English Peas

Shelling PeasMy first attempt to grow English or shelling peas in Glen Park, San Francisco went pretty well.  My soil was un-amended, rocky clay, with no fertilizer, but 2-3″ of recycled wood mulch on top.

Variety: Mr Big from Nichols Garden Nursery

Planted:  May 14, 2011

Harvest:  Harvesting the peas is tricky, but trial and error will quickly teach you when the perfect time is.  My schedule limits my garden activities during the work week, so I end up picking once a week on Saturdays.  This is probably too little since some of the peas would be overgrown when picked on this schedule.  Ideally, I’d pick every 3-4 days.  As seen below, waiting too long to pick the peas will cause them to get more starchy instead of sweet, and they also split their outer shell.

Peas that are large and sweet

Over-ripe peas

Peas that have been left on the vine too long get too big and starchy