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How to sow and grow sugar snaps

The sugar snap is a sweet pea indeed. Like snow peas, you can eat the whole pod too. The sugar snap's crunchy, thick pod walls are extra tasty.
Sugarsnaps in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Sugar snaps

What are sugar snaps?

The sugar snap is a type of pea that you eat pod and all, just like snow peas. It is also known as a snap pea. The original snap pea grows up to 2 meters high, but ours stays low to the ground and grows 60 - 70 cm tall.

Sugar snaps have thick and fleshy pods. Snow pea pods are much thinner, so you harvest those before the peas grow big inside them. 

You harvest snap peas when the peas are large: that's what gives them their sweet taste - and their name. 

Snap peas: full of vitamins, minerals and fiber

Sugar snaps contain vitamins A, B1, B5, and B6 and lots of vitamin C. Also, minerals like potassium, beta-carotene, and phosphorus.

Sugar snaps are low in calories, but high in fiber. Fiber is good for your digestion and makes you feel full. They also contain some protein: good for vegans and vegetarians.

You usually eat them cooked but they're also tasty raw. Just don't eat too many raw sugar snaps: like many other legumes, sugar snaps contain some lectins. Lectins in large quantities are a recipe for a stomach ache. Cooking prevents this.
Sugarsnaps in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Knapperige sugarsnaps

More about our sugar snaps

Our Jessy sugar snap is a low-growing snap pea. The plants grow to about 60-70 cm tall. They don’t need a trellis: they only need a rack for support.

The sugar snap plant does well in cold weather. Usually, you sow them in early spring, but you can sow them again in August.
  • Species name: Jessy
  • Family: legume
  • Plants per square patch: 9
  • Height: 60-70 cm
  • Sowing time: Mid-February through June and in August
  • Sowing depth: 2 to 3 cm
  • Time to harvest: after 9-10 weeks
  • Germination time: 7 to 23°C in 6 to 24 days
  • Sunlight: can grow in sun or shade
Want to buy sugar snaps? You can get the seed bags separately or as part of our essential seed pack:

What do you need to grow your own sugar snaps?

Just this:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil mix
  • sugar snap seeds
  • a spot with at least 4 hours of sunlight a day
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in one of our garden boxes, and MM-Mix.

Growing your own sugar snaps is easy with the MM-Mix. If you grow in low-quality (potting) soil, disappointment is pretty much guaranteed. So don't skimp on soil mix: go for the best.

How do you sow and grow sugar snaps?

Sugar snaps are included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each plant goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So you don't need to know how to grow sugar snaps before you start: the app takes you through every step.
But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Voorkiemen van sugarsnap zaden in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Pre-germinating sugar snaps

Level 1: Pre-sprouting sugar snaps

Before you sow your peas outside in your garden box, you want to help them create their first roots. We call this pre-sprouting.

Pre-sprouting is easy: lay the peas between 2 layers of damp paper towel. After about 4 days, they'll germinate and then you can sow them directly into your garden box.
Voorgekiemde erwt van de sugarsnap Makkelijke Moestuin
Pre-sprouted pea seed

Level 2: Sowing sugar snaps

Make the soil mix in your vegetable garden box or MM-Mini loose and moist.

Here's how to sow:
  • make 9 holes in your patch: 2 to 3 cm deep 
  • choose the nicest-looking peas with roots
  • put 1 pea in each hole: gently so the roots don't break off
  • carefully cover up the holes with soil mix
Now you have a pea patch 🙂 

After about 1 to 2 weeks, you'll see something come up. It depends a bit on the weather and the time of year.

In a cold early spring, it will take a little longer. You can speed up the process by covering your pea patch with a crop cover - like the MM-Muts. It also prevents birds from pecking at the peas.
Opkomende zaailingen van de sugarsnaps Makkelijke Moestuin
Sugar snap seedlings

Level 3: Sugar snap seedlings

As soon as you see the first seedlings, you know things are going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but give it another week or 2.

Then it's time for the next level.
Kleine sugarsnap plantjes Makkelijke Moestuin
Small sugar snap plants

Level 4: Caring for your plants

After a week or 2, your seedlings have already become small plants.

They'll grow fast in the coming weeks. You don't have to do much at all. Easy 🙂 

Level 5: Give your plants support with a rack

Give your plants some support with a mini trellis. You can make one easily by bending garden wire fencing into a U-shape and placing it on top of the pea patch.
Bloeiende sugarsnaps met een steunrekje Makkelijke Moestuin
Sugar snaps with a support rack
4 sticks of bamboo also work. Make a teepee shape or put 1 bamboo stick in each corner of the patch with some string zig-zagged between them. The plants just need something to hold onto and climb. 

In another week or 2, you'll see your first flowers.

Level 6: Blooming sugar snaps

At this level, beautiful white butterfly flowers appear. That's where the pods will grow from. 
Bloem van de sugarsnap
Flowering sugar snaps

Level 7: Harvesting

About 9 - 10 weeks after sowing, it's time to harvest your sugar snaps.

Harvest as soon as you see the first pods. That way the plants produce more flowers. More flowers mean more peas.

It's normal for the leaves to turn a little yellow and get uglier, especially around the bottom of the plant.
Oogstbare sugarsnaps in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Sugar snaps growing in a bamboo teepee

How do you use sugar snaps?

Cut the pods and remove any threads from the side. You eat the entire pea: pod and all. 

Blanch or steam your sugar snaps and toss them in a wok or stir-fry dish, or make salads with them.

You can eat them raw as well - just not too many at once.

The last levels

Keep harvesting until no peas are left and you don't see any more flowers.

The last level: empty your sugar snap patch and get ready to sow something new.

So, ready to grow your own sugar snaps?

They're a tasty and easy vegetable to grow and you can start in early spring. They do well in cooler temperatures and won't attract pests. And at the end of the summer, you sow again.

Plus: with our materials and with help from the app, it's practically impossible to fail 😉

Order your sugar snap seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:

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