English Pea Mix - Dwarf Shelling Peas


English Pea Mix - Dwarf Shelling Peas


We have blended the best of the garden peas that once removed out of their plump green shells are just about the best spring treat fresh from the garden.  If you only know these bright green orbs from the frozen or canned goods aisle of your supermarket you should plant a row this year.  As a kid I would spend a lot of time in the garden zipping the pods 4 inch pods open and popping the immature tender peas into my mouth instead of picking the pods to bring into the house to be shelled.  These are productive dwarf and midsize varieties that grow into bushy plants with vines generally less than 24” and the do not need to be trellised like the taller ones.  However, growing on pea brush, chicken wire or a short trellis does help to make harvest a bit easier since pods will not be as hidden as the leaf tendrils hold on to support the plants.  Since dwarf peas are determinate, they tend to produce at on time and having several varieties with different maturity allows a longer harvest window.  
50-75 days. 

200 seeds (20 ft row).

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Dwarf Peas (Snow Peas, Shelling Peas, Snap Peas)
Packet plants a 20 ft row (200 seeds)

Dwarf peas will yield several pickings 60 days after an early spring planting.  

With snow peas, harvest the young pods while they are still flat, tender and the seeds inside have not caused the pods to swell.  Snow peas can become fibrous as they mature.  

Shelling peas are harvested when the pods swell. The peas inside will be most tender when the swollen pod is still bright green and smooth.  The swollen fibrous pods should be opened and discarded and the peas can be removed for preparation.  

Snap Peas are harvested when the green pod becomes swollen, crisp and juicy.  Snap Peas are edible,  pod and all.  Some have a string along the upper seam which can be pulled away from the pod with the calyx or stem end.  

Harvest and preparation of fresh peas are intensive but an early summer treat.  Here on Long Island peas are planted in mid March.

Sow seeds in a furrow an inch deep at a rate of 10 seeds per foot.  Dwarf peas do not need support and will generally intertwine to support themselves as a hedge like mass of vines usually under 24 inches.  They will climb a well supported netting or fence using their tendrils and that will make pod harvest easier.

Steam until tender and bright green, add butter and serve or use as you would any garden pea.  Snow pea pods are often used in Asian sir-fry cooking.  Snap Peas are served raw or lightly steamed.

Peas usually do not cross, they are self pollinating or inbreeders.  Wait until vines begin to brown and cut the vines at the ground and allow them to dry with the pods in a protected airy place then thrash the vines into a tub or onto a tarp to allow the dry brown pods to shatter open and release the seed.