Peas are arguably the most versatile green vegetables you’ll ever come across. Strictly speaking, they’re legumes and not veggies. As such, they’re not only beneficial for the soil but also for human beings.
Peas can be served in salads, pureed and cooked in stew, stir-fried, garnished on meals, you name it. Also, you can eat them straight from the vine as a snack. They’re delicious and a renowned source of potassium, fibers, vitamins, iron, and magnesium. All those are nutritious to our bodies.
Despite my long gardening experience, I’m yet to come across any other crop that’s more rewarding than peas. What’s more, they’re easy to grow.
There being loads of different types of peas, choosing what type to grow is a job in itself. It’s advisable to try varied types of peas to find out your favorite.
Peas vary in size, tastiness and have varied maturity duration. Essentially, there are three types of Peas. These are:
- English Peas
- Snow Peas
- Sugar Snap Peas.
In this write-up, you’ll learn everything about those types, their cultivars, plant, and pod traits. Read on, but first.
Where Did Peas Originate From?
Up to date, the origin of peas remains a mystery. However, there are speculations that they could have originated from Middle Asia, specifically Thailand and Burma, with expansion to the Mediterranean basin and the plateau ranges of Ethiopia.
Their cultivation exponentially spread throughout China and Europe during the 2nd century BC. It was introduced to North America in the 1940s, whereby the native inhabitants were quick to adopt them. Today, these peas, among others, are grown and endeared by gardeners from all corners of this world.
Tips and Tricks for Growing Different Types Of Peas
- Pick them regularly to keep them coming.
- Eat them shortly after harvest because after picking, their sweetness reduces with time.
- Grow peas in a fertile and well-drained location. They dislike poorly-drained soil.
- Before planting, drill shallow trenches using a spade then plant them in parallel lines. Ensure enough spacing to reduce competition for nutrients.
- Stake them using pea sticks to provide the needed support.
- You may need to use raised garden beds instead of sowing directly into the soil.
- Care for peas by carrying out maintenance practices such as mulching, ensuring the right exposure to sunlight, fertilizer, and watering needs.
Different Types of Peas
When we think of peas, those round sweet orbs quickly come to the mind. That’s understood. However, there are other aspects you should know.
As aforementioned, there are three types of peas. Here is an in-depth discussion about these types and their cultivars.
1. English Peas/ Garden Peas/ Common Peas/ Shelling Peas
This is the most renowned type of peas. They are round and plump. I love them for their extra sweet taste and ability to be used as a side dish in recipes.
Despite their smooth pods, they have a chewy fibrous texture. This makes their pods inedible. They’re common in spring and usually sold in pods and also after being shelled.
Unlike their counterpart-snow peas that we’ll discuss later, the English peas harvest after their shells are fully plump. However, from my experience, I think they have an optimal harvest stage. To test their harvest time, gently squeeze them between your fingers to determine their tenderness and plumpness.
Allowing them to get too plump makes them have a bitter taste instead of the sweet one we’re after. On the other hand, don’t harvest them too early when their peas are under-size because they won’t be as sweet.
This type of peas matures very quickly. Their bush varieties are ready for harvest in as few as 50-60 days. Their pods are more elongated and have a slight curve. Also, they’re more nutritious than the other types discussed hereunder. However, their shelling is more labor-intensive.
English peas have a short shelf life. Therefore, they’re best consumed after 3-4 days after picking lest their natural sugar turns into starch.
Common Varieties of English Peas
- Garden Sweet
They’re considered the tastiest variety of garden peas.
They mature in 75 days to form a 3.5-inch pod with about 7-9 peas.
- Survivor Peas
This variety is almost leafless. They boast of tough vines that cling together.
The plant grows to about 2 feet tall to produce pods that have an average of 8 peas.
- Spring Peas
This cultivar of pea has a mildly sweet flavor and matures in 60 days. It produces numerous pods per plant with every pod containing about seven peas inside.
- Wando Peas
This is probably the most popular among these cultivars. It’s very hardy with the ability to tolerate warm to cold weather conditions.
Their dark green pods mature in about 70 days and produce 7-8 peas.
Their taste is moderately sweet.
They’re great for freezing or drying.
- Early Perfection
Their crescent-shaped 3.5 inch long pods produce 8-9 medium-sized green peas.
