How to tell when peas are ready to harvest?

drayvenApril 29, 2010

I am a new gardener and this is the first time I've ever grown peas.

I am having a hard time finding info on how to tell when they are ready to harvest.

Most guides say to pick when they are "fully expanded". This is probably a fine description for those that have grown them before but I have no idea if they are fully expanded or half expanded or 1/10 expanded.

Some guides say to break a few open to see if they are ready but again the problem is my inexperience. I wouldn't know the difference between a ready pea and an unready pea.

I'm growing Dark Seeded Early Perfection peas. Is there a more exact way of determining when to pick these?

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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I am growing Oregon trail sweet peas, so I am hoping there is not too much difference between different shelling pea varieties in this respect. Mine start being flat like a snow pea, then they get fatter and fatter. They are 'ready' when they have a completely round cross section, rather than just oblong or oval. However, I have noticed that if I pick them just slightly younger, with an oval but almost round cross section, they are specially exquisite. If you look inside, the peas should fill the pod and look a little crowded in there, almost touching or touching. Enjoy your peas. Tell us how you like your variety?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 11:57PM
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It's not really bad to pick and eat them a bit on the too young or too old side. You do have some wiggle room. If they get too old they get a bit tough and starchy. Too young and the peas aren't as big, so you don't get as much.

I suggest you pick some at different stages, taste them (yeah, raw, right in the garden), and see which ones you like best. The ones you like the best are the ready ones. :-)

Be careful, though, because this may make it very unlikely any peas will even make it to the house.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:58AM
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anney(Georgia 8)


Why don't you hold the pods up to the sunlight so you can see the peas inside? If you want them for fresh eating, you'll be able to tell if they're too small -- then you can let the stay to grow a little bit more. They'll be the size of regular peas that you see frozen or canned when they're ready.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 1:00PM
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I agree, the "right" size is the size you like best. I like them on the small size while they are still sweet and tender and I like them best raw, sometimes in salads but usually right out of the pod as a snack.

Just break one open and see if the peas are "big enough". You can usually feel the pod and feel the peas inside to determine size too.

After the first couple pickings, you'll have enough experience to just be able to tell.

And, as has been mentioned, if you let them get too big, they get starchy and are not as sweet.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 3:23PM
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