I grew three kinds of peas this year. One snow pea, Mammoth Melting and two snap peas, Cascadia and Super Sugar Snap. I'm not a fan of shelling peas because I just don't get enough of a harvest for the effort. I like the others just as well so I stick with them.
- March 26th: planted 2" apart in rows 6" apart
- April 10th: germination
- April 24th: gaps reseeded
- June 14th: snowpeas harvested
- June 17th: the rest of the pea varieties harvested
- July 24th: both snap peas pulled
- August 4th: last snow pea harvest
Cascadia was a really nice and controlled pea plant. Super Sugar Snap was one of those out of control pea plants that grow 6' tall. It turned out Cascadia is a heavier producer than SSS because it produced more over time. SSS was prolific at the start, but petered out faster. I don't have harvest totals for the two separately since many times they got mixed up when picking so they were just recorded under mixed peas and not their variety, but I did get enough separate weighings to tell that Cascadia did better overall. In addition Cascadia was a better tasting pea.
Snap pea harvest total: 6.7 lbs for both varieties. They took up about 6 sqft of growing space and were only in through the end of July, so their production was great. They were out in time to plant fall crops.
Mammoth Melting has nothing to compare it to since it was the only variety of that type I grew. It is a hugely prolific pea. It produced more than either of my other peas - 4lbs in 3 sqft. Often snowpeas are considered less prolific than snap peas, but these are not. They are more prolific. Their growth habit is annoying though. They are tall plants. I think given a better trellis they would get to 8'. Instead they tried taking over their neighbors' spaces and it was a losing battle to keep them in place. Next year I should put them on the edge so I only have to fight the battle on one side. They are probably not the tastiest pea. They aren't as sweet as some. In addition a couple of the vines produced pods with fibrous peas. I tried to remove those vines, but it is hard once they are big and tangled. Luckily I could tell the pods when picking them so they wouldn't get into the pot.
I didn't have any real problems with insect pests this year. I did have some good patches of aphids and some earwigs that were eating them (I'm assuming since they didn't seem to damage the plant). Nothing was out of control. The plants did get powdery mildew as time wore on. This is totally normal and came at the expected time. So there were no problems out of the ordinary.
I tried a new preservation technique - pickling peas. It turned out pretty well. I was missing having pickles and they do make great pickles. I like cucumber pickles a bit better, but these are a great substitute. I didn't freeze any peas this year and I think I would like to try next year.
Next year I will grow Cascadia and might use the rest of the SSS seed, but I really like the taste of Cascadia and its controlled growth habit better. I'm on the fence with Mammoth Melting. I love its production, but its taste isn't top notch. I also wonder if I should try a yellow podded pea since my biggest issue is trying to find the pods before they get too big. Pea pods have a nasty habit of hiding. I don't know how the MM pods can hide so well since they are huge, but they do. If I could find a three foot yellow podded snowpea that tasted good and was prolific, I'd be in heaven. Then I could just make a 3' trellis instead of a 6' trellis.
Also next year I'd like to grow my fall peas again. Not a huge amount, but maybe one three foot section would be enough for peas for stirfries.