I have a couple of questions for pea growers. I've only tried growing
them for a few years now. At first my problem was a lack of sun, and
then it was a lack of heat. This year they have six good hours of
sun/day and there is no escaping the heat. I still have some questions
Numero uno, it seems that I only have peas "setting" in the growing
zone, i.e. the head of the vine. I can't remember seeing any new sets in
the body of the vine. Is this typical?
Numero two-o, the largest of my peas have turned straw color from their
base up, for five or six feet. Four or five have one or two feet of
green on top but one only has three inches or so. I have three starter
plants (these are bush not pole) that also show some browning of leaves.
I'm thinking this is a result of that blow torch week-end we had a
couple of weeks ago but logic is only as good as it's premise, so I
thought I'd ask.
Numero three-o, are they really such wretched producers? Mine have made
corn look like a wise investment. I deprive myself of sleep because I'm
out battling snails in the middle of the night, and irritating the
neighbors with the loud crunch, crunch, crunch of the snails (hunting
slugs is tolerated though). And all this for a miserable hand full of
peas? Call me fickle, but if this doesn't improve, it's going to be
"good-bye peas, hello pole beans".
They got their bed turned. They got composted. They got manured a couple
of times. They get plenty of water. They have plenty of little worm
buddies. What do I have to do to turn these babies on?
You didn't mention what kind of peas you are growing, snow, sweet, etc. This
time of the year is really to hot to grow snow or sweet peas in my opinion.
They do much better in the fall or spring. As to the browning leaves, check
for sprider mites. They love peas and beans especially in the heat. OR you
may have some kind of fungical disease like blight.
Don't know where you are located or what the temps have been like, nor what
kind of peas you are growing.
I have grown English peas every year for the past 15 years or so, and they
are my very favorite crop. They DO NOT like hot weather AT ALL, but they
can take frosts and freezes just fine. The trick is to plant them so that
they can bear before the heat fries them up. It also helps to plant a
variety that is supposedly more heat-tolerant, like Wando, or one that
matures quicker to avoid the hot weather.
Here in the midwest I plant my peas (usually Wando) around March 17 (St.
Patty's Day). I just water them in and leave them alone. I am able to
begin harvesting around Memorial Day, which is right around when it starts
getting too hot for them (80-85F or more).
As for manure or fertilizer, they seem to benefit from a bit of manure but
not a lot. Too much nitrogen and the pea production drops and the bugs
come out in force (especially aphids). Peas fix their own nitrogen from
the air anyway, so it's not like they really need it.
Right about when the peas are frying up is when the soil is warm enough to
plant beans. After harvesting all the peas, I'll pull up the spent vines
and plant beans (pole or bush) in the same place. Beans can't take cold,
but love the heat. This way I get one crop of peas and one of beans.
I've never had problems with slugs on peas, although I plant them along the
perimeter of my garden so that they can climb up the fence. That keeps
them off the ground where slugs can't get at them. I have successfully
cured slug problems around my hostas using crushed up egg shells sprinkled
around the plants, so that might help in this situation also.
Dee, you are a font of information. I'm in northern California where the
summers have been cool since '99. The beans were great producers last
year. This year the beans and the peas have definitly been struggling.
I guess I'll back up and give it another try now that days are 80F/50F.
I'm not a gardener yet, but I keep workin' on it. Thank you for the
I'm also in northern California. I plant snow peas in the spring from
seed and always get a bumper crop. Over the years I've stopped
planting the vegetables that either don't produce heavily, or that no
one really likes to eat, or that have a lot of pest/health issues. The
snow peas are in the rotation!
thanks for the encouragement. I'm in a Region 5 here, west of Santa
Rosa. It seems like I've been sticking plants in the ground for a long
time but I guess the last few years the bug has really bitten me. This
year I tried to branch-out into germinating the seeds. I really don't
have much of a place to sprout seedlings and as you know, everybody got
a late start because of the rain. (April had the greatest number of days
with rain of any previous April, here in Sonoma County.)
