peas and snap or green beans from the home vegetable garden can
add variety and nutrition to family meals. These vegetables can
be prepared directly from the garden or can be frozen, canned or
dried for later use.
peas planted in early spring are usually ready for harvest by June
10 in the Northeast, depending on average temperatures, and may
be harvested for up to two weeks. Snap beans planted in May or June
are harvested from sometime in late June through mid-October. Successive
plantings of small quantities of snap beans ensure a more continuous
are grown for either their edible seeds or pods. Garden or English
peas, grown for their seeds, are harvested as soon as the pods are
well-filled but the seeds are still tender and sweet. When small
and tender, these peas can be eaten raw in salads. For cooking,
shell just before using and cook immediately.
peas or sugar peas have edible flat pods and very small seeds. They
should be picked when very young, just as the seeds start to form.
If not picked at this stage, they can be shelled and eaten as garden
peas, but are more starchy and not as sweet.
snap peas are also an edible pod pea but have larger and sweeter
seeds and a thicker pod. They are grown to full size and then eaten
like snap beans. Sugar snap peas grow on tall vines that require
the support of a trellis.
may be harvested at various times, depending on how they are to
be used. When the seeds are immature and the pods edible, they are
used as snap beans. High-quality snap beans should be harvested
when tender and well-shaped, before the developing seeds cause the
pods to bulge. As the seeds mature, they may be used as green shell
beans or as dry shell beans if seeds mature fully and pods are allowed
plants may have either a bush habit of growth or a pole/vining habit.
As with climbing pea varieties, pole beans should be staked or trellised
for ease of picking. Bush beans and peas are recommended if garden
space is limited.
are a cool-season crop and may be planted in early spring as soon
as the soil can be worked. Sow seeds about one inch deep and two
inches apart in the row. Low-growing varieties can be grown in rows
18 to 24 inches apart. Climbers need three feet between rows, or
plant a double row six inches apart on either side of a trellis.
are a warm-season crop and should be planted after danger of frost
has passed. Sow seeds one inch deep in heavy soils and 1-1/2 inches
deep in sandy soils. Bush beans should be spaced three to four inches
apart in the row. Space pole beans six to ten inches apart along
a trellis or plant several beans to a pole.
peas and beans can be grown in a variety of soils, but good drainage
is essential. Peas require a pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Beans prefer a slightly
more acid condition of pH 5.8 to 6.3.
application rates are best determined using the results of a soil
test. Fertilizer may either be broadcast and worked into the soil
before planting time or banded two inches to the side and three
inches below the seed at the time of planting. A later side dressing,
after pods begin to form, may be necessary if plants appear yellowish
or are not growing well.
Weed control is essential, especially in the first six weeks after
planting. Shallow cultivation and hand-pulling are the preferred
methods. The soil should be kept evenly moist. Overhead watering
should be done early in the day to reduce the incidence of leaf
diseases which can occur when the leaves remain wet overnight. An
organic mulch about two inches deep will conserve soil moisture
and reduce weed problems.
that may attack beans include anthracnose, bacterial blight, mosaic,
root rot and rust. Pea diseases include powdery
mildew, root rot and wilt. If possible, rotate the location
of peas and beans in the garden to reduce the incidence of soil-borne
diseases that can build up over time.
pests of peas and beans include aphids,
Mexican bean beetles, leafhoppers,
seed corn maggots and mites.
peas and beans begin to reach the appropriate stage for picking,
harvesting will continue on a daily basis for several days or even
weeks with succession planting. Peas and beans are best used as
soon as possible after harvest, but may be stored in the refrigerator
for a few days if cooled immediately. For best quality, freezing
and canning should be done within a few hours after picking.
from Marianne Riofrio, Ohio State University Extension, 2000