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Peas, please.

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Peas, please.

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 11/13/2010, 11:05 pm

I spent a few hours today clearing out my boxes to cover till Spring, and I had to take out my second try at growing peas. This time did slightly better, so clearly peas prefer cooler weather, but still I only got a few seed pods. What I planted was Ferry Morse's 'Alaska' peas. The handful I got was tasty, but if I plant peas next year, I'd like a better producing variety. Recommendations?

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Re: Peas, please.

Post  Megan on 11/14/2010, 12:24 am

My peas did not do well at all this spring, either, and I thought I had a fairly bomb-proof variety -- Lincoln. I'd be interested to hear what others have to say, too!
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Pea probs

Post  ander217 on 11/14/2010, 6:17 am

I've grown peas for years in my row garden and never had a problem. This year's first time to grow them in SFG was dismal. First, we had a bad growing year for most things, early on, and they just simply sat there in their box and didn't grow for the longest time. When they finally took off it was too hot for them to do well. Peas need cool temps.

But I think the big thing I forgot was that legumes such as peas and beans need nitrogen-fixing microbes in the soil to produce well. Once peas are grown in a spot, they produce their own so the next legume crop grown in that spot will be fine. I don't think the compost I used in my MM was very good and it probably didn't have any natural legume microbes already in it. Next year I plan to purchase seed inoculant for all of my peas and beans to see if that makes a difference in yield. (It comes as a powdery substance that you stir into the seed before planting. I believe it is considered organic but you can google for more info.) One study says it boosted yields by over 70 percent.

Alaska peas are a smooth-seeded variety which means they are very cold hardy for northern gardeners and can be planted earlier. I have planted them but I found them to be less sweet than wrinkle-seeded varieties, and they didn't produce as well for me. My favorite variety is the same as Megan's - Lincoln. It's a fairly short variety that works well in SFG boxes, has an excellent flavor, and I've always been able to count on it to produce a good crop until this year. (I used to plant two rows six inches apart and let them use the other row for support. They grew to around three feet with this method. This year I grew them next to a 4-ft. hog panel fence and they eventually grew to about four feet with the higher support.) I think Boffer and some of the others prefer the old Alderman or Telephone pole types that grow to six or seven feet and need tall supports. They produce very long pods filled with large peas. Lincoln is considered a medium variety which grows to around three or four feet, and there are also dwarf varieties which remain at three feet or less.

The only change I plan to make next year is using seed inoculant. I hope it makes a difference.

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Re: Peas, please.

Post  Chopper on 11/14/2010, 2:28 pm

I have Alaska growing right now and they are looking pretty good. Seem to have a lot of pods. So we shall see.

You best bet is to go to a seed catalog and read. If a variety is an unusually proficient producer it generally says so.

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Alaska peas

Post  ander217 on 11/15/2010, 7:20 am

My mother grew Alaska peas and nothing else. She preferred their "starchier" flavor and small size. My grandmother only grew Little Marvel. Even though the pods were smaller than some of the large varieties she preferred their flavor to all others. To me, Little Marvel has a hint of an aftertaste that I don't care for.

Personally, I found that Alaska did not continue to produce as long as other varieties. Perhaps good MM will make a difference with that, or maybe our temps heated up too quickly here. It seemed to be more sensitive to heat than other varieties.

I tried several varieties and decided I liked Lincoln best. The main reasons I didn't like Alaska, - not as sweet, smaller peas - were the reasons my mother preferred them.

Vive la difference!

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Re: Peas, please.

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