The pea is a leguminous plant with annual cultivation cycle very easy to cultivate in the garden, because it grows easily, hardly suffers diseases and resists even at low temperatures.
In addition, the pea plant is essential in crop rotation because, like all leguminous plants, it enriches the soil with nitrogen.
Its botanical name is Pisum sativum and has been cultivated by man for more than 9000 years.
Appreciated on the tables of young and old for its sweet and delicate taste, the pea has a high content of proteins, essential amino acids, complex carbohydrates and minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium.
It is also indicated in low-calorie diets and diabetics for its diuretic and hypoglycemic action, being naturally low in sodium and fat.
The peas can be divided into different varieties, depending on different factors.
- We can distinguish them according to their cultivation cycle: late or early.
- Or the color or type of skin: smooth or wrinkled.
- But generally they are subdivided according to the bearing and the height they assume during the growth: and then we will have the dwarf, half copper or climbing varieties.
- There is also the edible pea, which has a less fibrous pod and is therefore completely edible.
When to Sow the Peas
The pea resists the cold, grows even at 7-8 degrees and begins to produce already 2 months after sowing.
This is why the sowing period of the pea runs from autumn to spring, and varies depending on the geographical location.
Usually in the North, where winter is very cold, it expects temperatures to rise and therefore it starts sowing from mid-February and also in spring depending on the varieties.
In the South, on the other hand, in areas with milder temperatures, October and November are already suitable months to start sowing.
Sowing peas in spring has two advantages. The first is that the crops run less risk of being attacked by mice. The other is that the milder climate reduces the possibility of disease.
According to peasant tradition, the crescent moon has a positive influence on the growth of plants and helps them to bloom and bear fruit.
That’s why if you want to follow the lunar calendar you have to sow the peas with the crescent moon, and more precisely, a couple of days after the first quarter.
How to Sow Peas
Pea seeds do not need a seedbed and should be sown directly in the garden, because they germinate easily.
The pea is undemanding in terms of soil and fertilization. It takes advantage of the residual nutrients from previous crops and, in addition, feeds it naturally, releasing nitrogen into the soil.
It is therefore sufficient to prepare the soil well before sowing.
- It starts with a good spading, up to 30 cm deep. This will make the soil well-drained, as the pea does not like humidity.
- Chop up the first 10 cm of surface and chop up the coarser clods.
- If you think it’s necessary and your soil is particularly poor or clayey, incorporate a little compost or mature manure into the soil, about 2 kg per square meter. But don’t fertilize the soil too much. The pea does not need excessive doses of fertilizer, on the contrary it spoils it too much nitrogen, but it is useful phosphorus and potassium. It could also be good to add a little wood ash to the soil.
- Level the seedbed with the rake and trace the furrows.
- Dig parallel furrows, 80 cm far from each other and 3-4 cm deep. The distance between the rows changes according to the variety of pea you want to sow, for dwarf peas it may be smaller, for climbers it increases.
- Throw 2-3 seeds into the furrow every 30 cm.
- If you have sown climbing varieties, install a net along the rows as a support, for dwarf varieties, twigs are sufficient.
- Cover the peas with the soil obtained from the excavation and wet it moderately.
- Always keep the soil moist until the harvest, wet with moderation, never during the hot hours of the day and avoid water stagnations.
- Beware of birds, who are particularly fond of shoots. You can set up a scarecrow or spread an anti-bird net on the ground, to be removed when the plant has grown 4 cm.
- It is advisable to rotate the pea crops every two years, so as to avoid soil-borne diseases.
You should know that the ornamental pea, so loved by Southern brides, is not a real pea, and is indeed highly toxic if ingested in large quantities.
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