Peas can be planted as soon as you can get the garden worked up.
They can even take frost.
There are lots of varieties of peas. Once you you have picked the variety you want to use you are ready to get started. The norm for soil temperature for peas has been between 40 and 45 degrees. They really do well in areas that have full sun and rich, well drained soil.
Peas grow best is cool spring weather, If the soil is too wet or cold at planting time, the seeds get fungus and rot or barely grow if they sprout. With warmer soil, germination and growth are faster. But when it gets hot our, they stop producing well.
To make germination faster or if you soil does lack some nutrients, dust them with some innoculant. This is available at garden centers or on line. This gives them enough nitrogen to help them grow quickly. Soaking the seeds overnight also helps.
To retard fungus in cold soil, coat the seeds with a fungacide. If you have powdered fungicide, simply put it in a paper bag with the peas and shake.
Plant the seeds one-inch deep and two-inches apart. You should be able to use seeds for up to three years.
Peas also respond well to the addition of phosphorus (the middle number) so digging in bonemeal or rock phosphate will help with pea production.
Peas love to climb, so plant them next to some kind of structure. You can tie a string across the row or plant them in a hole surrounded by twigs or bamboo tied with string around the twigs or bamboo so they can climb.
Movable wire fencing works well and then can be used for tomatoes when the peas are done. Add compost or fertilizer to make the soil better. But do not cultivate heavily if the soil is damp, it ruins the texture. When the first pods appear, try side dressing with compost or fertilizer, or a liquid fertilizer.
Peas also like water, so be sure they have plenty to drink, especially when they start blooming. Add a layer of mulch to keep the soil cool and the weeds out. This will keep the peas coming for another two to three weeks.
Pick peas frequently. If you want for a meal, pick the same evening. Pea sugar changes to tasteless starch very quickly. To preserve the sweetness immediately freeze any extras in freezer bags or a the vacuum bags. Do not overcook peas, it takes away their fresh, sweet taste. Try to keep them soft but firm, not mushy.
Different varieties for a longer harvest. The time of sprouting varies from 55 to 70 days, so plant several kinds.
A good heirloom variety is Thomas Laxon, which is 60 days. Micro which produces mini peas takes about 67 days. Arise is very early and takes only 55 days. Wando is tolerant of cold sowing and warm weather. Some other good varieties to try are Knight which takes 56 days, Maestro 57 days, Sparkle 60 days, Green Arrow 62 days, Mr Big 72 days.
The biggest problem of peas is root rot, which causes the foliage to turn brown and idea. The best way to combat this problem is to be sure your soil is well-drained and by rotating your pea crop every year. Peas are also susceptible to powdery mildew in humid weather. Look for resistant varieties. They will be labeled as such on the package.
Don’t forget about growing peas in containers. Burpee’s has just introduced a pea specifically to be grown in pots. Peas n’-a-Pot plants grow to only 10 inches tall, unlike the average bush type peas that grow to two to three feet. They can be grown in a very small pot with no support and are to yield the same as the garden sized plants.
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