Little Marvel Pea Plants: Tips For Growing Little Marvel Peas


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

If you want an heirloom pea, try growing Little Marvel peas. Little Marvel pea plants are a shelling variety with big yields but small plants, perfect for small gardens.

What are Little Marvel Peas?

Small space gardeners rejoice. There is a semi-dwarf pea plant that produces copious peas on diminutive plants. If you thought there was no way you could grow your own shelling peas, Little Marvel pea plants will prove you wrong. Best of all, the peas stay sweet and tender even when fully ripe.

The variety of pea ‘Little Marvel’ is a compact plant that will produce a lot of tasty peas. Little Marvel garden pea was introduced in the early 1900s by Sutton and Sons of Reading, England. It is a cross of ‘Chelsea Gem’ and ‘Sutton’s A-1.’

This hardy plant grows 30 inches (76 cm.) tall and produces 3-inch (7.6 cm.) long pods. The pea Little Marvel does not need staking and grows in USDA zones 3 to 9. Start them as soon as the ground is workable and you will be enjoying peas in 60 days.

Growing Little Marvel Peas

Little Marvel Garden pea should be planted in well drained, sandy loam with a pH of 5.5 to 6.7. Start seed 6 to 8 weeks before your expected last date of frost. Plant seeds 1.5 inches (3.8 cm.) deep and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm.) apart in full sun. Expect germination in 7 to 10 days or quicker if you soak seed in water for 24 hours prior to planting.

Peas don’t love to be transplanted but can be started in a cold frame in cooler climates. Little Marvel is small enough and produces well in a container, too. You can also plant seeds in mid-summer for a fall crop, but don’t expect yields to be as high as plants started in spring.

Peas need average amounts of moisture but should not be allowed to dry out. They can get powdery mildew with overhead watering in warm weather, but drip irrigation can prevent this. If you prepared your soil with plenty of organic matter, the plants do not need fertilizing. In fact, peas actually improve soil by harvesting nitrogen and fixing it in the soil.

Harvest peas when the pods are plump. With many peas, you need to be on the harvest frequently to get the best pods before they are too old. Little Marvel holds better on the plant so harvest time isn’t as crucial. Expect bowls full of sugary sweet peas.

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Pea ‘Little Marvel’ Variety – How To Grow Little Marvel Garden Pea Plants - garden

There are lots of varieties of peas available to the backyard vegetable gardener. They vary in sweetness and size. Additionally, some pea varieties mature much earlier than others. Some seed companies today even sell several pea varieties in one seed packet. This can be a great way to try out several varieties without spending a ton of money or taking up too much space in your garden. We've tried several different varieties of peas and have our favorites. We encourage you to try several different kinds and found out which variety of pea is your favorite. Here is a list of some common varieties of peas, along with plant and pod descriptions, etc.

Please keep in mind that the number of "days until ready to be picked" is usually counted after the seeds have germinated. Pea seeds take around a week to germinate in warm soil and can take up to a month in cool soil.

Garden Peas - These are traditional varieties of peas, the pod is inedible, the peas must be removed from the pod before eating

  • Spring - this variety is ready in 60 days, moderately sweet flavor, very prolific producer with lots of pods per plant, pods average 6-7 plump green peas each, vines reach 2 feet tall
  • Survivor - this variety of pea is almost a leafless plant, very stringy vines cling closely together, plant reaches 2 feet tall, each pod averages 8 peas, ready in 70 days, moderately sweet
  • Thomas Laxton - this variety is ready in 60 days, pods average 8-9 large dark green peas that are very plump, pods average 4 inches long, vines reach to 3 feet tall, moderately sweet
  • Wando - this variety is very popluar, tolerates warm weather and cold weather nicely, ready in 70 days, dark green pods average 7-8 medium-sized peas each, good for freezing or drying, moderately sweet, plants reach 2 1/2 feet tall, good choice for fall pea crop
  • Garden Sweet - this variety of pea is extra sweet, ready in 75 days, pods average 3 1/2" long, each pod contains 9 -10 medium-sized peas, one of the best tasting garden pea varieties
  • Mr. Big - this prize-winning variety is ready in 60 days, large dark green pods, each pod averages 9-10 extra-large peas, plants reach 4 feet tall, moderately sweet

  • Maestro - this pea variety is ready in 60 days, prolific producer, dark green pods average 4 1/2" long, each pod averages 10-11 medium-sized peas, moderately sweet, good choice for fall crop
  • Lincoln - this variety of pea is ready in 70 days, good heat tolerance, each pod averages 7-8 large peas, sweet and tender, freezes well, plants average 2-3 feet tall
  • Little Marvel - this variety features plants that reach 2 feet tall, pods average 3' long, each pod contains 7-8 medium-sized peas, sweet and tender, ready in 65 days
  • Misty Shell - this variety is ready in 60 days, pods average 3" long, short plants reach 20" tall, disease resistant, sweet and plump peas, each pod contains 7-8 peas, high yields

    Snow Peas - Otherwise known as sugar peas, these varieties of peas feature flat pods that are sweet and edible, the peas are very tiny, can be eaten raw or cooked, traditional in stir-fry

    • Snowbird - this variety is ready in 60 days, short plants only reach 18" tall, pods average 3" long, prolific producer, pods set on plant in groups of 2-3, moderately sweet
    • Gray Sugar - this variety is ready in 65 days, traditional snow pea, tender pods average 3" long, plants reach 18" tall, moderately sweet
    • Sugar Daddy - this variety of peas features vines that reach 2 feet tall, ready in 75 days, good disease resistance, pods average 3" long, sweet and tender
    • Oregon Sugar Pods - this variety is ready in 70 days, prolific producer, plants reach 2 1/2 feet tall, pods average 4 1/2" long, disease resistant, very sweet and tender
    • Mammoth Melting Sugar - this heirloom variety features very tall vines that reach 4-5 feet tall, ready in 70 days, huge pods average 5 1/2" long, pods are thick, holds up very well to longer cooking methods, sweet flavor
    • Oregon Sugar Pod #2 - this variety is ready in 70 days, pods average 4" long, plants reach 2 1/2 feet tall, prolific producer, good disease resistance, usually 2 pods per group, very sweet and tender
    • Avalanche - this snow pea variety produces huge dark green pods reaching 6" long, sweet and tender, ready in 60 days, disease resistant, prolific producer, plants reach 3 feet tall

    Snap Peas - These varieties of peas have an edible pod and tend to be very sweet, can be eaten raw or cooked, pods are generally plump and rounded

    • Sugar Bon - this pea variety is ready in 55 days, very sweet pods average 3" long, plants reach 2 feet tall, disease resistant
    • Sugar Snap - this prize-winning variety features 3" long pods, very sweet, classic snap pea variety, vines reach 6 feet tall, prolific producer
    • Super Snappy - this variety of peas is available only from the Burpee Seed Company, very large pods are ready in 65 days, extra sweet and crisp, each pod averages 9 peas, vines reach 3 feet tall, some disease resistance
    • Super Sugar Snap VP - this pea variety is ready in 65 days, sweeter than the original sugar snap variety, prolific producer, very disease resistant, plants reach 5-6 feet tall, averages 3" long pods
    • Sugar Ann - this variety of peas is ready in 55 days, very sweet and crisp, plants reach 2 feet tall, disease resistant, pods average 7 peas each

    We hope you've enjoyed learning about different varieties of peas. They really taste great if you grow them yourself. Click on the following links to learn more about growing your own peas.


      • Compact, 18 to 20 inch plant requires staking and should utilize a trellis.

      - Fine, sweet flavor when picked young.

      - Pods are 3 inches with 5 or 6 peas.

      Day to Maturity | 60 days

      Pea Seeds | Peas are a cool season vegetable, and do best in a climate where there are two months of cool growing weather, either spring planting in the northern regions or fall planting in the warmer, southern regions. Plant seeds 4"-6" apart.

      Click here for complete Pea grow guide

    Additional Details

    Peas are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and lutein. Dry weight is about one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar.

    Pea, Little Marvel (100% Heirloom/Non-Hybrid/Non-GMO)

      • Compact, 18 to 20 inch plant requires staking and should utilize a trellis.

      - Fine, sweet flavor when picked young.

      - Pods are 3 inches with 5 or 6 peas.

      Day to Maturity | 60 days

      Pea Seeds | Peas are a cool season vegetable, and do best in a climate where there are two months of cool growing weather, either spring planting in the northern regions or fall planting in the warmer, southern regions. Plant seeds 4"-6" apart.

      Click here for complete Pea grow guide

    Additional Details

    Peas are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and lutein. Dry weight is about one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar.


  • Watch the video: How to plant up sweet peas from Mr Fothergills


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