Growing Peas: The Complete Guide
The fresh consistency and sweet taste of fresh peas make spring immediately. There is still a little missing, in fact, but in the meantime, we are moving forward! What do we know about this plant? For example, we know that the Romans believed that fresh peas were poisonous and that only at the time of King Louis XIV of France did a French gardener develop a hybrid pea plant and from that moment the popularity of this plant was a real escalation.
Peas are one of the first vegetables that we can plant and harvest in the spring. First, the plant will need a trellis to grow, while dwarf varieties will not need this type of support. We, if you do not have particular space problems, we recommend the traditional plant, much more productive from the point of view of the harvest.
To grow well, pea plants need a sunny place and protected from strong winds. Subsequent crops will appreciate a little more shade, but to start … it takes the sun! These are very resistant plants, so there is no reason to start growing indoors or in a greenhouse. Pea plants can also survive frosts but do not tolerate temperatures above about 23 degrees: if they are subjected to this temperature, production slows down drastically.
There are those who sow peas already in late autumn. In this case, the seeds will remain inactive during the winter and will sprout as soon as possible for the spring harvest. If you live in a place where the spring season is relatively long and cool, you can plant peas from 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, but to have a long harvest season, it is good to sow late species at the same time or carry out subsequent sowing with intervals from 10 days to 2 weeks until mid-May.
When planting peas in an area where legumes have never been grown before, it can be useful to treat the seeds with products that promote the formation of agglomerates at the root that contain beneficial bacteria that convert the nitrogen present in the air in nutrients for the plant.
When planting the seeds, pay attention to the spaces: create appropriately separate rows but not too much: the close distance will allow the peas to intertwine and support each other. And remember: the simpler the support, the easier it will be to remove it at the end of the season and then reuse it.
To make the most of the garden space, plant peas with radishes, spinach, and lettuce. Cucumbers and potatoes are also good companion plants, while garlic and onion will have to be far from the pea plant.
Guidelines for good growth
Providing the right amount of water to peas could be a little tricky at first; they should never be so impregnated with water so as not to rot seeds and the plant that is growing and not to reduce flowering, but it is also wrong to let the soil dry out too much when the peas germinate or bloom or when the pods swell. Plants need little water every week until they start to bloom; from that moment, increase the water supply until the pods fill up.
Peas growing in good soil don’t need additional fertilizers, but if your soil isn’t very fertile, you may need a good specific product.
The plants are rather delicate, therefore gently and manually remove any weeds near the plants to avoid damaging the pea roots. To reduce weeds and conserve moisture, spread organic mulch when the weather and the soil warm up. This also helps keep the roots fresh; remember that soil that gets too hot can cause peas not to produce fruit!
When a plant stops producing, cut it at ground level, leaving the nitrogen-rich root agglomerates in the soil to aid the growth of a subsequent crop. Add everything you have removed to your compost pile, unless the plants show obvious signs of disease or pest problems, and you’re done!
Diseases and problems
The aphids are the most common problem: often attack the pea plants. In the event of an attack, the leaves appear frayed and the plant will look not exactly healthy, withered and with leaves that turn yellowish or brown. In this case, you will have to intervene with a specific product.
The crop rotation is one of the best ways to prevent disease. And to avoid persistent problems, don’t grow peas in the same spot more than once every 5 years.
Even the mushrooms that are formed from the root rot they appear brown lesions on the stems and roots of pea plants below. The fresh, moist and poorly drained soil promotes the development of these organisms. To avoid root rot, start the seeds indoors, in peat pots, and wait for the soil to be free of frost before putting the plants.
The warm climate can also favor dusty mold, which covers the plant with a white and fluffy coating, which steals nutrients from the leaves. Baking soda sprays can help prevent mold, but if the plants are now compromised, you just have to eradicate the plant.
The pods will finally be ready to be harvested about 3 weeks after the flowering of a plant, but always and frequently check the condition of the plant to avoid arriving too late for the harvest.
Peas should be harvested every day, also to encourage the plant and stimulate it to continue producing. If you leave the plants to themselves, they will ripen too much and the peas lose much of their flavor. Furthermore, their taste and texture are far better when cooked and eaten immediately after the harvest!
The pea pods should be almost flat and barely show their developing seeds. Cut the pods from the plants with scissors; pulling them violently with your hands could cause great damage to the plant.
Preserve the excess crop, preferably by freezing it to preserve the fresh flavor that only the vegetable garden gives. To freeze peas, just peel and blanch them for 1 minute and a half, let them cool, drain and freeze directly. They will last for about a year!