Pea Picking Lessons Learned

On March 18, 2014, two packets of English (Garden/Green) Peas were scattered in a wide row in God’s Garden #2.  It was my first time to plant them and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Three weeks later, on April 8, the peas had sprouted and were growing quite well in spite of cool weather.

Ten weeks later, on May 27, I harvested the first English Peas.

As mentioned earlier, the seeds were scattered in a wide row (and pressed into the soil), not planted one by one by one in a long row.  My idea was that the peas would support themselves as they grew taller, their thin tendrils reaching out to plants around for support.  This worked well until the plants became top heavy with full pods.

And, I do mean top heavy…full of pods.

With a strong gust of wind, the entire row of plants fell sideways as the weight shifted. Not a problem, really, as all I had to do was pick and pick and pick.  As I said before, the peas were at the top of the plants.  Of course, there were a few plants at the bottom that hid their peas from me but it was an easy task to reach up under and among the plants and feel for the full pods.

I reaped an amazing harvest at the first picking.  Every seed sown sprouted, it seemed.  And, every sprout produced (so far) 15 to 20 pods.  And, most of the pods contained 7 to 8 peas.

So, do the math…. From one pea came (so far, at first picking) a maximum bounty of 160 peas.  I planted 70 peas.

I’ve shelled one large pot of peas and have another in my refrigerator.  And, the plants contain immature pods and are blooming still. At least one more harvest (maybe two) will come before hot weather calls a halt to the English Pea fun.

Here are some lessons learned pea picking – English Pea picking, that is.

  • Next planting, provide a support for the peas to cling to.
  • Watch for bees.  Nuff said about that.
  • Take a larger container with you than you think possible to fill.
  • Pods are ready to be picked at any time/size.
  • Tender pods can be eaten whole.
  • Tiny peas are full of sugary goodness when eaten raw.
  • The larger the pea within the pod, the fatter the pod grows and the easier it is to shell.
  • I prefer to shell the peas as I would Butter Beans – by breaking the pod from the outside edge with my thumbnail and pulling the pod apart.
  • Fresh peas smell…wonderful and sweet.
  • My fingers felt a bit sticky when I finished shelling.
  • Dachshunds love fresh, raw English Peas.
  • I prefer English Peas raw to cooked. Yum!
  • Shelling peas is relaxing.
  • Snipping the pods from the plants is better than pulling them – they are firmly attached and quite tough.
  • When an immature pod is opened and the peas removed, where each pea was attached to the pod, white milky sweet stuff oozes.
  • To keep the plants blooming, mature and maturing pods must be picked regularly.
  • Pea pods can be recycled…right back into the garden – no need to trash them.
  • Not everyone understands the joy or healthy benefits from growing peas.
  • Green is a color that produces calmness and good emotions in me.
  • Sharing pea shelling and making it a family event brings people together and offers time to chat.
  • Shelling peas requires two hands…sometimes three, depending on where you’re sitting. 😉
  • Shelled peas, when dropped on the floor, roll – and can roll quite a distance from where they landed.
  • Organically grown in the backyard, English Peas are some of the healthiest snacks around.
  • Next season I will PLANT MORE PEAS!!
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