The snow pea is a legume that originated in southwestern Asia and is eaten whole in the pod, as its French name, mange-tout explains, meaning “eat it all.” Pods are broad, flat, soft, and translucent with tiny and tender sweet peas inside. Snow peas are often referred to as sugar snap peas or Chinese pea pods, and are popular raw as a snack or in stir-fry dishes.
References: North Carolina Grower/Shipper Directory, Ohio State University, Oregon State University Extension.
TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
Popular snow pea varieties include Dwarf White Sugar, Mammoth Melting Sugar, Nofilla, Oregon Giant, Oregon Sugar Pod, Short ’n Sweet, Snowflake, Snowman, and Sugar Daddy.
References: Ohio State University, Oregon State University, University of Florida.
PESTS & DISEASE
Ascochyta can affect pods, leaves, and stems with flecks and spots that eventually turn black. Yellowing and wilting of the lower leaves and stunting of plants is usually fusarium wilt or root-rot disease. Neither is as prevalent in well-drained soils; abundant organic matter in raised beds can improve soil aeration and drainage.
Both downy and powdery mildew can take hold; the former appears as small, yellowing blotches on upper leaf surfaces with greyish purple fungal growth on the underside, while the latter causes discoloring on upper leaves followed by white powdery mildew that can appear blue in color.
Aphids damage buds by draining plant juices, and thrips feed on blossoms, buds, or leaves also draining fluids. Affected parts of the plant turn brownish-yellow, blacken, shrivel up and drop prematurely.
Stink bugs damage seeds and pods and also transmit yeast-spot disease.
Other pests affecting snow peas and other pea varieties include mites, cutworms, and root-knot nematodes.
References: Integrated Pest Management North Carolina, Saskatchewan Agriculture, University of Florida.