Pisum - Edible-Podded Pea, English Pea, Garden Pea, Green Peapisum - Snap Pea, Snow Pea, Sugar Pea
P. sativum (Green Pea, Garden Pea and English Pea) - Peas aren't the most space efficient vegetable, but they are delicious fresh and worth planting. These annuals prefer cool weather and they mature early. The kinds with large pods are easier to pick and shell, but usually don’t produce until late in the season and are reliable only in regions with cool summers. There are ultra-dwarf varieties that fit nicely into small gardens, but these aren't very productive. The best choice for the home gardener is a midseason variety developed for processing. These vigorous, knee-high vines produce pods that are easy to shell. The pods are 32 inches long and contain 7 to 9 berries. Some varieties are resistant to powder mildew, fusarium wilt, pea enation virus and other diseases.
P. sativum variety macrocarpon (Edible-podded Pea) - These Peas include more than just the familiar Snow Pea used so much in Oriental cuisine. Snow Peas have flat pods and are eaten when only half grown. The vines of these varieties grow anywhere from 2 to 6 feet high. Newer edible-podded snap peas have recently been developed that produce oval to round pods, which can be snapped like beans and eaten at any stage before they turn yellow. When yellow, the pods can be shelled for berries. Most snap pea varieties have strings, but these peel off easily. The newest varieties have no strings, but there are less pods and these are smaller. There are also snap peas that are resistant to powdery mildew disease. The original AAS winner, Sugar Snap, is a high climbing vine, growing up to 8 feet high that has a bit more resistance to frost than shell peas.
Green Pea - Peas need sandy, well-drained soil that warms up quickly. If the garden hasn't been planted with Peas in recent years, treat seeds with a bacterial inoculant that helps these legumes to extract nitrogen from the air. Middle-height or dwarf varieties should be supported with string, brush, or chicken wire run between 2-foot stakes driven 1 foot into the ground. This makes harvest much easier. Taller varieties will need poles or arbors to climb. Harvest the Peas when the pods are plump enough to shell easily. Don't wait too long or else the Peas will quickly become tough, especially on the petits pois (tiny pea) varieties. Hold the fruiting stem with one hand and pull the pods carefully. Don’t overlook ripe pods that are hidden among the leaves.
Edible-podded Pea - These Peas are grown just as Green Peas. To harvest Snow Peas, pick them when they're half-grown; pods should be 12 to 3 inches long, except Oregon Sugar Pod II, which can stay on the vine until the pods start to turn yellow. Take your time with the round-podded snap peas because the flavor improves until the pods reach their full size and have begun to develop a pebbly surface and fade in color.
Green Pea & Edible-podded Pea - Sow your seeds very early; as soon as the soil has thawed or dried out enough to be worked, which is well before the frost-free date in the North and during the autumn or winter in the Deep South and warm West. Spring sown seeds should be planted 2 - to 1-inch deep in full sun. Seeds sown in late summer can be planted deeper in the warm soil. Set the seeds 1 to 2 inches apart in rows or wide bands. Early sowings of seeds shouldn't rot in well-drained soil, especially if they're treated with a fungicide. Seedlings are frost-resistant and will survive a few degrees below freezing when they're young.
Green Pea - Bush: Green Arrow, Little Marvel, Wando, Knight, Almota. Bush, petits pois: Precovil, Frizette, Alaska. Bush, "leafless" (plants have tons of tendril instead of normal leaves): Novella II. Tall: Multistar, Telephone, Alderman.
Edible-podded Pea - Bush Snow Peas: Norli, Snowflake. Medium-tall snow peas: Oregon Sugar Pod II, Dwarf Gray Sugar. Tall Snow Peas: Mammoth Melting Sugar. Bush snap Peas: Little Sweetie, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Mel, Sugar Ann (AAS). Tall snap peas: Sugar Snap (AAS), Snappy.
Early Freezer 680 Garden Peas
Super Snappy Snap Peas
Oregon Sugar Pod Snow Pea
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