Sugar Snap 'Delikett' is a high quality variety sugar snap pea. With a compact plant habit the plants grow to only around 65cm (25in) tall, yet produce high yields of delicious pods that grow to around 8 to 9cm (3½in) long. The dark green cylindrical pods are entirely stringless with excellent sweet flavour and can be harvested over a long period.
It makes sense to grow sugar snap peas, they are often ridiculously expensive to buy and quite limited in their availability and yet they are very easy to grow. Sow successionally every ten days from February to May to harvest from May through to August. One great feature is that they are usable over quite a period. Even at several days old with the peas fully developed they are still good.
Unlike mange-tout you pick snow peas once the pods have started to round, but don't leave them too long as they lose their tenderness with age. Sugar Snap peas are best eaten young, raw, steamed, sautéed or stir-fried. They can also be frozen. In reality, they rarely get as far as being cooked ... as they often don't even make it out of the veg plot!
Sugar Pea "Delikett" has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Peas require a sunny, nutrient-rich, moisture-retentive site. Dig over the soil and add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure – this will help to improve the soil’s moisture-retaining ability during hot, dry summers.
Sowing: Sow in Spring and in Autumn
To grow an early crop, try sowing seeds in a length of old guttering. Drill drainage holes at regular intervals along the base. Fill to the top with seed compost and space the seeds about 7.5cm (3in) apart.
Place the guttering in the greenhouse or a cold frame. Keep the compost moist and transplant into the garden once the seedlings have established. Dig out a shallow trench and gently slide the pea seedlings into it. Water and cover with cloches to encourage growth. Autumn and early spring sowings will benefit from cloche protection. Germination is dependent upon temperatures and soil warmth. Usually 1 to 2 weeks. The ideal soil temperature for germination is 10°C to 24°C (50-75°F)
Sow directly into the garden as soon as soil is workable in early spring. Peas sown in cold, wet ground will rot off, so make sure the soil is warm. In early spring, cover the soil with polythene before sowing and then protect seedlings with a fleece.
Sow seed in a single row 5-10cm (2-4in) apart. Make a single V-shaped drill, 5cm (2in) deep, water the base of the drill and sow the peas. Cover with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of fine soil firmed down. A second row can be added, as long as it’s 30cm (12in) away from the first drill.
Keep the rows weeded and once the plants are 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) tall twiggy sticks for support can be provided although this is not essential. Watering when the plants are in flower will improve cropping. For an Autumn crop, sow in mid to late July.
Pick early and frequently, before pods begin to plump. Regular picking is essential for a truly fresh pea. The more you harvest, the more they will produce. Pinch both tips off just before using. Eat fresh or cooked. For best cooking results stir-fry or steam for about a minute. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Harvest from the bottom of the plant working upwards. Do not pull the plant after harvest, as the roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Cut off the stems at ground level, allowing the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil for the next crop to use.
Peas are a useful part of the gardener's vegetable rotation. Cut off the stems at ground level, and allow the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil. The nitrogen can be taken up by the crop that follows them - usually a brassica such as cabbage.
It was only recently, in the 1970s, that sugar snap peas were developed, the result of a cross between garden peas and snow peas. Today, the largest commercial producers of fresh peas are the United States, Great Britain, China, Hungary and India.
Snap peas have plump pods with a crisp, snappy texture. The pods of both snow peas and snap peas are edible, and both feature a slightly sweeter and cooler taste than the garden pea.