Peas come in three forms in our garden: snow, snap, and garden. The garden pea is the 'normal' shelled pea, while snow peas are the flat peas left in the shell that are seen in Chinese cooking. Snap peas are halfway in between - they develop larger peas, but are intended to be eaten young and including the entire pod.
Snap peas barely make it out of the garden before being eaten. Actually, they usually don't. If they do, they're thrown into salads. Garden peas are usually boiled, but occasionally show up in other dishes like salads or casseroles.
Planting Time: Late MAR-Early APR (in central Maryland)
Harvest Time: Late JUN-JUL (in central Maryland)
Spacing: 3" in row, 18" between rows
A big set of differences in beans (for gardeners, at least) is whether you grow bush or pole beans. Bush beans grow only 2 feet high or so, set fruit, and stop producing. Pole beans (aka Runner beans) try to climb up something (like... a pole) and set fruit, but over a longer period.
The advantages of bush beans are that they don't need supports and you can plant multiple plantings in a season (if you pick them while fresh). Pole beans' advantage is that you can get more beans out of one planting. I am unsure is snow or snap peas come in bush form - I grow pole peas of those kinds. Field peas come in both types.
I plant double-rows of beans, about 10" between rows in a double-row, 20" between double-rows.
You can use innoculants or fungicides on peas. Innoculants say they help increase yield, fungicides are designed to keep pea seeds from rotting in the ground before sprouting. Instead of using fungicides, I'd rather wait for the weather to cooperate. As for innoculants, I don't know if they work.
You don't need to fertilize beans - they actually add nitrogen TO the soil.
Field peas can be frozen after a quick blanch. They may also be canned, but the flavor is altered, and I am not a fan.
Matt's Garden Notes:
Matt's 2013 Map
2012: Grew lots of snap peas, loved them.
2013: More snap peas, done by late JUN. Plan on a second crop. Also grew 14' of field peas. First attempt failed miserably due to cold weather. Second attempt a few weeks later was a done with pole beans, but with no poles (my mistake). This was also terrible - basically, the peas grew into one big mess of vines, and the harvest was only a few cups. Flavor was lacking because many were old by the time I found them in the entangled vines. I've vowed to be more careful here.3
Recipes using Peas: