Developed by Dr. James Baggett and introduced by Oregon State University, for which it is named.
‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ features extremely hardy, high yielding vines of 10cm (4in) flat pods that hold their colour well. A bush variety, growing to only 90 to 120cm (36 to 48in) tall. The translucent, bright green pods are crisp, tender and full of flavour. The tiny peas inside are tender and sweet.
Oregon Sugar Pod often produces pods in clusters of two opposed to the usual one. This pea variety is one of the best choices for the short season of cooler climates. Extremely disease resistant, to wilt, pea enation virus and streak virus.
These fast growing plants can be harvested with the pick-and-grow-again method. One to four cuttings can be obtained in a growing season. Easy to grow, they crop in 60 to 65 days and are an excellent variety for home gardening.
High in Vitamins A, B and C, this excellent pea variety is entirely edible, including the pod, which accounts for its French name, mange-tout, or "eat it all." An essential vegetable in Chinese cooking, the sweet, crunchy pods are ideal for stir-fry dishes and used raw in salads.
At their freshest, snow peas epitomize the best in vegetation when cooked or eaten raw - so go ahead and mange-tout! That's what they are made for!
Pea 'Oregon Sugar Pod was awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 2000, this was reconfirmed in 2011.
Peas require a sunny, position with well-drained but rich soil with a neutral pH, so if yours is at all acidic, the ground should be limed a few weeks before sowing.
Ideally, the ground would be dug and manured the autumn before sowing, but if you have good garden soil, a thin dressing of good garden compost or well-rotted manure just before sowing is adequate. This will help to improve the soil’s moisture-retaining ability during hot, dry summers.
In well drained soil, peas can be sown outdoors in November, for an early crop.
In spring, wait until the soil is warm to the touch, which will be some time between the middle of March and the middle of May, depending on your soil and where you live. Putting a layer of fleece over the soil in early March will help warm up the soil by as much as a couple of weeks. Make successional sowings every two weeks.
An old gardeners saying that 'rows should be sown in a North to South direction' had me wondering for years – all became clear when I found this explanation - “Since peas are prone to powdery mildew, plant them in rows that run north and south so that each plant has maximum opportunity for the sun to burn off the dew.”
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 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.
Peas sown in cold, wet ground will rot so make sure the soil is warm. In early spring, cover the soil with polythene before sowing and then protect seedlings with fleece.
Sow seed in a single row 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) apart, ensuring there is enough space for plant supports. Make a single V-shaped drill, 5cm (2in) deep, water the base of the drill and sow the peas. A second row can be added, as long as it’s 30cm (12in) away from the first drill.
It is important to have room to get between the rows to pick - 3ft is probably the minimum and 6ft is ideal. If using the latter spacing, a crop of radish or lettuce can be grown in the gap, to be harvested before you start picking the peas.
Water your peas well after sowing, and then leave them - except in very dry weather - until they flower, when they should have a really good soak to encourage good pod formation. Keep them weeded until well established.
All but the most dwarf varieties need support. Once peas have reached, 5 to 8cm (2 to 3in) in height and their tendrils begin to reach out for support, place supports next to plants. Use bamboo canes, pea sticks, trellis, netting, chicken wire or use any garden pruning that produces twiggy branches.
Regular picking is essential for a truly fresh pea. The more you harvest, the more they will produce. Harvest from the bottom of the plant working upwards. Do not pull up the plant as the roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Best eaten fresh, eat raw or boil straight after picking. Serve with just a knob of butter and a sprig of mint from the garden. The tips of the vines and the top set of leaves of the pea plant are an Oriental delicacy. They can be served raw in salads, quickly cooked in stir-fries, or blanched and used in soups.
Peas can be stored in the crisper section of the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Freeze any excess pea harvest as quickly as possible because the sugar in peas turns to starch very quickly after picking, which destroys that precious sweetness.
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.
Originally introduced by Oregon State University, having been developed at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station at Corvallis, Oregon from a cross of Wando and Geneva 168 which was then crossed to Dwarf Gray Sugar Pod.
Dr James R. Baggett:
James R. Baggett was a faculty member at Oregon State University from 1956 until his retirement in 1995. He earned his BS in Horticulture from the University of Idaho in 1952 and his Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State College in 1956. As a faculty member, he continued the breeding work that he had begun as a graduate student and became head of the vegetable breeding program in 1973 when his mentor and colleague, William A. (‘Tex’) Frazier retired.
His contributions were made through improvement and adaptation of many varieties of garden peas, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, sweet corn, tomatoes, carrots as well as other vegetables with a concentration on breeding and testing of vegetables for processing, fresh market, and home garden use
He developed more than 45 vegetable varieties during his career, and is especially well known among home gardeners for the tomato and pea varieties he developed. He has published many articles and has been recognised nationally by a variety of food and agriculture organizations. Awards include the Award for Meritorious Service (1989) from the National Pea Improvement Association, the National Food Producers Award for Raw Products Research (1978), the Agricultural Service Award (1986) and the Distinguished Service Award (1990) from the Northwest Food Processors Association.
Dr. Baggett retired in 1995 and is a professor emeritus of horticulture at Oregon State University.
Oregon State University:
Oregon State University (OSU) is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land grant, sea grant, space grant and sun grant institution. It is also Oregon's only institution ranked in the Carnegie Foundation's top tier for research universities. Its more than 19,000 students come from more than 80 countries. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of global importance.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50 gms Average Seed Count 175 Seeds Common Name Snow pea, Chinese Snow Pea.
Heritage variety (USA)
Family Leguminosae Genus Pisum Species sativum. macrocarpon group Cultivar Oregon Sugar Pod Synonym Mange tout Hardiness Hardy Annual Soil Well-drained but rich soil with a neutral pH Time to Sow Sow outdoors in November, for an early crop
or sow between the middle of March and the middle of May