Sugar ann snap pea

What Are Sugar Ann Peas – How To Grow Sugar Ann Pea Plants

Sugar Ann snap peas are earlier than sugar snap by several weeks. Snap peas are wonderful because they produce a crunchy, chewable shell, making the whole pea edible. The sweet pods have a crisp snap and the plant produces copious quantities of them. Sugar Ann pea plants are easy to grow, low maintenance and early season veggies. Continue reading for some tips on growing Sugar Ann peas.

Sugar Ann Pea Facts

Spring means the first vegetables of the season, and Sugar Ann pea plants are right at the top of the produce available. What are Sugar Ann peas? They are not shelling peas, since you eat the entire tasty pod. The pods are delicious fresh or cooked and add flair to salads, stir fries and dunked in your favorite dip.

Snap peas are the early birds of the growing season. Sugar Ann pea facts indicate that this variety will come 10 to 14 days ahead of the

original Sugar Snap variety. From seed to table, you only have to wait 56 days.

Sugar Ann is a string-less pea that was an All-American Selections winner in 1984. The pods are 3 inches long (7.6 cm.) and bright green. It is a vine type, but the vines are short and compact and rarely need staking. Snap peas are plumper and thicker than snow peas, with a pleasant bite. The little vines are also ornamentally attractive with pretty white classic legume flowers and curling tendrils.

Growing Sugar Ann Peas

Snap peas couldn’t be easier to grow. Sow seeds directly into a well-worked bed in early spring. You can also sow seeds late in the season for a fall crop in some regions. Expect germination in 6 to 10 days if you keep the soil moderately moist.

Snap peas prefer cool temperatures. They will stop producing and vines will die when temperatures go above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 C.).

The plants grow just 10 to 15 inches tall (25 to 38 cm.) and are fairly robust. They can even be grown in containers without needing a trellis or much support.

Care of Sugar Ann Snap Peas

Snap peas prefer full sun and soil that drains well. Before you plant, incorporate some well-rotted compost to enhance the nutrient content of the soil.

Young plants may be bothered by cutworms, snails and slugs. Place an empty toilet paper roll around the seedlings to protect them. Use slug bait or beer traps to minimize damage.

Snap peas need to be kept moist but not soggy. Water when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch.

Harvest peas when the pod is plump but not bumpy. These are marvelous vegetables with easy to grow simplicity and speedy production.

Connect With Us!

PHOTO: Jessica Walliserby Jessica Walliser March 15, 2018

Sugar snap peas are among my favorite garden crops. Their sweet crunch is hard to resist. But, the vines of many sugar snap pea varieties can reach five to six feet in height, making a sturdy support structure an absolute necessity. Today I share five of my favorite sugar snap pea trellis ideas. All are easy to set up, and each provides ample support for the growing vines.

5 Sugar Snap Pea Trellis Techniques

1. Nylon Netting Row Trellis

This simple structure is among the most inexpensive sugar snap pea trellis ideas. Nylon garden netting is often sold at local nurseries and found at various online garden supply companies. The netting’s openings are five- to six-inch squares, and it comes in lengths of 25 or more feet and is most commonly 5 feet tall. Hammer 1-by-1 hardwood stakes down the length of the row of your sugar snap peas, spacing the stakes about 8 to 10 feet apart. Then, stretch the nylon garden netting down the length of the row and use a staple gun or zip ties to attach the netting to the wooden stakes. You can plant a row of pea seeds down each side of this sugar snap pea trellis to maximize growing space.

2. Box-Wire or Chicken-Wire Row Trellis

If you don’t want to purchase the nylon netting described above, use chicken wire or box wire to build your sugar snap pea trellis instead. Space the hardwood stakes as described above, but use the fencing instead of the nylon netting. It’s less flexible and slightly more visually obtrusive, but it works like a charm. The biggest downside to this sugar snap pea trellis technique? The small openings of the fencing make it impossible to reach through and harvest pods from the other side of the row. If you use this method, be sure that the trellis is fully accessible from both sides, or harvesting the pods will be challenging.

3. Natural Branch Trellis

Another fun (and visually attractive) way to trellis sugar snap peas is to use tree branches as support for the vines. Collect straight branches that are forked multiple times to give the vines plenty of places to cling to. Bury the base of a line of branches into the ground down the length of the garden row. Space them close enough so that their forked branches cross over each other. If you can’t bury the base in the ground, you can tie the base of the branches with twine or plastic zip ties to pieces of 3-foot rebar that are hammered into the ground for stability. Choose branches that are tall enough to support the growing vines to their mature height.

