Garden Planning 101: All About Peas

Consistent with the garden resolutions for 2015, I started my research for spring planting. First on my list? Peas and sugar snap peas.

The mailman gave my research efforts a running start, delivering 10 seed catalogs, not including duplicates. Three extension master gardener friends topped off my list with three additional, making a total of 13. Seems like a propitious number for spring 2015.

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Some of the seed catalogs offer tons of information about when and how to plant and harvest vegetables, along with disease and potential pest information. Peas, I learned, thrive in cool weather. Seeds will germinate when the soil temperature is 45 Fahrenheit and the plants will survive a mild frost.

Peas do seem susceptible to a number of different diseases. These include fusarium wilt and root-rot disease but, according to the University of Illinois Extension, good drainage helps avoid these problems. Since I’m planting in raised beds, I don’t anticipate drainage problems.

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On the other hand, there’s the danger of the dreaded powdery mildew. The advice is to plant mildew-resistant hybrids. But here’s the rub. In one catalog, I found a table depicting the tastiness of the vegetable compared with disease resistance. It turns out that the tastiest vegetables are the least resistant to disease.

There’s a moral in that fact. I haven’t figured out just what it is yet…

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The seed catalogs recommended using an inoculant for pea seeds. I looked for Extension information and found this at the Iowa University Extension:

“Through a symbiotic relationship with a soil bacterium (Rhizobium), peas are able to “fix” atmospheric nitrogen in nodules on their roots…Peas will grow and produce a crop without inoculation. However, inoculation with a nitrogen-fixing bacterium may be beneficial if peas have not been grown in the garden in the past.”

Since I’ve never grown them before, I’ll be buying inoculant for my seeds!

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I wondered, since peas are a cool weather vegetable, if I could plant them twice, once in early spring and once again in the fall. But the Kansas State Extension warns:

“Kansas gardeners report little success in growing fall peas. Peas require cool temperatures for germination and do not seem to adapt to the warmer temperatures of the summer planting period. You may want to try peas–particularly snow peas–in a mid-to late August planting, but don’t expect complete success.”

Hmm… Guess I’ll just plant more lettuce in the late summer.

Planning a garden in the Midwest? The Kansas State Extension Office offers The Kansas Garden Guide with lots of advice on how to get started!

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10 thoughts on “Garden Planning 101: All About Peas

    • Yes, and a great way to spend a Sunday when we have a “freezing mix” coming down outside! I’ve never planted peas before, so it will be an adventure! Thanks for stopping!

  1. Oh cool!! I can grow two crops. I can’t believe there is some kind of benefit to this godforsaken place I live but there you go…I get both spring and fall peas!!

  2. You are well on your way to being an EXCELLENT gardener with all your research. Of course plants don’t read the books, so sometimes they surprise you by making up their own rules.

  3. I love snow peas, my favorite is Oregon sugar pod II. It’s so sweet and crisp and easy. This year I tried a fall planting, around labor day, and got a moderate amount of tasty pods before this year’s early frost. I love the magazines, as well!

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