Do you know what’s common between soup, salads, and fried rice? They all have peas in them. And the taste isn’t the only reason for it.
They are super healthy as well. Can you believe that something as small as a pea is packed with fibers, potassium, folate, Vitamin A, C, and B6, magnesium, and iron (guess, good things do come in small packages).
Another reason why peas are used so often is that they are readily available throughout the year. The reason being, they mature within 2 to 2.5 months and can handle most climatic conditions.
But here’s something you probably didn’t notice.
NOT ALL PEAS ARE THE SAME.
While they may look the same, there are 3 types of peas, namely, English Peas, Snow Peas, and Sugar Snap Peas.
And whether you just want to be a well-informed buyer or planning to grow peas in your garden, here’s everything you need to know about these 3 types.
Table of Contents
3 Different Types of Peas
Here are the three different types of peas:
1. English Pea
And since that shell isn’t digestible, you have to perform the painstaking process of de-shelling it and removing the sweet, juicy seeds.
It is one of the reasons why people opt for frozen English Peas. But keep in mind, they lose some nutritional value and sweetness due to which they don’t taste the same.
If you are planning on growing the English Peas, you also need to know about Cultivars. So here’s a low down on its various cultivars
These peas get their name because they grow the best in the spring season. It takes between 55-60 days to mature and produces around 6-8 pods per plant.
As the name suggests, this one is a real survivor. Why? Even though its leafless growth makes it look weak and pale, they are anything but that and can produce 7-8 pods per plant. This is all thanks to the clingy vines that provide it the strength and nutrients needed.
Unless you are up for a challenge, this isn’t the cultivar for you since they are the hardest to grow. Wondering why?
That’s because they take the most time to grow (about 70-80 days) and require a lot of care Though, on the bright side, these are perfect cultivars if you live in a city with extreme climates due to their strong resistance. This also makes them ideal for frying and freezing.
You can get 7-8 pods per plant with this cultivar.
While most of the above cultivars are moderately sweet, the Garden Sweet is a tad sweeter. They are also some of the longest pods you will come across at 3-4-inches and take 70 days to grow. But it is worth the time as you get 8-9 pods per plant.
Not as sweet as the Garden Sweet but equally long if not longer. Their length can vary between 3-4 inches as well and you get about 8-9 pods from a single plant.
Early Perfection stays true to its name. They grow in 55-60 days and their perfect crescent shape always catches the eye.
The average length of these cultivars is 3.5 inches and you get around 8-9 pods. This is another cultivar that can handle hot and dry weather like that in Texas.
Like the Wando Peas, these babies are also ideal to grow in cities with extreme climates making them ideal to freeze and use later. They yield 7-8 pods and take 70 days to grow.
That name always gives me a chuckle and the reason it is called so is that it can yield up to 10 pods. This cultivar is darker in color and moderately sweet which makes it perfect for salads and soups.
If you are looking for a highly profitable cultivar, we’d suggest the Maestro. That’s because its 4.5-inch size means you get around 11 pods. Plus, it takes a mere 60-days to grow and is best harvested during fall. They are also darker than Garden Peas.
Little Marvel is just as it says. These medium-sized peas give 7-8 pods that are about 3-inches long and sweet and thus, ideal for garnishing. It takes 60-65 days to grow them.
Misty Shells also takes about 60 days to be yield-ready and you get 7-8 pods per plant. Plus, you need to use very little fertilizer to grow them. They are also sweet, plump, and can be used in almost any food.
2. Snow Peas
If you love cooking/eating Chinese food, this is the peas you will come across more often. The French call it Mangetout which means, eat it all.
The main difference between garden peas and snow peas is that snow peas are flat and thus easily recognizable.
Also, you can chop these up and add them to the recipe with the shell and seeds (say goodbye to the hassle of de-shelling with these babies).
Like garden peas, there are cultivars for snow peas as well. More about them below.
What makes this plant ideal for a home garden is its compact size. The entire plant is just 17-18- inches long while the pod is 3-inches long. They are relatively sweeter and take 60-65 to grow and need little fertilizer which makes them cost-effective.
You have read it right, this wasn’t a typo. This snow pea cultivar is known as Sugar Daddy as it is sweeter than most other cultivars. These also require minimal fertilizers and care since they are least prone to diseases. Though on the downside, growing them can take 70-74 days which is longer than other cultivars.
