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Growing peas




Pea is a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States, wherever a cool season of sufficient duration exists. For gardening purposes, peas may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas).
Garden pea varieties have smooth or wrinkled seeds. The smooth-seeded varieties tend to have more starch than the wrinkled-seeded varieties. The wrinkled-seeded varieties are generally sweeter and usually preferred for home use. The smooth-seeded types are used more often to produce ripe seeds that are used like dry beans and to make split-pea soup.
Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside.
Snow peas are meant to be harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop at all.
The Southern pea (cowpea) is an entirely different warm-season vegetable that is planted and grown in the same manner as beans.
Peas thrive in cool, moist weather and produce best in cool, moderate climates. Early plantings normally produce larger yields than later plantings. Peas may be planted whenever the soil temperature is at least 45°F, and the soil is dry enough to till without its sticking to garden tools.
Peas grow best in moist rich soil throughout the cooler parts of the growing season. Water by soaking soil, avoid spraying foliage. A delicious source of many vitamins and minerals. When possible plant rows in a north-south direction for best sun exposure and good air circulation.
Plantings of heat-tolerant varieties can be made in midsummer to late summer, to mature during cool fall days. Allow more days to the first killing frost than the listed number of days to maturity because cool fall days do not speed development of the crop as do the long, bright days of late spring.
Sow directly into the garden as soon as the soil is workable from early to mid-spring. Sow seeds 2 inches apart and cover with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of fine soil firmed down. For successive crops, plant at 2 to 3 week intervals until mid-spring. Sow again in late July to early August for fall crop.
The germinating seeds and small seedlings are easily injured by direct contact with fertilizer or improper cultivation. Cultivate and hoe shallowly during the early stages of growth. Peas can be mulched to cool the soil, reduce moisture loss and keep down soil rots.





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