How to Grow Snow Peas

By green spaces

Personally, I love snow peas. I grew up with them when I was in Thailand. It was a staple in my daily dose of vegetables. Over in New Zealand, snow peas can be a bit expensive in the shops and you only get a little bit.

It’s not exactly value for money.

Several years ago, I ventured into growing snow peas in pots on the veranda and they did quite well. The overall investment was about $50 in total and I had a continuous harvest all throughout winter. There were four snow pea plants in each container and I made a tower out of bamboo and string for it to climb. I didn’t really do much research for this and just pushed the seeds into the container and watered it regularly.

This year, I’ve decided to give growing snow peas another shot at our new place. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some research on growing snow peas (even though I’ve already grown them before) but this time, I want to see if I can increase the yield.

When it comes to sustainability, you don’t have to be sustainable in all areas. In the beginning, you only need to start off with one. For me, my personal goal is to become sustainable in my vegetable consumption and reduce my carbon footprint by growing my own vegetables.

The first thing on the dish is snow peas.

And because I eat quite a bit of vegetables in general, I’m going to need a good and consistent supply. Here are the results of my research.

What are snow peas?

Snow peas are a type of legume that has small tender seeds and soft outer shell. The entire snow pea is edible (except maybe the end part if left on the plant for too long). It is crisp to the bite and has a slightly sweet taste to it. It can be eaten raw when young, or you can blanch or add them to your stir-fries.

Young snow peas are fantastic to eat. Mature snow peas may need the edges removed because it does become a bit stringy to chew.

Snow peas are different from your usual garden and snap peas because they are flatter in shape. The seeds inside are also much smaller too.

Snow peas are considered ‘nitrogen fixers’, meaning that they release nitrogen from their roots and into the soil. This can beneficial for companion plants that you can put near or after your snow peas like beets, rhubarb, and kale.

What kind of soil do snow peas like?

The first time I grew snow peas, I bought a few bags of vegetable potting mix. My snow peas thrived quite well with it. However, the second time around, I got some cheap soil for a quarter of the price and nothing really grew in it.

The quality of your soil also determines the quality of your plants. It turns out that not all soil is made equal and the cheap bag I bought ended up being just a waste of money. Healthy plants are more likely to generate more yield and some times it’s better to spend a couple of dollars more on your soil.

Snow peas like sandy loam soil with good drainage. What is sandy loam?

Think of your regular black dirt that grass grows really well on. That’s loam. Sandy loam soil is dirt mixed with a bit of sand.

In the grand scheme of things, you can just get a bag of vegetable potting mix (or some kind of vegetable mix) and your snow peas will do alright. Just make sure that the soil is well watered and has good drainage so your snow pea plants aren’t sitting in a mini swamp.

When to plant snow peas

This one can feel like a trick question. I live out at the bottom of the world in little New Zealand, so the planting calendar is a bit different.

Out in the United States and Canada, a lot of sources are saying to start sowing them during spring and you’ll get a summer harvest. In New Zealand, snow peas can be grown all year round in the North Island, and around spring and summer for the North Island.

In general, as long as your snow pea flowers don’t get hit with frost, you should be alright.

How far apart to plant snow peas

You can plant snow peas fairly close to each other – about 2.5cm apart. The general advice is 40cm between rows. In imperial units, that’s 1 inch apart and 18 inches between rows.

In a square foot planting method, you can have about 9 plants per square foot. Here’s a picture of a potential planting set up.

(1 foot = 30.48 cm)

What kind of climbing wall do you need for snow peas?

Snow peas are pretty chill climbers. You don’t need to invest in a fancy trellis – just a pair of poles and some string will do.

Snow peas aren’t that heavy and can grow up to 2 meters high or 6 feet tall. In the image above, the bamboo sticks are about a meter high (3.2 feet) and the twine I used held up alright against the wind and the rain.

Here’s a picture of my set up for when I was growing them on my deck.

What’s a good temperature for growing snow peas?

Snow peas can grow pretty well in cooler climates. The ideal time to plant them is after the winter frosts have passed and when it’s not sweltering hot.

The best-recommended temperatures for growing snow peas sit around 10 – 20 degrees Celsius (or 50 – 70 Fahrenheit).

In New Zealand, we can grow snow peas pretty much almost all year round because summer in Auckland is about 24 degrees Celsius (75.2 Fahrenheit) and winter doesn’t usually get lower than 5 degrees Celsius in winter. The image above was my winter crop and the yield was not bad.


And that’s basically it for growing snow peas! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Be sure to spread the word and share it with your followers and friends via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Thank you for reading.

Last modified: May 27, 2020

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