What are Snowbird peas? A type of sweet, tender snow pea (also known as sugar pea), Snowbird peas aren’t shelled like traditional garden peas. Instead, the crispy pod and the small, sweet peas inside are eaten whole – often stir fried or lightly sautéed to maintain the flavor and texture. If you’re looking for a delicious, easy-to-grow pea, Snowbird may be just the ticket. Read on to learn about growing snowbird peas.

Growing Snowbird Peas

Snowbird pea plants are dwarf plants that reach heights of about 18 inches (46 cm.). In spite of their size, the plants produce a large number of peas in clusters of two to three pods. They are grown nearly everywhere, as long as the climate provides a period of cool weather. Plant Snowbird peas as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Peas prefer cool, damp weather. They will tolerate light frost, but they don’t perform well when temperatures exceed 75 degrees F. (24 C.). Growing Snowbird pea plants requires full sunlight and well-drained soil. Work in a small amount of general-purpose fertilizer a few days prior to planting. Alternatively, dig in a generous amount of compost or well-rotted manure. Allow about 3 inches (8 cm.) between each seed. Cover the seeds with about 1 ½ inches (4 cm.) of soil. Rows should be 2 to 3 feet (61-91 cm.) apart. Watch for seeds to germinate in seven to ten days.

Pea ‘Snowbird’ Care

Water the seedlings as needed to keep the soil moist but never soggy, as peas need consistent moisture. Increase watering slightly when the peas begin to bloom. Apply 2 inches (5 cm.) of mulch when the plants are about 6 inches (15 cm.) tall. A trellis isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will provide support and prevent the vines from sprawling across the ground. Snowbird pea plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer, but you can apply a small amount of general-purpose fertilizer no more than once per month throughout the growing season. Keep weeds in check, as they will draw moisture and nutrients from the plants. However, be careful not to disturb the roots. The peas are ready to pick about 58 days after planting. Harvest Snowbird peas every two to three days, beginning when the pods begin to fill out. If the peas grow too large for eating whole, you can shell them like regular peas.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.