Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How Low Can the Snow Peas Go?

Last week saw several inches of snow here in Massachusetts, in what was (hopefully!) winter's last shenanigans.


I was thankful for the snow, as two days later the temperatures dropped into the teens, and my plants needed some insulation.  In fact, enough snow had melted in between that I had to shovel more snow onto my snow pea seedlings in an effort to save them from the cold.


I was worried about my seedlings.  They are called 'snow peas', but just how much cold can snow peas stand?


Apparently, even without snow cover, snow pea seedlings are just fine in temperatures as low as 28°F (-2°C).  In fact, light frosts, which occur between 28°F and 32°F, are actually beneficial to young plants, stimulating more growth.  When temperatures drop to between 20°F and 28°F (-6°C and -2°C) and there is no snow cover, the seedlings can survive but may be the worse for wear.  (It is interesting to note that mature snow pea plants are not as hardy as young ones.  Older plants suffer much more damage from cold and often die when temperatures hit freezing.)


While snow pea seedlings are remarkably hardy all on their own, give them a little snow and you'd be amazed.  With an insulating blanket of snow cover, young snow peas can survive temperatures as low as 10°F  or even 5°F (-12°C to -15°C)!


I'm happy to report that, thanks to their snowy covering, all my seedlings survived last week's cold.
I guess they don't call them 'snow' peas for nothing!


25 comments:

  1. It seems snow peas were named that for a reason! Hopefully spring-like temperatures will arrive at your garden soon.

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    1. It's getting there, slowly but surely!

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  2. Good to know! We had temps in the low 20s last week, with very little snow cover (about an inch), and all my plants that were blooming or emerging seem to have survived OK. They must have internal antifreeze to make it through. Hope spring is here to stay for both of us now!!

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    1. I had some shrubs and perennials that lost some leaves that had leafed out. Hopefully they'll be able to put out a second round. I'm impressed with all the bulbs that still continued to bloom even after having frozen buds!

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  3. This is great information!! Very useful. Our winters get very cold here in TN, but we rarely have any snow cover at all, so I think our winters can actually be harder for plants to handle than winters in places like Massachusetts where plants (like snow peas) can have an insulating blanket of snow...

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    1. I remember when living down in NC having to constantly bring the row covers in and out. We're pretty good here - as long as we do have that snow cover. When we don't it's not pretty!

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  4. That's great! One less thing to worry about. :)

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    1. Ha, definitely! Now on to worrying about the rest of the garden, right?

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  5. Glad to learn your snow peas lived up to the name. I never grew them, so they were not tested in our spring snows.

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    1. It's one of our favorite vegetables, so we always have to grow it :)

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  6. Hooray for tough plants!! I'm glad they pulled through. :o)

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  7. We still have it cold here in London, but not as bad as you guys! I hope spring is arriving for us all soon – I could do with some prolonged, warm, sunny weather. Good luck with your seedlings!

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    1. Me too! We're finally getting to some warmer weather, thankfully!

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  8. Just read your 2 most recent posts and I must admit to being amazed at having snow in early April. We had a Nor'easter blow in a week or so ago and it has provided the most divine gardening weather -- cloud cover and mid-60's but a lot of wind. I've been out there 4 hours a day doing winter clean-up, etc.

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    1. Yeah, it's just a little colder here than where you live... ;)

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  9. Glad your snow peas survived! I haven't even planted mine yet--I'm always late getting the vegetable garden started. I know snow peas like the cold, but I don't think they'll like the 80-degree weather in store for us this week.

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  10. Hope that was the end of the cold weather for you.

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    1. Yes, pretty much thankfully! (knocking on wood!)

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  11. That first photo made me shiver. We also had snow today! Snow in april... I can't believe it. I hope spring has arrived in your garden.

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    1. I think we're finally there, though our last frost date is mid-May.

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  12. My peas seemed to thrive in the cold as well...unlike other plants that did not like the freezing nights without snow protection.

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