This cultivar is a bountiful producer, highly resistant to varying weather conditions.
It matures in about 65 days.
- Lincoln Peas
They’re known for their sweet taste and excellent freeze capability.
The pods contain 6-8 large and tender peas.
These peas are very tolerant of heat and ready in 70 days.
- Mr. Big Peas
As their name suggests, this type of peas’ cultivar produces huge dark-green pods with about ten peas. This prize-winning cultivar is moderately sweet.
- Maestro Peas
It’s arguably the best cultivar to harvest during the fall. It’s very prolific and moderately sweet. Their 4.5-inch dark green pods have about 11 medium-size peas. It matures in about 60 days.
- Misty Shell Peas
This prolific cultivar produces 3-inch large pods that contain about eight peas per pod.
They’re plump and sweet and take 50-60 days to mature.
2. Snow Peas/Chinese Peas/Sugar Peas
This cultivar is very popular in Chinese cuisines. They’re easily recognizable via their almost flat shell that has no distinct pea-shape inside. They’re very tiny and traditional in a stir-fry.
They have a curved appearance and best harvested when young. Snow peas spoil their texture if allowed to overripe.
They’re best to harvest when small before their seeds develop. Despite all types of peas, snow peas take the longest days to mature, especially the tall varieties.
Unlike the English peas, they’re edible.
They’re popularly grown for their pods instead of the seeds inside.
Common Varieties of Snow Peas
- Mammoth Melting Sugar Peas
This is arguably the tallest cultivar of snow peas, reaching up to 4-5 feet high.
They produce large 5.5 inch thick pods.
Their peas have a very sweet taste and mature in 70 days.
This variety of peas has a high resistance to high temperatures. They are the best for cooking-the longer their cook duration, the better.
- Sugar Daddy Peas
Their 3 inch long pods contain tender and sweet peas.
They’re known for their high resistance to diseases.
They mature in about 70 days.
- Snowbird Peas
They’re probably the shortest pea plants with an average height of 18 inches.
They’re very prolific.
They produce 3 inch long pods with moderate-sweet peas.
They mature in 60 days.
- Oregon Sugar Pods
Their plant is considerably long, standing at 2.5 feet.
Their prolific 4-inch pods are very tender and sweet.
This cultivar boasts of high resistance to diseases.
They mature in 70 days.
- Avalanche Peas
This prolific variety bears 6-inch dark green pods. It’s resistant to diseases. Their peas are sweet and tender.
3. Sugar Snap Peas
This type of peas is a cross-breed of English and Snow peas. They are usually allowed to plump, an aspect that makes them resemble the English peas. However, they are not as plump, and therefore their pea is generally smaller.
However, unlike the garden peas, their pods are crisp and edible. As such, they don’t need shelling and usually are used the same way as snow peas. Also, they last longer when the weather warms up.
Sugar snap peas thrive in a well-drained loamy soil. Their pea pod is more cylindrical than the English pea variety and similarly sweet when eaten as a snack or raw veggie.
Common Varieties of Sugar Snap Peas
- Super Snappy Peas
This unique variety has super large pods that contain about ten peas.
There are known for their great taste, crispy nature, and high resistance to diseases.
They ready in 60-65 days.
- Sugar Bon Peas
This variety produces pods that are 3 inches long.
They’re very sweet and have high resistance to diseases.
They mature in 55 days.
- Sugar Snap Peas
This prize-winning variety of peas can grow up to 6 feet high.
They are very prolific and sweet.
Their pods are usually 3 inches long.
- Super Sugar Snap VP
This is a very generous producer. It bears 3-inch pods, and the plant can reach a height of 5-6 inches.
They’re sweeter than the original sugar-snap variety.
They mature in 65 days and are known for their high resistance to diseases.
- Sugar Ann Peas
This cultivar matures in 55 days.
It’s crispy and very sweet.
This disease-resistant can reach 2 feet high with their pods producing seven peas each.
Summing It Up
I promised, hope I’ve delivered to your expectation. What’s more, I hope you’ve been thrilled to learn about these different types of peas.
Now, the ball is in your court. Regardless of which type of peas appeals to you, ensure you grow your peas. It’s only through that that you’re guaranteed to enjoy their great taste.