Best pea varieties

See our top picks for peas

PEAS FOR SHELLING

They're ready to pick when their pods fill with sweet, plump peas.

'Dual' is a new variety that produces 10 to 14 peas per pod, compared to 8 to 10 peas of most other varieties. A bush type, it bears many pods in pairs, instead of singly.

'Garden Sweet', another new variety, contains 25 percent more sugar than most peas and stays sweet longer after picking (up to 48 hours) than other peas. A vining type, it reaches 3 to 4 feet.

'Maestro' also produces many double pods on a bush-type plant over a relatively long season. Excellent disease resistance.

'Novella II' is a semi-leafless bush type. Excellent disease resistance.

PEAS WITH EDIBLE PODS

You eat them pod and all.

Snow peas. Bred to be harvested young, their flat pods are perfect for stir-fries. The two most widely sold varieties, 'Oregon Giant' and 'Oregon Sugar Pod II', are bush types. If you wait too long to harvest most snow peas, they develop a string that you have to remove before eating, but 'Oregon Sugar Pod II' is virtually stringless.

Snap peas. These are ready to pick as soon as the peas swell the pods. If you leave them on the vine too long, most snaps develop a string. 'Sugar Snap' and 'Super Sugar Snap' are extra-sweet vining types (to 6 feet). 'Sugar Ann' and the stringless 'Sugar Sprint' are bush types. 'Mega', also a bush type, handles both colder and hotter weather better than many others.

SEED SOURCES

Burpee Seeds: (800) 888-1447 or www.burpee.com.

Nichols Garden Nursery: (800) 422-3985 or www.nicholsgardennursery.com.

Territorial Seed Company: (541) 942-9547 or www.territorialseed.com.

Vermont Bean Seed Company: (803) 663-0217 or www.vermontbean.com.

West Coast Seeds: (604) 952-8820 or www.westcoastseeds.com.

 

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