Growing Sugar Snap Peas

ambbutterflyMarch 1, 2008

First of all, is it best to plant these directly in the garden? Also, they are vines and need support. I'd like some ideas from people who grow them what to use for them to climb up on. I've never grown them before and when I bought the packets of seeds I didn't realize until I got home and was reading the packets (maybe I should have done that in the store instead of just grabbing) that the plants are vines. Arg, didn't know that! I'm hoping that I'd be able to use something that wouldn't cost a lot. I was looking at hardware cloth (wire) at the hardware store but my gosh, at $3.69/ft and needing 40 feet of it, ha yeah like I'm going to spend $150 for wire to grow peas, I don't think so! I just don't know what to use. Waaaah, help!

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This is my first year with winter sowing. However, I have growm Sugar Snap peas before. I have a 2 1/2 foot rabbit fence (wire) that goes around my garden. I plant the peas along the fence. I know I never would have paid $150.00 for it! Maybe more like $20 - $25 at Lowes or Home Depot (maybe 100 feet of fencing.)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Oh well, that's not expensive! I'll have to look next time I get over that way. I only planted flowers last year and the year before for the butterflies and thought I'd also plant a veggie garden this year to save on our costs. Vegetables along with everything else is getting to be so expensive, so I thought we could save pretty much money by me growing some of the veggies that we eat. I thought it would be dumb to pay as much or more for the wire than the veggies are worth! lol I hope that our Lowes has the rabbit fence for that price because I don't think that's a bad price. I was under the impression that I'd need something higher since I think the pack said the vines climb for 4 feet.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:20PM
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You could also try to make a teepee type structure with some branches and twine (to tie them together at the top. Then plant a seed at the base of each branch/stick. You can probably make it as tall as you wish. The fence I use is only about 4 feet tall but they would definitely grow taller than that.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:26PM
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irisgirl(Z5 - CO)

I grew Sugar Snaps last year, and also had not thought about their growing reqs. I used some 6' poles/stakes we had left over from previous tomato plantings, placed them about every 3 feet the length of the row, then strung twine between them, making 3 or 4 levels of twine-ladder steps for the peas to grow up on.

I worked the twine so it wrapped around each pole once in each row then dropped directly down from the end of one row to be the beginning of the next. Sound more complicated than it really was.

Worked real neat.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:15PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Sugar snap peas will grow to at least 6 foot tall. You will need some sort of trellis. I grow them on a pvc trellis at the end of my square foot garden beds, it has been strung with mesh that supports the vines. Its a little too early to direct sow them, St.Patricks day is usually the time to plant peas, but even if you can't get to them for a few weeks after that they will be ok.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 6:40AM
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I grew Oregon Sugar Pod II last year and didn't use supports at all. I just planted them close...about 6" all away around and let them support themselves.
As for sowing them I did both ways to experiment...a direct sow around March 25th and wintersow method March 27th...germination in both cases started around April 7th :D


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:27PM
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I love the look of old-fashion branch supports for peas, but we have very little in our 24x24 mountain garden. What we did have was 2 abandoned swing sets from a previous homeowner!

So last summer I painted them two different shades of green. On this smaller swing set, painted a sort of minty green, I nailed a piece of wood across the bottom and tied ordinary string up and down to make a sort of "harp".

I planted two kinds of peas here: English and snow peas and even threw in some sweet pea flowers in royal purple and blue, but I didn't have much luck, maybe because it was my first time. Next time I'm putting a lot more in the ground to increase my luck!

I tried transplanting 8" tall English peas that were started indoors, but I don''t think they liked being transplanted, even though I was very careful.

Anyway the old swing set looks very pretty now, and the string is holding up fine.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:56PM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

You mightb try growing early corn as your trellis for the peas. From what I've read the peas and pole beans help nourish the corn as nitro fixers, and the corn grows tall to help support pea vines. toss in a few sunflowers for good measure and you make a living...and productive...trellis

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:10AM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Peas are a cool weather crop, Corn is a warm weather crop, what I think Zengeos meant above is to grow your pole BEANS with corn, not peas.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 4:01AM
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You could try doing a fall planting of peas and use the corn stalks as your poles for the peas (not quite winter sowing).

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 7:46AM
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Wow, lots of great ideas! Now I have so many here that I'm confused. lol Nah, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to type a response to try to solve my dilemma. I'm still not sure which I'll do, but at least now I have options and can think about which would work best for me. Nice picture, Tansy! Oh, if only I hadn't gotten rid of the kids' swingset years ago! Thanks to you all for helping out!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:32PM
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I definitely recommend that gardeners recycle old swing sets. Even the metal ones can be painted with ordinary latex paint! I lightly sanded a red-white and blue monster left by a previous home owner, dismantled the old swings and slide, and dabbed on mossy green latex paint with a sponge brush. The repaint went surprisingly quickly! I put several coats, but it didn't take very much time at all.

We laid an extra piece of fencing over part of the set, weighed down by some bricks.

It became home to pumpkin, cucumber, and tomato vines. I don't think the pumpkin was especially happy this way, but the cucumbers did fairly well and the tomatoes were very happy climbing it to catch more sun.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Last year I found a thread in the Vegetable Growing forum with detailed instructions for making an arch out of a cattle panel. At a cost of $14.88 each, they were cheap and easy. I used them to grow cucumbers. For beauty, I located them at the openings to my wooded paths and planted two purple hyacinth beans at the front opening.

It worked well enough that I planned to grow my sugar snap peas on them this winter, then switch the trellis to warm weather cukes again. I haven't actually sown the peas yet, but it might work for you.

I tried to locate the old thread for you, with the post from hunter_tx, but it is gone. I will try to explain it, because it really is easy.

I was able to do the first one by myself, but found a partner really makes it easier. Put the cattle panel on a flat surface (concrete is better than grass). Working from the outside, fold one end to match the other. Have your partner hold the two ends together while you step a crease into the middle. Gloves are beneficial.

I found the arch to have its most pleasing proportions when the base was spaced exactly 5 feet wide. This also allowed me to drive my lawn tractor through. I used a couple of railroad ties to determine placement, holding them in place with stakes and setting the arch on the inside. I reached up to grab hold of the peak of the arch and pulled down to get the curve in the arch. Next I snipped the bottom horizontal row of wire away with bolt cutters. This left a series of vertical spikes which I shoved into the ground. Once it was anchored I removed the railroad ties to use on the next one.

I did one single this way and two doubles. I found that by putting two end to end I got a longer tunnel.

I really was easy, and cheap.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:34PM
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Seed Mama

I saw a design like that a long time ago and it was absolutely beautiful, and I have never been able to find that web site again. but I have always wanted to know more about it!

It really looked elegant with its flowers climbing it, and I have dreamed of one ever since.

Can a panel like that be brought home in a van? How big approximately?

Also, do you get those at a store like Southern States, or where?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Seed mama, that's such a great idea! And I imagine you could also tuck it just inside the frame of a raised bed, right? Could I get a cattle panel at TSC, or is it something you buy in a roll (like a roll of fencing)? Do you have any pictures you could post?

And I bet you could easily grow shade-loving stuff like lettuce and spinach underneath the peas...what did you do when your peas were done? Did you pull it out or reuse it for something else, like squash or tomatoes?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just intrigued...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 3:23PM
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We have a brand new member of the household and it seems diapers and feedings take precedence over all else. I also had to learn how to post pics.

I don't know if you can bring a cattle panel home in a van. The ones I bought were 52 inches wide by 16 feet long. The store had a policy against loading 16 foot long items into a pick up bed (good call) so I had to bring a trailer.

I bought mine at a local lumber yard called Lumber 2. They were also available at Atwood's Farm and Home, and Tractor Supply Company, as well as several local farm stores.

Yes, you can tuck the arch inside the frame of a raised bed, and I'd encourage it. I mentioned that I placed mine using railroad ties. I tried eliminating this step on one pair of arches and was sorry. Because the railroad ties were not there, when I pulled down to create the curve of the arch, the curve came in lower on the arch than was pleasing to my eye. (If someone will tell me how I can tell you to look at my photobucket, the misproportioned arch is there.)

I dont' recommend using the roll of fencing for this application, although you can probably do other styles of trellis that would look quite nice. I don't believe the roll of fencing will be stiff enough to hold its shape.

I think planting cool weather lettuce and spinach under the cover of peas will probably extend their growing season as things warm up.

I haven't actually grown peas, just cukes on the trellis last summer, but peas were my (now unlikely) plan before we were blessed with diapers and feedings.

I did not pull them out, because they were attractive as winter interest with white lights and later with icicles. Also, they marked the openings to my woodland paths, so I'm thinking they are semi permanent. My only casualty came from a tree crashing on one during our unprecedented December ice storm.

The picture below shows two cattle panels together. After folding, but before bending, I tied them together with green plastic coated gardening twist tie stuff. With two together each side was 104" long. You can see the start of a couple of purple hyacinth beans at the front side. In addition, I planted 25 cukes along each side, one about every four inches. The cukes dangled inside the arch, which made for easy picking. The deer and racoons will vouch for that statement.


My apologies that the photo is sideways and too big. The editing software at photobucket doesn't seem to like me. I played with it for two hours and it's time to move on.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 3:19PM
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Wow, that's really lovely...thanks for sharing! It looks pretty easy to whip together, and it's not bad looking when it's empty, either!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Just buy some nylon trellis netting at Burpee or a Garden Store. Has 7" holes, will last forever, and can hold up to 60 pounds or so. They sell it in 5x15 or 5x60 and cheap, cheap. Will last for 3-4 years.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 6:24PM
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