer a mildly sweet flavor that pairs well just as well with proteins like beef or chicken as it does in a crisp, fresh salad.
- Succession Planting: After the hot summer wears down your early snow pea crop, you can begin a new wave of plants to take you through the fall. Check your gardening zone for phase 2 planting dates.
Growing snow pea plants in the garden is a worthwhile and rewarding experience for adults and kids alike. If you’re reading this now, you should definitely grow some!
Where to Get Snow Pea Seeds
I loved growing snow peas so much that I started collecting different kinds of snow peas seeds to try this growing season. I bought some from seed shops and and swapped for others.
I have Oregon snow peas from Little Shop of Seeds and a bulk bag of snow peas from Agway.
I received Beauregarde Purple Snow Peas in a swap from one of my wonderful gardening friends on Instagram. I’m really excited to grow these purple snow peas!
How to Grow Snow Peas
It’s easy to grow snow peas once you discover how! In most cases, you can begin your snow peas planting in the early spring, before the last frost and more than likely once you can work the soil.
You may find it helpful to check out some Snow Pea Planting Companions to make the most of your gardening spaces. Companion planting can improve growing conditions, pest management, and yield for either or both crops.
How to Direct Sow Snow Peas
Planting snow peas directly outside in the early spring may be the best bet. You get to skip over the hardening off and get a jump start on your garden!
I planted a bunch of the Agway snow peas outside in a grow bag in late March. They are still relatively short, but bushy and healthy!
Try these steps when planting snow peas outside.
- Choose a location where you would like to grow your snow peas.
- Dig a small hole and plant one or two snow pea seeds one to one and a half inches deep. (Space them apart about two inches to start.)
- Water the seeds well and check them daily.
- Consider placing a wire wastebasket or other cloche over top of your seeds or young snow pea seedlings to keep them safe from squirrels and other pests.
Last year I did my snow peas plantings around trees in our yard so they could climb up some fishing line I tied onto the trunk.
This was great, except the darn squirrels went around the tree and dug up all my snow peas seeds and left the plants for dead! (If you have squirrel problems, too, you may want to check out my post about squirrels and blood meal in the garden.)
Starting Snow Pea Seeds Indoors
You may also wish to try planting your snow pea seeds indoors. This gives a little added protection from garden pests like squirrels.
Snow peas germinate readily and grow well in egg cartons or seed cell packs until it’s time to pot up. Try these tips to for growing snow pea seeds indoors:
- Fill an empty egg carton or seed starting tray with potting soil.
- Place two snow pea seeds per cell about one inch deep if possible.
- Label the cells where you planted snow peas.
- Water thoroughly.
- Place your plants under grow lights while inside so they don’t get leggy. Even though they’re climbers, you want them to be strong and robust!
- Begin hardening off your snow pea plants as soon as temperatures allow. You can get snow pea seedlings established outside long before tender crops like tomatoes and beans.
- Once sufficiently hardened off, transplant snow peas outside with a trellis, deck railing, or a fence to climb.
Caring for Snow Peas Seedlings
Snow pea seedlings are pretty easy to grow and rather forgiving.
Follow these tips for snow pea care:
- Watering – Water snow pea seedlings as needed, without allowing the soil to dry between watering.
- Potting Up Snow Peas – Move snow peas seedlings to their own pots when they are several inches tall.
- Help Them Climb – Take note of their little tendrils as they grow. Try to avoid letting snow peas latch onto other plants, which could be problematic.
- Transplant – For seeds started indoors, harden off first and then transplant the seedlings outdoors.
- Protect – When snow peas are young, protect the seedlings and tender roots with a cloche, wire wastebasket, or other protective covering to keep squirrels and other critters away.
You’ll likely be surprised to soon see the first snow pea flowers in bloom! These beauties grow fast and you’ll want to pick frequently to encourage greater yields.
Growing Snow Peas in the Backyard
Growing snow peas is easy and the crop brings so much to the dinner table. Enjoy this wonderful, delicious, and easy-to-grow veggie in your garden!
When growing snow peas plant as many as you think you’ll need to feed your family. Gardening guidance online shares two very diverse perspectives. Some recommend planting 3 to 5 snow pea plants per person whereas others recommend 15 to 25 snow pea plants per person.
Our yard isn’t big enough to grow all the proper numbers of plants advised online, so I’m just going to do the best I can with the space I have. We will probably grow 20 to 30 snow pea plants total, so hopefully that will be enough!
What do you think about growing snow pea plants? Let’s chat in the comments! xo