when-to-harvest-peas

When To Harvest Peas

Peas are one of the earliest vegetables ready for harvest in the garden. They are planted in the spring often before anything else. When is the best time to pick your peas? The type of pea grown makes the biggest difference in harvest date. Once peas begin producing they won't stop, so get them while the picking is good.

Snow Peas

Snow peas are flat immature peas with sweet edible pods. They are a common ingredient in Asian cooking and are often found raw in salads or cooked into stir-fries. Snow peas can look different and grow differently depending on the variety. A few common varieties include:

  • Oregon Sugar Pod – 28 inches tall, 4 1/2 inch long pods, 68 days to harvest
  • Snowbird – 18 inches tall, 3-inch long pods, 58 days to harvest
  • Mammoth Melting Sugar – 4 feet tall, 6 inch long pods, 68 days to harvest

While the seed packets to offer a ‘days to harvest’ count, don’t live and die by these guidelines when it comes to snow peas. These types of peas are more tender when they are young, and you can pick them as soon as they appear.

Garden Peas

Harvesting garden peas is a bit more of a science compared to snow peas. These are shelling peas that will be taken out of the pod and frozen or dried for long-term storage.

  • Garden Sweet – 32 inches tall, 3 inch pods, 65 days to harvest
  • Lincoln – 30 inches tall, 5 inch pods, 62 days to harvest
  • Purple Pod – 48 inches tall, 3 inch pods, 60 days to harvest

Pick these pea varieties when the pods have swollen and plumped. When opened, the peas should be fat, consistent in size, and they should fill out the pod well. If they look small or uneven, they may need more time.

The ‘days to harvest’ suggestion is a good rule of thumb with shelling peas. If picked too early, your peas inside the pod may be immature and of various sizes. If left too late on the vine they may start to brown and dry out.

Snap Peas

With a sweet edible pod like a snow pea, but also plump seeds that can be stored like a shelling pea, these have the best of both worlds. Deciding when to pick snap peas depends on your intentions for them.

  • Super Sugar Snap – 72 inches tall, 5 inch pods, 64 days to harvest
  • Little Snap Pea Crunch – 32 inches tall, 3 inch pods, 60 Days to Harvest
  • Super Snappy – 32 inches tall, 6 inch pods, 65 days to maturity

Harvest early and young if you intend to eat them whole pod and all. If your intent is to shell them, wait until they become fully rounded and peas inside are all uniform.