4. Gabion Stack Trellis

Gabions are empty cubes or cylinders made from welded wire that are filled with rocks and earth. They were once used as military fortifications, but these days you often see gabions used for erosion control and to create unique fences, walls and other outdoor structures. Empty gabions also make great trellis structures. To make a sugar snap pea trellis from gabions, stack several empty gabions on top of each other and fasten them together with zip ties. Place the stack in the garden and secure it to the ground with four wooden or metal stakes. Plant your sugar snap pea seeds around the stack, and you have yourself a distinct trellis. You can buy gabions from construction and landscape supply centers as well as various online sources.

5. Recycled Trellis Ideas

There are many different repurposed household items that work great as a sugar snap pea trellis, too. You can use a mattress spring, an old closet organizer or tireless bike rims—the possibilities are endless.

With a little bit of creativity, you’ll have a great sugar snap pea trellis for this growing season and many more.

Easy Guide to Growing Perfect Peas

With pretty flowers, crisp green pods, climbing tendrils and delicate leaves, peas are an attractive and delicious addition to any kitchen garden.

Best of all, every part of a pea plant is edible!

Peas are little powerhouses! They may be low in calories, but peas are packed with a surprising number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Peas are also high in micro-nutrients, vitamins, fibre, protein and minerals that provide us with a wide range of health benefits.

Peas are annual vegetables. Best eaten raw and straight off the plant before their natural sugars turn to starch and lose their sweet flavour.

Peas are easy to grow, so are an ideal first crop for children and beginner gardeners.

How to Grow Peas

Choosing Pea Seeds

Peas are an easy seed to sow and save. However, like all edible seeds, I encourage you to choose safe seeds. Organic, heirloom and open-pollinated seeds from reputable seed suppliers, who grow without chemicals, including fungicide sprays to stop rodents and insects eating seeds in storage. Your health is at stake! If you buy hybrid seeds, you won’t have an opportunity to save free seeds for next season.

You can also grow peas as microgreens (just for the quick growing shoots, rather than waiting for the whole plant to grow and produce pea pods). Learn more about sourcing and saving seeds here.

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

Edible Peas vs Non-Edible

Just to avoid any confusion, there are three main types of edible peas (Pisum sativum). Shelling or podded peas, snow peas and sugarsnaps. These are all delicious and nutritious.

However, there are also Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) grown for their incredibly beautiful and fragrant flowers. They have lightly hairy leaves and pods, but are mildly to moderately toxic to humans and pets. If you have a dog or cat that is prone to taste testing from your garden, please consider this before growing sweet peas.

When to Plant Peas

  • Peas love cool, frost-free growing conditions. They suit cold climates/cool seasons.
  • Pea flowers are affected by frost and pods won’t form. So check the best time to sow for your local climate.
  • I get best results by sowing in the first moon quarter of the month to take advantage of moisture in the soil and a time of prolific growth for above ground plants like peas.
  • Personally, if the humidity is above 70% and temperatures are still high, I hold off planting seedlings and sow seeds instead. By the time they are ready, I hope the weather will be more favourable.
  • Peas will grow, develop flowers and fruit in about 10-14 weeks depending on the variety. Peas can take up to 3 weeks to mature from flower to pod.

Sugar snap pea flowers on a young climbing variety. Peas need staking or a trellis for support as they grow.

If you want ‘fast food’:

  • Choose snow peas because you don’t have to wait for the pods to fill. A great choice for kids and impatient gardeners!
  • Start with seedlings rather than seeds. You’ll save 3-4 weeks.

Try planting a few pea varieties if you want to stagger your harvest time.

Growing Conditions for Peas

  • Peas are low maintenance, easy plants to grow. After seeds germinate, plants usually only need watering, support and harvesting.
  • Peas like well drained loamy soils, with plenty of organic matter and a soil pH 6.0-7.5.
  • Peas prefer a sunny spot but not extreme heat or too much wind.
  • They like moist soil but not waterlogged feet! In humid conditions, avoid mulch up too close as this can create an environment for powdery mildew to grow.

Companion Planting with Peas

Avoid planting peas in the same container or near garlic, onions, chives and spring onions. These plants tend to compete and stunt plant growth. I’ve tested this out and I’ve had the same result for beans! Peas seem to grow well planted with beans or with low-growing carrots, radish and turnips.

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

Sowing and Spacing your Peas

  • Pre-soak seeds overnight in warm water to soften the seed coat. Spraying liquid seaweed on the seeds when planting helps stimulate germination and promote stronger growth.
  • As a general guide, sow seeds directly into moist soil or seed raising mix 2-3cm (1in) deep.

As a guide, I sow 6-8 seeds in a 20cm (8in) pot and a few more in a 30cm (12in) planter.

  • Sow 10cm (4in) apart or in rows about 60cm (24in) apart to help air circulation and prevent disease in a garden bed.

Wait until seeds germinate (sprout) before watering again to prevent rotting. Carefully transplant seedlings when 5cm (2in) high.

