How Do I Know When to Start Picking My Peas?

oregon_ed(8 OR)May 11, 2009

Hi. I planted Oregon Pioneer shelling peas about a month ago, and am wondering how to tell when the pods are ripe enough to pick.

Do they come off easily when pulled, like tomatoes? Or is it by the color, or shape?


I'm in Grants Pass, by the way...if that helps as far as the season and climate.


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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Shelling peas should have fully developed seeds and look quite plump. If they start to get whiter in color and shrivel they are over the hill, but could still be eaten.

Snap peas have edible (non-fibrous) pods and can be eaten at any stage, and are great raw in salads.

Snow peas like the peas in stir fries are usually picked when the pods are large but before the seeds start to develope, though I like to let the seeds develope anyway like snap peas.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 5:40PM
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The pods do not come off easily, it requires both hands to pick a pod. If you just grab the pod and yank, you will end up with much of the vine, possibly with roots attached! Hold the top of the pod stem and pinch/tear the pod off with the other hand, or use scissors.

Only experience with opening the pods will teach you the optimum time. Impatience = small peas.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:37PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

You're bragging! MIne are stalled at a very small state...Pick them when they taste good. There's nothing better than munching on a fresh pea when you are working in the garden. Unless it's a just-picked, perfect, red strawberry. Or a sun-warmed raspberry. Oh, and then there's a beautifully ripened tomato....

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:46AM
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larry gene is certainly right about picking with two hands. I won't let lazy one-handed pickers near my vines as they'll do too much damage. Best to take a bowl or basket into the garden, to drop the pods into, so you always have both hands free.

It can be surprisingly tricky to get the pods at just the right time. Even small shelled peas taste good although you will get more food if you let them get bigger. Better too small than too big in my opinion though, as the bigger ones get starchy and don't taste very good.

You'll be really good at spotting the pods at the perfect stage at about the time the peas stop producing... ;-)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 1:34PM
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oregon_ed(8 OR)

Thanks, everyone!

Larry, thanks for letting me know to use two hands and not break the branch, I suspect I'd have broken more than a few!

None of my pods are ripe yet, they're still kinda flat, but they seem to be long enough.

And Dotty, you're right about fresh picked produce, I just picked my first plant of the season, a delicious ripe red strawberry!



    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:02PM
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