Snow peas are a delight to grow in the garden. Also known as sugar snap peas, these bushy climbers produce an edible pod in addition to plump peas. Left on their own, they require trellising but can be prone to pest damage. Luckily, companion planting with the right neighbors enhances pest control, pollination, and overall vigor. Keep reading to discover the best companion plants for snow peas and how interplanting leads to bountiful harvests of crisp, juicy pods all season.
For the Clearest Views of Nature: Carrots & Radishes
Carrots and radishes make ideal companion plants for pole snow peas. These quick-growing root vegetables reach just 1-2 feet tall, offering visual diversity without obscuring views of the peas’ beauty. Their ferny leaves also provide beneficial shade and moisture retention for shallow-rooted snow pea’s roots.
The bright flowers of carrots and radishes also attract pollinating bees and predatory insects to patrol for pests. Plus, the loose nature of radish and carrot foliage allows easier access for harvesting without damaging vines.
To Repel Pests: Onions & Chives
Onions and chives make excellent deterrents for common snow pea pests like aphids. These allium family members release compounds into the soil that insects find offensive and pungent.
Choose hardy perennial varieties of these alliums like evergreen bunching onions and garlic chives. They’ll come back year after year, blanketing the bases of your pea trellises with insect repellency.
To Attract Pollinators: Marigold & Nasturtium
As flowering plants that benefit from insect visitation, snow peas produce higher yields when thoroughly pollinated. Unfortunately, many modern garden landscapes lack enough native pollinator habitat to support essential bee and butterfly populations.
Growing flowering companion plants like marigolds and nasturtiums directly in your pea plot gives pollinators a dedicated food and shelter source.
Marigolds are particularly useful as they deter a wide range of common pests like whiteflies, beetles, and nematodes that can hamper pea growth.
Nasturtiums bloom vibrantly in colors ranging from orange to red to yellow, enticing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Their trailing nature makes them a natural choice for living mulch, blanketing the soil beneath pea vines.
To Enrich Soil & Improve Health: Clover & Beans
Nitrogen fixation is an essential process for nutrient-hungry crops like snow peas. Specialized soil bacteria “fix” inert nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia compounds that plants can absorb through their roots. But without the right plants hosting these bacteria, garden soil quickly turns deficient.
Clover and beans are nitrogen-fixing legumes just like pea plants. When interplanted, they turbo-charge this process. That means even more accessible nitrogen to fuel pea growth. It’s a symbiotic relationship for the record books!
Bushy clovers spread to form living mulch carpets, protecting shallow snow pea roots from temperature extremes. The leafy greens also enrich the soil as they decompose post-harvest.
Try bush bean varieties like ‘Dragon Tongue’ to commingle with pea vines on trellises. When allowed to mature fully, bean pods contribute additional nitrogen in the form of crop residue to feed your pea plants the following season. It’s a win-win!
Companion Planting is Key for Organic Success
Isn’t nature brilliant in how it’s designed different plants to work symbiotically? This bio-diversity holds the keys to robust garden ecosystems. Use the companion plants described above for organic pest control, enhanced pollination, and improved soil fertility in your snow pea patch. In return, you’ll reap nutritional and visual rewards via extra harvests of onions, herbs, beans, carrots, and edible flowers too.