Petit Pois

28 June 2016 AD

After Pam Baker mentioned how she liked Petit Pois peas in a comment at this blog, I tracked down some seeds and planted one of my raised garden beds with them. Specifically, I planted two rows down the center of the 30" wide bed (x 15' long). The two rows were 4" apart and the seeds were planted 1" apart in the rows. That planting scheme worked very well. It has been noted in my Whizbang Garden Journal, and I'll repeat it in future years when growing "bed peas," (as opposed to trellised peas).

I planted the seeds on March 24. We harvested the peas yesterday. 

It's worth noting that we have had a long stretch of hot and dry weather here, and I did no watering of the plants. Nevertheless, they grew vigorously, produced an abundance of pods, and the pods all matured at pretty much the same time. Had I planted the bed more intensely, I suspect the plants would have had a difficult time getting adequate moisture from the subsoil.

My wife, Marlene, pulled all the vines and brought them to the patio behind our house, where we have shade from the sun. We then picked off all the pods, before commencing to shell them.

We hand-shelled together for nearly an hour and a half.  The pleasure of hand-shelling peas started to wane after about half an hour. I was glad when that job was done.

Marlene will freeze the peas and we will enjoy them through the winter.

I'm wondering if anyone reading this has used a pea-sheller  device of some sort to shell English peas, like these. If so, what kind, and how well did it work?


Scott Cooper said...

Thanks for the update, Herrick. I think I'll try growing some of those next year. Just curious, why did you space the rows at 4" instead of say, 8 or 10 to make more use of space in the bed?

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Scott,

I planted some beds with other pea varieties using a row spacing of 12" and 18." With that spacing I had a center strip of soil that I needed to keep cultivated (with a hoe) and that get's a little more difficult as the plants grow. But with the two rows spaced only 4" apart in the center, I ended up with only two side strips to cultivate, and that was quicker and easier to get done. I reckon that even though the rows were spaced close, the pea roots had plenty of room to grow out into the area on the sides. They were remarkably healthy-looking plants with all the soil space they were afforded.

vdeal said...


Great looking peas. I may try those sometime. Do you think they would work for fall peas? I just picked quite a few of my Champion of England peas though a few got ahead of me and got hard. Still have to shell them. I like that they all mature at once. It seems that everything starts coming on at once. Peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, collards, it's starting to pick up.

Unknown said...

The Haitian Garden Bugs usually get all our peas before they even make it to the house. They are hard on Tomatoes and Carrots and raspberries as well. (Our kids were adopted from Haiti) Oh well. If they are going to sneak food it might as well be the good stuff.


vdeal said...

"Haitian Garden Bugs" - good one! My granddaughter has been privately harvesting my peas for a while but she can't keep up with them but I don't mind one bit how many she eats.

ukageng said...

Been following your blogs for many years. I run a super small company that sells a couple of types of pea shellers, They should work well on those peas. If they can shell easily by hand, most of the shellers will work well. The two I sell basically force the peas from the pod, so sometimes they will squish a few. If a person is really picky about squashed peas here and there and maybe some "pulp/residue" in the peas, a mechanical sheller may not be the best route. Price is also a pretty good indicator of how well they work. Higher priced pea sheller generally is indicative of how well the unit performs overall and how much capacity it has. Just a few thoughts from a pea sheller peddler.....

Pam Baker said...

So Cool!! I couldn't get a garden in this year with the move an all. It was completely beyond my abilities. I so look forward to planting next year and am delighted to hear about your update. I miss gardening so!!

Now, how did they taste?
I abhor fat, starchy peas. Much like I abhor lima beans.

Oh, and all my "spare time" now that I don't have a garden this year? Just trying to figure out how to organize our "stuff" in a big house that has no shelves, drawers or basic structures needed to organize. I have become addicted to Pinterest organization pages. And it is good that I don't have a garden as it is important to view your property in all the seasons to see the best location and orientation of your garden. We have discovered our property is bisected by a wildlife lane...a bunch of deer and bear pass thru almost nightly. The deer bed down under some pines that I plan to cut down in the next few months. (They are the first trees to grow when a pasture is left unattended...I can't think what that is called at the moment.) The bear thought our compost tumbler was a fun toy. The hawks think our poultry are for their own purposes....
But I have to tell you...I have never smelled such a pleasant area in all the years living in Vermont (9 now) or all the years hiking in woods (over 40 years). It's not just the smell of duff or flowering bushes/'s a green smell but sweet too. Even the pasture smells better. It is so pleasant, almost puts me in a trance. Maybe I have enchanted woods!! ;0]
I was worried I wouldn't have wild thyme here on the new place so I took some from the last place and replanted them. They are thriving. But about 10 feet away from where I planted them, I discovered quite a few 2 foot round patches of wild thyme. Guess I don't need to worry about that.
And fiddle heads!!! All over the place. Now the trick is to harvest them at the right time. Next year, watch out!! And blackberry brambles...holy moly. If I can stay on top of it and the birds let me, I should have buckets of them. So while I won't be canning my garden produce this summer and fall...I will still be busy.
Oh, by the way, I canned some fiddleheads...our first taste of the canned was not great, as compared to fresh. I think I should steam them first, then can them, although it may make them mushy, the water when you cook them is decidedly not good eats. It's kind of a tannic brown.
Didn't mean to ramble on so....have missed your writing.
Any upcoming visits from Futureman???
Kind regards,

Pam Baker said...

P.S. I was wondering...since legumes fix nitrogen, and that is in nodes on the would have to cut the plants off at the soil level to gain the nitrogen benefit, correct? Because I know picking all those pea pods would be laborious to say the least, never mind shelling them, but losing out on the nitrogen could be a downer. In the past, I have cut my legume plants at the soil level. Just wondering what your thoughts were, that is, if you have the time to respond.

Herrick Kimball said...

I've not had much success with fall peas in years past, but I hope to give them a try again this year.

Ron C.—
That's nice. I used to have garden bugs like that here. But they moved on and I only have the memories now.

I believe you have purchased something from me in the past and I checked out your web site at that time. Pea shellers, cabbage cutters, nut crackers, pecan pickers, cherry pitters, and more.... you've got a great little business there! And everyone reading this should check it out. If I buy a pea sheller, I'll make it a point to buy one from you. Thanks for the comment.

Thanks for the update. The Petit pois peas are very good. We may have let them get a tad bigger than we should have. But the flavor is just fine. I'm glad to know you are enjoying your new place, after the disappointment of leaving the previous property. When I think of Vermont smells, I think of balsam fir first. That can be kind of intoxicating. We have fiddlehead ferns here too. Lots of them in our woods. But only once in all the years we've lived here have we eaten them. Other years we've not gotten to them in time. They open up fast. My ground is pretty dry here and when the pea plants were pulled, most of the roots stayed in the soil, and they will remain there. I don't intend to inflict much disturbance on the beds before planing them with a fall crop. Futureman is pretty much out of our lives at this point. Saw him for a few short days a couple months ago, but not sure when we will see him again. We're very sad about it. :-(

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Pam Baker said...

Dear Mr. Kimball,
Thanks so much for responding.
It is so very tricky to get the fiddleheads at the right time.
I am so very, very sad to hear about the current situation with Futureman. But I have hope for the future. And even if you miss a few years with him, I am quite sure you made an indelible impression that will impact him the remainder of his years. You are "with him" in ways you probably cannot fathom and he will turn to you as soon as he is able. Keep the faith.
Thank you, humbly, for all that you share with us.