My favorite fall crop is also one of the easiest – sugar snap peas! True garden peas are difficult to grow in Florida, but sugar snaps couldn’t be easier. Pair the plump pods with cool weather broccoli, and let stir fry season begin!
There are several varieties of sugar snaps that range from four to six foot vines. A trellis will save space and make it easier to find the green pods among the green leaves. Just poke the peas into a row in the ground at the base of the trellis and keep watered. Space them 1-2 inches apart – you can even do double rows if you want more vines. Pick the pods once they thicken with peas. Leaving mature pods on the vine will reduce production, so check the vines every few days and pull a handful. If you have less of a sweet tooth, snow peas will grow the same way.
The green pods can be hard to spot – giving the vine a shake can help you locate them. There is also a new purple podded “Sugar Magnolia” variety that makes the peas easier to find. They’re pretty enough to grow in a pot by the front door.
Sugar snaps demand cool weather, so don’t wait to plant once we get that first cold front. Plant in full sun in early November for a crop in January, and again in December to continue the crop through February and March.
Sugar snaps grow fast, so they’re a fun crop for kids to plant. Just be sure to grow extra – they’re also fun to eat as soon as they’re picked!
This blog post was written by UF IFAS Extension Orange County Master Gardener, Mary Ann Pigora, class of 2017. The UF IFAS Extension Orange County Master Gardener Volunteers play a crucial role in the outreach of UF IFAS Extension.