There’s a red beet where my head used to be

Commenter S just informed me that the reason I’m having trouble shelling my peas is because they are snap peas and snap peas are not meant to be shelled. Oh. Oh?


I can not believe that I spent hours upon hours upon hours shelling snap peas.

Do you know how sick this makes me feel? Do you know how utterly embarrassing this is?

I am totally and extravagantly mortified. I actually thought of deleting my pea-shelling rant because it makes me look like (nay, it shows that I am) a complete fool, but then I thought, no, I’ll leave it up there so that everyone else can feel good about themselves because I’m sure no one out there has every done anything that totally stupid. I mean, who would ever try to shell their snap peas?

I can not believe I did that.

I’m still presenting a pretty stoic front about the whole thing, still pretending that I’m normal; wouldn’t want to frighten any little children or faithful bloggy readers, you know. I want to laugh, but I’m afraid that if I crack my carefully arranged facial expressions I might just dissolve into a puddle of blubbering snot. Then again, I might laugh so hard I pee myself. It’s a toss up at this point.

Though I appear calm and placid on the outside, my emotions are going haywire (as if you couldn’t have already guessed that). I picture my emotions as little men (funny they’re not women) romping around inside my brain. They make lots of noises, too. Right now the predominant sounds are chokes, gasps, high-pitched giggles, jeers, chortlings, and moans, and under all that commotion is the steady slap, slap, slap, the sound made by many little hands striking against many little foreheads, repeatedly and in unison.

Crap. Not only did I inadvertently broadcast what a fool I am to the whole entire world, but now that I’ve spilled the beans (or maybe the peas) about the little men housed in my head, I’ve proved that I’m also certifiably crazy. Hi! Ima Cray Zeful. What’s your name? I have no shame.

Due to heightened feelings of vulnerability, I’m laying down some ground rules for comments to this post: You may only post a comment (and I do screen them after all) if you deign to share a gardening blunder of your own. If you haven’t made any gardening mistakes, then just make one up, okay? (Oh, and I’m also open to advice on what to do with all my hull peas that are now snap peas.)

Let the healing begin.

A Subdued, Contrite, and Humbled Home Gardener
(otherwise known as Ms. Beet Head)


  • Jennifer Jo

    Aw, shucks. You all make me feel so much better … kind of. Part of me feels worse now, just thinking of all those dreadful, horrible mistakes we've all made. The collective loses are overwhelming!

    No, I did not pull up the peas right away. I picked some today (and then pulled them up—they were getting too old), but I have another, smaller row coming and I plan to do them up proper.

    And for the record, I highly recommend Amish Snap Peas. I'm not an expert on varieties or taste (I'm new to this, obviously), but they are big producers.

  • Anonymous

    This is the rest of the story that goes with S's tale.

    25 years ago there was great concern at the Miller farm. It all started when Jim, (my husband and S's brother in law) quickly scanned in a little magazine sideline that Japanese "Yew" clippings are toxic to cattle. He told my dad right away as he knew they were in the process of trimming their sheep which are kept in the same pasture as their few cattle. As he was telling this to my family they automatically thought "ewe" (as did he in his quick glance). The concern that this caused was great and lasted a few days until Sunday morning in church it suddenly dawned on Daddy what Japanese "Yew" clippings were. No need to worry about if the sheep are Japanese "Ewes". And they didn't even have "Yew" bushes to trim. We laughed heartily at that for a long time.

    Aunt V

  • Anonymous

    Hey I'd be thrilled to have a basket of those Snap peas. I can never get mine to produce much of anything. maybe I'll have to try AMISH snap peas next….

    My story is growing hazy in my mind except for how hard we laughed at the time it happened.
    When I was a teenager we took up raising sheep and as all good shepherds do, we needed to trim their hooves (unless one has a steep rocky mountain pasture) and shear the wool. The order of events escapes me a bit but somewhere along the line we heard that Japanese Yew clippings are extremely toxic. Seeing that we were trimming our ewes there was a mounting concern over what to do with the clippings. Are our sheep Japanese? They are Suffolks but did they originate in Japan? What if they accidently consume some of their own clippings?! Certainly we should NOT put them on our garden…


  • Happypappy

    A general orchard spray contains insecticides and fungicide. In an attempt to avoid unnecessary chemicals (the fungicide), I sprayed the apple trees following full bloom with only Sevin, an insecticide. Apparently that year was a bad year for apples, despite a heavy bloom and fruit set. Then, mid-summer, I happened to read the directions for Sevin: Use immediately after full bloom favors "excessive fruit thinning." Not an apple that year.

  • Anonymous

    But I think this is an easy mistake to make; so easy, in fact, that I keep telling myself I shouldn't grow them in the same garden, even well separated. But I, too, felt sick when I read how much time you put into the shelling. Ouch. Sorry.

    Once I hoed down my entire bed of beets, mistaking them for pigroot. Oops. And we have a mutual friend who spent a couple hours shelling peas, left them out overnight, and they turned to grey fuzz. She still looks sick when she mentions it.

  • dr perfection

    oh sorry, I forgot to tell you a gardening fiasco.

    Long ago my ex-husband and I planted 5 acres of vineyards by hand and ripped them out after 3 years. you can't get much worse than that.

  • Kris

    Snap peas are tasty sliced into salads, and they look cool sliced on the diagonal. Plus they're good in stir fry. And also eaten plain, shell and all. My kids prefer to do what you did, and shell them to get out the peas. So really, you aren't so much a fool as child-like, looking for the sweetest morsels and tastiest bits, right?

    My biggest blunder of recent garden history was with last year's seed potatoes. I read that the seed will get a faster start in the ground if you let them green up a bit in the sun, so I laid out all my organic yukon gold seed potatoes (some $50 worth) in open boxes on my patio. Brought them in faithfully at night so as not to get wet, then waited for the sun to help those little eyes sprout. Finally, after days of not much happening except blackened sprouts, I planted them, over 100 hills of potato hope.

    Several weeks later, when it became painfully apparent that only six hills intended to show any green plant action, I realized that I had unintentionally scorched those tender seeds. After all, I am habitually late in planting, it was late May and the sun was bright and nearly 90 degrees during those days I had laid out the potatoes. I had ruined our potato crop and then had planted it.

    I promptly ordered more potatoes, a different variety (it was already June and selection was slim), planted them in the same hills without the sun treatment, and they grew beautifully. Harvest was reasonable, (though they cost twice as much due to my mistake), but not as good as it might have been if we had harvested earlier. We left them in the ground for a while because of a busy schedule, so the bugs had a feast before we got to them. And then we stored them in a gutted fridge in the shed, and I forgot to insulate them during the below-zero weather we had in February, and what was left froze, then rotted.

    I didn't plant potatoes this year.

  • Zoë

    oh my word! This is hilarious.

    While I stink at story-telling, especially false ones, I can tell you that snap peas are wonderful frozen. Just take the strings off, blanch for a minute or two, and chill and freeze like you do any other peas or beans. This is actually my favorite way to consume sugar peas of any sort. Mmm, they are wonderful in stir-fries. The already hulled and frozen peas? I don't know, just eat them like normal peas and try not to turn into a beet-face every time you serve them.

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