Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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.




Recommended Varieties

The following varieties (listed in order of maturity) have wrinkled seeds and are resistant to fusarium wilt unless otherwise indicated.

Early

Daybreak (54 days to harvest; 20 to 24 inches tall, good for freezing)

Spring (57 days; 22 inches tall; dark green freezer peas)

Main Season

Sparkle (60 days to harvest; 18 inches tall; good for freezing)

Little Marvel (63 days; 18 inches tall; holds on the vine well)

Green Arrow (68 days; 28 inches tall; pods in pairs; resistant to fusarium and powdery mildew)

Wando (70 days; 24-30 inches; withstands some heat; best variety for late spring planting)

Sugar

Snowbird (58 days; 18 inches tall; double or triple pods in clusters)

Dwarf Gray Sugar (65 days; 24 to 30 inches)

Snowflake (72 days; 22 inches to harvest; high yield)

To be continued

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