Early Plantings (Peas and Sweet Peas)
Late winter is the time to plant out garden peas and sweet peas, two of the earliest of all seed crops.
Cool-season crops are generally planted sometime in late February and earliest March west of the Cascades or between late March and up to late April east of the Cascades and in Alaska. Seasonal weather conditions play a big part in determining the actual planting time.
Three of our favorite garden pea varieties (they are also veggie-trial winners) are Eclipse, Oregon Sugar Pod II and Sugar Snap pole. Here are a few of their attributes:
ECLIPSE - YOU'VE GOT TO TRY THIS ONE! A new generation of 'Super Sweet Garden Peas'. This breakthrough was achieved through conventional breeding, NOT through genetic engineering. It is much sweeter than standard garden varieties and holds its sweetness longer before being converted to starch. Ideal for cooking, freezing or eating fresh. It grows as a bush, about 2 to 3 feet high. In our garden, we provide a low support for the vines. 2 pods/node, bearing in mid-season. About 63 days to maturity.
OREGON SUGAR POD II - This edible-pod variety is ideal for stir-fry dishes. Snow peas are crisp, tender and full of flavor. Oregon State University developed this award winning variety. Pods 4 to 4 ½ inches long. Plants grow 2 to 2 ½ feet high. About 60 days to maturity. For easier picking give vines a low trellis on which to grow.
SUGAR SNAP (POLE) - This one is so good it won the All-America 'Gold Medal' award. Superb, thick, edible pods are crisp, tender and very sweet. They're so good that if you start eating them as you pick'em, you'll be lucky if any make it to the kitchen. We like them in salads too! Although this is an edible pod variety, you can also shell the peas. Reaches maturity in about 70 days. They should be planted early.
Here are three of our favorite Sweet Pea varieties. They are excellent choices for the various Northwest climates:
SWEET PEA 'OLD SPICE' - A wonderful collection of old-fashioned varieties that are highly scented and have exceptional heat resistance. Although the flowers tend to be somewhat smaller than other modern varieties, their fragrance makes up for it. The flowers are derived from the old, highly scented Eckford series. The vines grow upward of 5 feet and need trellis support.
SWEET PEA 'SUPERSNOOP' - This low growing variety does not need support. An ideal variety to grow in flower beds, borders or planter boxes. The long stemmed flowers appear in a wide range of colors and are ideal for cutting. Very easy to grow. Plants only grow about two feet tall. (In extra rich soil the plants may need a little low support.)
DWARF SWEET PEAS 'LITTLE SWEETHEART' - Fragrant and heat resistant this low growing variety does not need support. It is ideal for borders, container plantings and flowerbeds. It blooms in a bright range of flower colors. Vines grow approximately 12 inches high.
SOWING POINTERS FOR PEAS AND SWEET PEAS
Get an early start on your gardening season by planting peas and sweet peas!