PISUM sativum var. macrocarpon 'Dwarf Gray Sugar'
Plant Common Name
Dwarf Gray Sugar Snow Pea, Snow Pea
The versatile snow pea, ‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’, is an heirloom selection that has been cultivated for more than 200 years. In recent years, it has resurfaced in popularity because of its tender reddish shoots and flowers and green pods are all edible. This pea cultivar is self-fertile and produces pods early. Days to harvest depend on which part of the plant is harvested. Pea shoots can be harvested in 30 to 32 days, flowers in 40 to 42 days and immature snow pea pods in 57 to 60 days. Plant a few seeds at weekly intervals for a longer harvest season.
Few cool season crops are as satisfying and welcome in spring as the humble garden pea. Peas have been cultivated for their edible seeds and pods for thousands of years. Their area of origin is thought to be the eastern Mediterranean region, including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, where wild pea plants still exist. These herbaceous annuals are grown for their immature, or mangetout, pea pods that are crisp, sweet and flat. Fresh snow peas, like 'Dwarf Gray Sugar', are favored in Asian cooking and easy to grow in the garden.
This annual vine is covered with red-tinted, pale green, compound leaves with rounded leaflets arranged in pairs on the leaf stem. The leaves are tipped with branched, curled tendrils that curl around objects and help the fine pea stems climb. The reddish pink pea flowers are lightly fragrant. Each has a large, rounded upper petal subtended by smaller central petals that form a lip, or keeled beak. The blooms are produced in loose clusters on short stems among the foliage.
Full sun and rich, friable soil with good drainage is needed for vigorous growth and fruit set. Peas are cool season vegetables, so in the north temperate zones they are planted in early spring as soon as the soil is workable or in fall, once temperatures are cool again. In southern, frost-free zones they are planted in winter. Pea seeds should be directly sown in the ground because seedlings do not transplant well. Overwatering seeds before they germinate can lead to seed rot, so be sure to keep them moderately moist, never wet.
Like many members of the bean family, peas have a mutually beneficial relationship with a bacterium called Rhizobium, which allows plants to add nitrogen to the soil. Seeds and plants often do better if tossed in a commercially available Rhizobium inoculum before planting.