Like most pea plants, Gray Sugar’s average size is also around 3-inches with a moderately sweet taste and the right amount of crispiness for fried rice and other stir fry recipes.
It grows in 65 days and its lavender-colored flowers are sure to lift the look of your garden. Also, these flowers are edible and increase the visual appeal of any salad.
Mammoth Melting Sugar
Unless you have access to a large area, do not try to grow these cultivars. As the name suggests, they are mammoth, at least when compared to other pea cultivars. Their height can range from 4-5 feet while their pods are 5-6 inches.
This makes them more suited for recipes that require a large number of peas like a pea and mint dip (oh, that’s a must-try). Even with their big size, these take just 70 days to grow and can handle high heat without any trouble.
Oregon Sugar Pods
Behind only Mammoth Melting Sugar in terms of height, this plant stands at about 2.5 to 3 feet and it takes around the same time to grow (70-75 days).
This is also immune to a lot of diseases such as mildew, mosaic virus, and common wilt and thus, an ideal plant for first-time gardeners with big gardens. Plus, they require fewer fertilizers.
Oregon Sugar Pod #2
We’ll call this one the twin brother of the Oregon Sugar Pods. While their look and size are similar, this is the more profitable plant as it delivers a higher yield.
You can easily get 8-10 pods per plant and it takes about 70 days to grow them. They are sweet, tender and just like their brother are packed with vitamins including Vitamins A, B, and C.
Avalanche peas are another cultivar that can be grown in less space since their plant is just 30-inches tall.
They also have fewer leaves and the pods can be 5-6-inches long which makes harvesting it easier as they can be spotted in seconds.
It takes 60-days to grow with little care as these plants are resistant to diseases like fusarium wilt and powdery mildew.
3. Sugar Snap Peas
Same same but different, that’s the best way to describe Sugar Snap Peas and Snow Peas. The reason for their similarity is that Sugar Snap Pea is a hybrid of the Snow Pea.
As for the differences, the main difference is that Sugar Snap Pea Pods are more cylindrical.
These are also more versatile peas as you can de-shell them and use the peas in salads while the shell can be chopped and added to fried rice or stir-fries for a bit of crispiness.
Below are the most popular cultivars for Sugar Snap Peas.
These cultivars grow in one of the shortest times as they require just 50-55 days and are perfect for small gardens. That’s because the plant grows no more than 24-inches. These are sweet, plumpy, and crisp, and resistant to diseases like Downy Mildew.
This is one for the professionals as the plant goes up to 6 feet which makes its management harder. Plus, it is prone to Fusarium wilt and needs to be taken better care of. The larger size also comes with greater yield and the pods are 3-inches long.
These cultivars have one of the largest pods that can contain up to 10 seeds which are sweet and plump while the shell is crispy making it great for stir-fries.
Super snappy peas can even be grown indoors and can be moved out as the weather changes. Maintenance is easy as they are resistant to diseases. It takes 65 days for the plant to mature.
Super Sugar Snap VP
These are bigger plants that can grow up to 5-6 feet and thus not ideal for smaller home gardens. The pod is about 3 inches long and tends to be sweeter than the actual sugar snap peas. It takes about 65 days to grow and is very resistant to diseases.
These again are on the sweeter side and give around 6-7 peas in a pod. Ideal for home gardens, these take about 50-55 days to mature and require little care due to their strong resistance to diseases. But make sure you live in areas with temperatures less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 C.) or the vines die.
Tips for Growing Different Types of Peas
Following are some of the tips that can come in handy in case you decide to plant peas and grow them:
- The seeds should be sown a month or six weeks before the last spring frost date when the soil is at an optimum temperature.
- The spot for seeding which is selected should be sunny and well-drained.
- Rotate the crop with other crops every few years to prevent the risk of pests in the soil.
- Pea plants generally thrive when provided with artificial light. Since it can be provided around the clock, this will accelerate the growth process.
- Make arrangements, so the temperature remains around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It is advisable to seed the peas right into the ground directly.
- Watering of the peas should be done sparsely, around 1 inch per week.
That is pretty much everything you need to know about the types of peas. If you are planning to grow peas in your garden and have questions regarding it, hit us up via the contact page or in the comments below and our experts will get back to you asap.