Pest management: Pea cultural tips, pests, and diseases
Peas are a cool season vegetable in Santa Clara County. There are three types of fresh peas:
- Shelling peas, where the tough pod is removed before eating
- Snow peas, which have edible pods and are harvested while the peas inside are small and immature
- Sugar snap peas, which have edible pods and are harvested when the peas are plump
When to plant
- Transplant: February–March, September–October
- Direct seed: February–March, August–September (maybe October)
- Allow 3 weeks if growing from seed for transplants
- For best flavor and tenderness, harvest shelling and sugar snap peas when the peas have just reached full size. Overly mature peas will be starchy.
- Harvest snow peas while pods are still flat, just as the seeds start to form.
- Cook peas as soon as possible after harvesting, because conversion of sugars to starches will continue even after harvesting.
- Pea plants can be either bush (18-24 inches tall) or vining (3-6 feet tall). Vining types require support and generally produce for a longer period. Bush types don't strictly need support but a modest support can help keep the peas off the ground.
- Provide thin supports that pea tendrils can clasp (e.g., string, thin wire) rather than thick supports such as stakes or bamboo.
- Provide good sun exposure and air circulation to reduce incidence of powdery mildew.
- Growing Peas in the Home Garden, Washington State University Extension
Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*
|Little Marvel (shelling), OP||Heavy yields of fine-flavored peas on vigorous plants. Heirloom variety. Best on a short trellis. 3–4' tall. Plant 4" apart.|
|Tall Telephone (shelling), OP||Large pods of delicious peas on tall vines. Heirloom variety. Needs a trellis. 6' tall. Plant 4" apart.|
|Mammoth Melting Sugar (snow pea), OP||Heirloom variety with sweet 4–5" long flat pods are borne on vigorous vines. 4–5' tall. Plant 3–4" apart.|
|Super Sugar Snap, OP||Vigorous vines yield a heavy crop of delicious, edible-podded sugar snap peas. Healthy and mildew resistant. Thick, juicy pods are great raw or cooked. 5–6' tall. Plant 3–4" apart.|
Other recommended varieties:
- Shelling: Maestro
- Snow Pea: Oregon Sugar Pod II
* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.