| Growing Peas and Snap Beans in the Home
Garden HYG-1617-92 Marianne Riofrio
and snap or green beans from the home vegetable garden can add variety and
nutrition to family meals. These vegetables can be prepared direct from the
garden, as well as frozen, canned or dried for later use. Fresh peas planted in
early spring are usually ready for harvest by mid June, depending on average
temperatures, and may be harvested for up to two weeks.
planted in May or June are harvested from sometime in late June through
mid-October. Successive plantings of small quantities of snap beans ensure a
more continuous harvest. Types of Peas and Beans Peas are grown for either
their edible seeds or pods. Garden or English peas, grown for their seeds, are
harvested as soon as the pods are well-filled but the seeds are still tender
When small and tender, these peas can be eaten raw in
salads. For cooking, shell them just before using and cook immediately. Some
suggested garden pea cultivars are Little Marvel, Thomas Laxton, Wando,
Freezonian, Frosty, Knight, Alderman (tall-growing), Sparkle and Green Arrow.
Snow peas or sugar peas have edible flat pods and very small seeds.
They should be picked when very young, just as the seeds start to form. If not
picked at this stage, they can be shelled and eaten as garden peas, but are
more starchy and not as sweet.
Commonly grown cultivars of snow peas
include Mammoth Melting Sugar, Dwarf Grey Sugar, and Oregon Sugar Pod. Sugar
snap peas are also an edible pod pea but have larger and sweeter seeds and a
thicker pod. They are grown to full size and then eaten like snap beans.
Suggested sugar snap peas cultivars include Sugar Daddy, Sugar Ann
(dwarf), Sugar Snap, and Super Sugar Mel. Sugar snap peas grow on tall vines
that require the support of a trellis. Garden peas and snow peas have both
climbing and low-growing varieties.
Beans may be harvested at various
times depending on how they are to be used. When the seeds are immature and the
pods edible, they are used as snap beans. High-quality snap beans should be
harvested when tender and well-shaped, before the developing seeds cause the
pods to bulge. As the seeds mature, they may be used as green shell beans; or
as dry shell beans, if seeds mature fully and pods are allowed to dry.
There are many other types of beans used as shell or dry beans. Only
the snap or green bean and the yellow wax bean are included here. Bean plants
may have either a bush habit of growth, or a pole or vining habit. As with
climbing pea varieties, pole beans should be staked or trellised for ease of
picking. Bush beans and peas are recommended if garden space is limited.
However, upright trellises can also be real space savers.
many desirable bean cultivars to choose from: Bush-green: Tendergreen,
Tendercrop, Bush Blue Lake, Top Crop, Provider, Bush Romano, Derby and Espada.
Bush-wax: Goldcrop, Sungold. Bush-purple-podded: Royal Burgandy. Pole-green:
Kentucky Wonder, Kentucky Blue, Blue Lake, and Romano.
Peas are a cool-season crop and may be planted in
early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow seeds about one inch deep
and two inches apart in the row. Low-growing varieties can be grown in rows 18
to 24 inches apart. Climbers need three feet between rows, or plant a double
row six inches apart on either side of trellis.
Beans are a warm-season
crop and should be planted after danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds one inch
deep in heavy soils and 1-1/2 inches deep in sandy soils. Bush beans should be
spaced three to four inches apart in the row. Space pole beans six to ten
inches apart along a trellis or plant several beans to a pole. Both peas and
beans can be grown in a variety of soils, but good drainage is essential. Peas
require a pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Beans prefer a slightly more acid condition of pH
5.8 to 6.3.
Fertilizer may either
be broadcast and worked into the soil before planting time or banded two inches
to the side and three inches below the seed at the time of planting. A later
side dressing, after pods begin to form, may be necessary if plants appear
yellowish or are not growing well.
Weed control is essential especially in the first six weeks
after planting. Shallow cultivation and hand-pulling are the preferred methods.
The soil should be kept evenly moist. Overhead watering should be done early in
the day to reduce the incidence of leaf diseases that occur when the leaves
remain wet overnight.
An organic mulch about two inches deep will
conserve soil moisture and reduce weed problems. Diseases that may attack beans
include anthracnose, bacterial blight, mosaic, root rot and rust.
diseases include powdery mildew, root rot and wilt. If possible, rotate the
location of peas and beans in the garden to reduce the incidence of soil-borne
diseases that can build up over time. Insect pests of peas and beans include
aphids, Mexican bean beetles, leafhoppers, seed corn maggots and mites.
Harvest and Handling
Once peas and beans begin to
reach the appropriate stage for picking, harvesting will continue on a daily
basis for several days or even weeks with succession planting. Peas and beans
are best used as soon as possible after harvest, but may be stored in the
refrigerator for a few days if cooled immediately. The same applies for
freezing and canning. For best quality, freezing and canning should be done
within a few hours after picking.
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