How To Grow Peas
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Peas are a cool weather crop. Midsummer pickings are not as heavy or as good as cool or mild weather harvests. For best yields ensure abundant phosphorus and potash and a pH above 6.0. Adjust pH using ground limestone or wood ashes in the row during planting. PLANT: Make the first sowing in early
spring as soon as the soil can be prepared. Choose a well-drained area. Sow 1-1 1/2" apart in a 3" band (25 seeds/ft.), 1/2-1" deep. Make rows 12-18" apart for dwarf types, 4-6' apart if using a trellis. For best yields and easier picking, provide support at planting time with a wire fence or trellis (see Index) supported by posts. Do not thin. Harvest when the peas enlarge in the pods. FALL CROP: Choose powdery mildew tolerant varieties. Sow about 2 months before frost. INOCULANT: Treatment with a bacterial inoculant helps increase yields (see "Inoculants" in Index). TREATED SEEDS: Early varieties are offered UNTREATED and TREATED (T). Untreated seeds are more susceptible to rotting in prolonged cold wet weather. DISEASES: Many disorders can affect peas. The most common disease is probably pea root rot (Fusarium sp. or Aphanomyces euteiches) which causes browning and drying of the foliage from the ground up. Some fields and established gardens have this problem with peas each year and are said to have "pea sick" soils. The best control is to ensure well-drained soil and to rotate crops. Powdery mildew causes the white, powdery mold on the leaves, stems and pods in hot weather. Choose resistant varieties.
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