  • If you are growing more than one variety, separate them in different containers or garden beds if you want to save seed. This way, their vines don’t intermingle and you can correctly identify them. Always use plant labels!

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

Support Structures for Peas

Both climbing and dwarf pea varieties need support. Maximise vertical space by training climbers to grow up corn stalks; a boundary fence; lattice; stakes; a trellis; tepee/tripod; or frame with wires, string or horizontals every 20cm (8 in) or so to support their growth.

Vertical structures like these pea tepees make harvesting and maintenance easier.

Some more ideas to inspire you:

Sugar snap peas climbing my 4 legged bamboo tepee with string tied horizontally & diagonally for maximum support

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

An alternative bamboo and string trellis vertical support for peas

Via Garden Therapy

Two old bike tyre rims from a bicycle shop were cleverly upcycled into a pea trellis.

Via Suited to the Seasons

Pipe & chicken wire A-frame pea trellises – if you want to make a similar design remember to avoid plastic made out of PVC (recycle number 3) as this leaches toxic chemicals into your soil. Look for a safe alternative.

Dwarf peas grow better supported by pruned sticks or bamboo canes to help minimise pest and disease problems.

If you have no vertical supports, plant dwarf peas in a hanging basket to grow down for easy access harvesting.

Tips for Growing Peas

  • Peas are light feeders and produce their own nitrogen in the soil, so they are a cheap crop to grow! Avoid over fertilising your soil or the plants will produce leaves but not flowers and pods.
  • Snow peas, sugar snaps and garden peas are all members of the Fabaceae (legume) family. They help to ‘fix’ nitrogen in your soil in a form your plants can easily take up, with the help of bacteria around the roots. These soil bacteria convert nitrogen from the air into plant food. Pretty cool hey?

  • Growing legumes (like peas and beans) helps feed and improve your soil without buying in fertiliser! Saves you money too.
  • Peas have shallow roots so mulch well to avoid weeds and retain soil moisture.
  • Watering: Keep soil moist while flowers and pods are developing. This is critical to their healthy development.
  • Pinch out the shoots at the top of each plant when you see the first pods are ready to pick and add to your salads. This helps stimulate the plant to produce more pods.

Crop Rotation for Peas

To make the most of the free nitrogen in your soil after growing peas, plant leafy greens or a heavy feeding fruiting crop like tomato, capsicum, chilli, eggplant or potato.

There will be much less chance of fungal diseases by rotating crops from different families in the same container or garden bed.

Growing Peas – Pests & Diseases

Watch out for thrips, mites, aphids, cutworms, root knot nematodes and fungal diseases. The organic strategies I use for healthy peas:

  • Plant disease resistant varieties.
  • Practice crop rotation.
  • Space plants adequately.
  • Add compost and organic soil conditioners seasonally (rock minerals and complete organic fertilisers).
  • Apply liquid seaweed as a foliar spray on warm sunny days to strengthen plants and build resistance to disease.

Sowing early in the season may also prevent pests from affecting growth and production.

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

How to Harvest Peas

  • Pick your peas just before you want them on your plate! Eat as soon after harvesting for freshness and flavour.

Harvest when the pods are bright green, full and plump depending on the variety.

  • Start picking from the bottom of the plant and work up to the top, holding the plant in one hand and snapping the pea off with the other to avoid breaking the stem. Regular picking produces more peas.
  • Snow peas are great value because you eat the whole pod, seeds and all before the peas mature. They have a longer harvesting period (5-6 weeks) than garden peas (2-3 weeks).
  • Sugar snap pods have thick walls and are picked when the pods are plump and round.

Garden peas are eaten when they are mature by discarding the pod and shelling the peas.

  • Pea shoots (the top 5-7cm) can be picked and used in stir fries or salads when the plant is at full height.
  • After your plants have stopped producing flowers and pods, harvest the leaves for salads and stir fries.
  • Avoid leaving pods on the vine unless you are saving for seed, otherwise your plant will age and stop producing pods.
  • Check vines daily. Over ripe pods become too starchy to eat but you can still dry them and save the seeds instead.
  • After harvesting, leave roots to rot in the ground to release nitrogen in the soil and feed your next crop.

How to Save Pea Seeds

To save money and grow your crop for free next season, allow pods to dry on the plant until they go brown and brittle or cut at the base and hang to dry under cover.

Remove dried peas from the pod and leave on a tray or plate for a few days.

Store in a self-seal bag in a labelled envelope with the variety/date in a cool dark place or an airtight bottle with some dry rice to absorb any moisture.

Cooking and Using Peas in your Kitchen

Enjoy them as sprouts, stir-fries, Asian dishes, soups, pasta or any number of other recipes.

I love the crunchy texture and sweet flavour of peas in our salads

Sprouting: Peas and snow peas can be grown as nutrient rich tasty sprouts, microgreens or added to breads, salad garnishes and soups.

