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Choosing Vegetable Varieties: Peas

Peas are my favourite thing to grow. I grow all kinds – traditional shelling peas (some of them get frozen for winter use), crisp and crunchy snap peas, delicate thin snow peas, and soup peas to dry for the winter. All of them grow well here, though there are a few pests and diseases, and dry peas are far more reliable than dry beans if you’re growing them for winter protein.

Read on for my favorite varieties of the different kinds:

sugar snap peas on trellis

Shelling Peas

  • Meteor – a UK variety that grows small pods on small plants but is the fastest pea I’ve ever tried. Always the first shelling pea to be picked, this is always part of the first early batch of peas I plant.
  • Green Arrow – a tallish bush that is super-reliable and a  good cropper. My standard for any planting date.
  • Tall Telephone – takes longer than bush peas to crop, but then keeps on growing and setting new pods until it succumbs to powdery mildew. I’ve been selecting these for longer pods and more pods per vine, from a rather raggedy initial commercial batch from a cheap seed company.

Snap Peas

  • Sugar Snap – a vine that just keeps going and going
  • Cascadia – bush pea that’s very reliable

Snow Peas

  • Oregon sugar pod – big pods, bush plants, long season
  • Purple podded snow pea – this is an old variety that doesn’t have the tenderest pods but it’s worth it for the bright purple colour!

Soup Peas

  • Carlin – this has been my standard for many years. It’s strong-growing vine that dries down very reliably by the first week in August, thus avoiding the September rains that ruin so many dry bean crops here. Again, I am doing some selecting on this for more pods, bigger pods, and stronger vines.

This year I’ll be trying several new-to-me soup peas:  Swedish Red, Ancient Peas, Gold Harvest and Golden Edible Pod (which can be used as a snow pea or dried for a soup pea). I’ll probably have seed to share at Seedy Saturday in 2015.