Today I harvested my first handful of shelled peas. Because of murderous cutworms and possibly rampaging rabbits (see this, this and this for the full story), my pea crop this spring is on the pathetic side. But, having heard seasoned gardeners sing the praises of fresh peas, I’m very grateful for what I have.

So this is what I was able to pick today:

My first handful of shelling peas.

My first handful of shelling peas.

Okay. So that looks pretty good, right? Well, after I took away this:

I was left with this:

Pretty sad, to say the least, don’t you think? So did I share these peas with my kids? Not a chance. I did the work, after all, and if this garden kills me before the season’s end (and it may), at least I’ll go to my grave having tasted actual fresh shelled peas.

So what’s the verdict? All those gardeners were right. Sweet and delicious. Frozen peas are a distant cousin, and canned peas — well, not even close.

The end result of my new pea experience is the motivation to go for a fall harvest. I’m planning to plant in early August in my back corner plot, where the lettuce and spinach are now:

My greens garden, last week.

My greens garden, last week.

This will give me an area of 10 by 12 feet, enough for several rows. We should have better luck this fall. By August, the cutworms will be gone. And my fence is in place and ready to ward off all attacks. By late September, more peas!

And all you pests out there: you may try me, but you’ll never take me down!