Cooking: Fresh raw peas have maximum nutrients and flavour so if cooking, use minimal water and stir fry or steam quickly until just tender. Boil frozen peas for about 1-2 minutes.

Drying: Allow peas to air dry for a few days then store in a sealed jar in your pantry to use in soups or casseroles. The texture, flavour and nutrient value won’t be the same as fresh or frozen peas although this is an alternative to extending your harvest. Pre-soak peas overnight before cooking.

Freezing: Pick, shell and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute before cooling. Then bag and freeze immediately.

Sugar snap peas can be blanched for 2 minutes, cooled and frozen whole also.

Too many or too few? If you don’t have enough fresh peas for a meal or have an abundant harvest, freeze fresh peas in plastic bags or containers.

If any peas actually make it into your kitchen and aren’t consumed while you are picking, there are plenty of yummy ways to enjoy them.

Peas Please! Delicious Recipes…

Mixed Pea, Mint & Feta Salad

4.7 from 3 reviews Mixed Pea, Mint & Feta Salad A quick to prepare salad with fresh ingredients. Author: Valli Little, Delicious Magazine Sept 2007, p71 Recipe type: Salad, Side Dish Serves: 6 Ingredients

  • 200g podded fresh peas or frozen peas
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • 200g small snow peas
  • 100g pea shoots*
  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 200g marinated Persian feta*, drained
  • * Persian feta is from delis, or use other marinated feta. Pea shoots are available from greengrocers.
  • Dressing:
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed with salt
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs dried mint


  1. For the dressing, combine the crushed garlic, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Stir in the mint and season with black pepper.
  2. In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook fresh peas for 5-6 minutes (3 minutes if frozen), adding the sugar snap and snow peas for the final 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Cool completely.
  3. Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the pea shoots, feta, mint and dressing and toss gently to combine.
  4. Enjoy!


  • Quick Sesame Snow Peas
  • Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon & Mint
  • Italian Peas with Garlic

See 3 Tips on Growing Peas and Beans for more practical ways to enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Like this article?

Please share! Join my free Newsletter for more exclusive insights, tips and all future articles.

Quick Guide to Growing Peas

  • Plant peas during the mild weather of early spring, once soil temperatures reach 45° F.
  • Space young pea plants 5 inches apart in an area with an abundance of sunshine and fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
  • Before planting, stake a tomato cage or trellis in the ground to make harvesting pods easier.
  • Lay down a 2-inch layer of straw or dried grass clippings to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.
  • Ensure your pea plants grow to be strong and vigorous by feeding them regularly with a continuous-release plant food.
  • For snap-style peas, harvest when pods begin to flatten.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Peas thrive in cool, damp weather, making them an ideal candidate for early spring planting. In mild climates, you can also plant for a fall harvest, but spring plantings generally yield more. Get peas in the ground as soon as possible in early spring, once the soil temperature reaches at least 45 degrees. Wait to plant until soil is dry enough that it doesn’t clump and stick to garden tools, then mix in a layer of aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil to improve the texture, nutrition, and aeration of your soil. For best results, start with strong young Bonnie Plants® green pea plants, which are already well on their way to maturity. Space plants 5 inches apart.

Young pea plants can take a light frost, so tuck plants into the garden before the last average frost date for your region. However, be prepared to protect flowering plants from a late frost; it will hurt flowers and sometimes causes tiny developing pods to be deformed.

Green peas don’t need a trellis, but pods will be easier to pick when vines are held upright. If you’re using a trellis, insert it prior to planting. Use netting, stakes, and string, a wood frame trellis covered with chicken wire, metal fencing, or a collection of twiggy branches stuck into the ground among the plants. Peas attach by tendrils, tiny stems that curl and encircle supports. Tendrils quickly wrap around slender supports to hoist vines skyward.

Apply a 2-inch-thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw, grass clippings, or compost, when plants are 6 inches tall. Mulch helps soil retain moisture and suppresses weeds. Keep your pea plot free from weeds, pulling offenders by hand or cultivating very shallowly.

Peas don’t need much nitrogen fertilizer, only perhaps a little starter in a new garden or in very poor soil with little organic matter. As members of the legume family, peas actually fix their own nitrogen from the air, and can even improve your soil by adding nitrogen to it. This nitrogen fixing is done in conjunction with rhizobium bacteria, which are probably present in your soil. However, if you have any doubts and want to improve the productivity of peas in the future, you can purchase “inoculant,” which is a powder of rhizobium bacteria that you can add to the soil. Once established, the bacteria don’t have to be added again. You can also feed plants with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition no more than once a month for an extra boost of nutrition.

Withhold water slightly during the early growing phase to encourage deeper rooting (peas tend to be shallowly rooted). Watering is critical from the appearance of the first flower until harvest. Peas need consistent moisture to develop full, flavorful pods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *