Gardening

How to plant peas

Pisum sativum

The pea or pea is an annual plant that has been grown for at least the past seven thousand years. Its seeds and, depending on the variety grown, its pods, are consumed in various ways, usually being cooked or braised, but they can also be eaten raw. In the latter case, wrinkled peas are the sweetest and most flavorful and it is best that they are consumed shortly after harvest, since their flavor declines rapidly over time, making them less attractive for fresh consumption. On the other hand, flat pea cultivars are generally more resistant and easier to grow.

There are currently hundreds of cultivated pea varieties, which can have smooth or rough seeds, cylindrical or flat pods that can be palatable or not, and plants that can vary greatly in height, ranging from only 25 cm in height to plants that can reach more than two meters. The young leaves and branches of the pea can also be eaten raw or cooked.

Climate

The pea grows best when the temperature remains in the range of 13 ° C to 18 ° C. Well-developed plants can withstand temperatures around zero degrees Celsius, but flowering is hampered by frosts. The pea does not grow well at high temperatures (temperatures close to or above 30 ° C).

Brightness

It needs high brightness, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight daily.

Ground

Ideally, the soil should be well drained, fertile, rich in organic matter, with a pH between 6 and 6.8.

There is a symbiosis between peas (and other legumes) and some bacteria of the genus Rhizobium, which fix atmospheric nitrogen. In this way the plant is supplied with the nitrogen it needs and can still make the soil richer in nitrogen after the end of its life cycle. To ensure that there is this symbiosis, the seeds can be inoculated before sowing with specific inoculants for the pea.

Irrigation

Irrigate frequently so that the soil is kept slightly moist. Both excess and lack of water are harmful to peas. Rainfall at harvest time is harmful.

Planting

Sowing is usually done directly at the final location, at a depth that can vary from 2 to 5 cm, depending on the type of soil (shallower in heavier soils and deeper in lighter soils). Germination is generally rapid, occurring in 4 to 8 days.

The spacing varies widely with the size of the plant and with the conditions of cultivation. Some people prefer to plant with a small spacing, which leads to greater productivity per area. Others prefer to use a larger spacing, resulting in more productive plants, but with less productivity per area, easier cultivation and harvesting, and less expenditure of seeds per area. For dwarf varieties, which show a determined growth and reach 25 cm to 1 m in height, the spacing can vary from 30 to 80 cm between the planting lines and from 3 to 30 cm between the plants. For tall, undetermined varieties, the spacing can vary from 80 cm to 1 m or more between the planting lines and from 5 to 60 cm between the plants.

Cultivation

Tall plants need supports to grow vertically. These supports can be fences with wire mesh or plastic, thin poles, trusses, other tall plants (for example, corn), etc. It is important that the supports are relatively thin, as the pea tree climbs with its tendrils, which are usually branched and relatively short, and attach to the support or other plants.

Plants of smaller size or dwarf, of determined growth, generally do not need supports, although thin branches and branches can also be placed to help keep the plants upright.

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Harvest

The time required to obtain the harvest varies depending on the cultivar used and the purpose of production, which can be the harvesting of the pods or the harvesting of the seeds. Harvesting starts between 65 to 85 days for early cultivars and between 85 to 140 days for late production cultivars.

For cultivars with edible pods, the pods must be harvested when they are still immature, with seeds not fully developed.

To harvest green grains, the seeds must be well developed, but still hydrated. The dried beans can be harvested when the pods have dried almost completely.

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