I've had up and down luck with germinating seeds. My best results were
from putting the under my waterbed where it is about 75F, but even there
the results have been mixed. Germination is worse outside. Out of 54
cells, I only got 3 beans to sprout. Oy. Hopefully, after I run into
enough walls, I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong. But then, that's
everybody's first presumption, "it must be me". My plan is to have a
grow light set up next spring.
Mean while back at the ranch, I struggled with corn, then someone wrote,
they need lots of water! Bim-batta-boom, I have good corn. A little on
the small side but being on the north side of a hill in the forest, I'm
pleased. Now I'm having problems with my peas and I'm told that they
don't like the heat! (Yeah, I am/was growing snow peas. Let's hear it
for the idiot.) The real problem is that my gardening books and the web
sites that I've visited say, "Give lots of water to corn, and don't
plant peas when it is hot. Somehow I just read over those key little
pieces of information. I think I need to back up and reacquaint myself
with all my little friends with cellulose cell walls.
But enough ranting. What kind of production do you get from your peas,
when they aren't being fried by 100F in the shade (and they ain't got
no shade) temperatures. Do yours have a full day's sun? What kind of
soil are they growing in? How many do you plant to fill your needs?
I'm trying to grow for three. I'm not trying to unplug from the
"commercial -food distribution" grid but I like to have those little
complements to a good meal and that means fresh. So, I don't need a lot
of any one thing but dependable and adequate production from as small an
area as possible.
Mulching has really improved my garden by reducing the dimension of my
snail and slug problem. On the other hand, I haven't seen any benefit
from crop rotation. I've grown lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes in the
same place for years with no obvious problems. This has been done in
hard clay that is like concrete if you let it dry-out. The soil is
slowly improving but if I stop amending it, I'm sure in a couple of
years, you would never know that there had been a garden there.
Gad, this note is getting out of hand. OK, OK, I'm growing, tomatoes,
lettuce, peppers (of all kinds), corn, cucumbers, beans, peas (on
occasion), squash, sunflowers, rhubarb, beets, Swiss chard, Brussels
sprouts, parsnips, dwarf citrus, dwarf peaches, parsley, cilantro, sage,
oregano, echinacea, licorice, astragalus. prunnela, stinging nettle,
skullcap, yarrow, clivers, mint, and dandelion. The blackberries are
down the road and through the poison oak.
If you can give me any advice on these plants or related plants, please
post or email me.
I'm in Santa Clara county so it's not quite as extreme heat as you get.
Of course it's you! But you still want to grow the good stuff! (Sorry
- I used to work at a place where the standard greeting was "It's all
The easiest way I've found to germinate seeds is to use the 6 packs
that you buy plants in. Plant the seeds in SuperSoil in those, then
put them into old roasting pans. Then you put the pans out in only the
"best" spot that you have and bring them in at night if it's too cold.
Lots of seeds don't need to be germinated - they can go straight into
Secretly, everything needs lots of water.
I plant in two raised beds, each 4x8 feet. I'm pretty lazy so there's
usually only one bed going at a time. The beds get at least 8 hours of
sun a day - they're next to a fence and there's a big walnut tree in
the yard. I usually put in a bag or two of compost every year. I try
to rotate between beds, particularly where I put the tomatoes.
When I do snow peas, I'll plant half the bed. I sow seeds directly in
rows across the bed, usually in March/April. My big problem is keeping
my cats from gleefully digging them all up. By mid May they are
producing enough so that I can fill a collander every three days.
I grow tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, snow peas, spinach, lettuce,
pumpkins. I have a row of boysenberry bushes along the fence that had
a great year because of all that rain. I have a huge lemon tree. I
planted one artichoke root years ago and it comes back every year with
lots of chokes. I grow some herbs but right now it's just a big
rosemary plant. I usually grow garlic and chives but didn't bother
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to get a copy of the
Sunset garden book because it has advice on your specific microclimate.
USDA info is really too general. And we don't have some of the
forcing factors ("that white stuff") that others who post here have to
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