Tuesday, November 29

It was a pea year

Despite some failures I would class 2016 as a good year for peas. 
We had one complete failure, Delikett - a sugar snap variety didn't produce at all and the other sugar snap - Oregon Sugar Snap - and mangetout - Delikata - varieties sowed at the same time and in the same bed didn't fare much better.

The seeds germinated but due to weather conditions, the seedlings grew very slowly and were ravaged by pea and bean weevils.
Our pea and broad bean plants usually attract the attentions of these weevils which feed on the leaves of the plants. The nibbled leaves have U-shaped notches around the edges. Most years the plants outgrow the damage but last spring the slow growing seedlings just couldn't cope. We did manage to hartvest a few mangetout.
We also had poor results from peas sown in another bed on the 9 June. This bed though showed evidence of the soil being disturbed so maybe mice or some other hungry creatures dug up the seeds.

Despite these setbacks in other ways it was a good year for peas and we had a decent harvest and were able to stock up the freezer.
As you can see from the table we rely heavily on Onward, so much so that we bought a large bag of seed.
We sow all our peas directly in the soil. We have tried sowing in pots and transplanting but it never seems successful which is strange as it works for sweet peas.

As you can see above we sow into trenches cut in weed control fabric. You can also see that we pay absolutely no regard to seed spacing and sow very generously to allow for poor germination. Now you understand the need for the large amount of seed. The hazel twigs are an attempt to prevent animals such as cats and foxes from walking all over the newly sown seed beds.
The first lot of Onward were sown on 5 May, a few days before the devastated sugar snaps and mangetout but these were unfazed by weevils. There was evidence of nibbling but the plants grew away strongly.

They were grown in a double row and  supported by hazel twigs.
The next sowing on 9 June was the row that germinated poorly. I did furtle about in the large gaps in germination and didn't find any seeds. I resowed the bare patches but the second sowings fared no better which is why I suspected mice.

Due to this failure, on 13 June we sowed another long row in a fairly rough area of the plot, alongside a row of late sown annual flowers.
To be honest after the previous sowing I didn't expect much from this row but they did really well. What's more we didn't find as many pea moth grubs as normal which is appreciated when it comes to podding.

As we still had some pea seeds left we decided that there was nothing to lose on using up the seeds on a really late sowing on 17 July. We planted a row in the bed that had previously housed our early Casablanca potatoes. These germinated well but by the time the pods had filled the plants had begun to suffer from mildew and the pods began to blacken.
I was going to write the row off but decided to check the pods first and found perfectly good peas inside.

There is always room for improvement so next year:
  1. I think I will cover the newly sown peas with enviromesh in an attempt to thwart the weevils, that is unless they are ready and waiting in the bed. 
  2. I'm not sure whether this is enough to keep mice away or whether I need to use some wire netting for the later sowings.
  3. I also found that a single row was easier to harvest than a double row as I could get along each side easier. The two rows planted side by side tended to mesh together.
  4. We maybe need to plant a second sowing of mangetouts or sugar snaps.
  5. Finally we will try to remember to use up the remaining pea seeds a little earlier that we did this year, maybe the end of June, to try and give the latest sowing a better chance to do well.
Of course it isn't as simple as that is it? Next year could be completely different.


14 comments:

  1. I've found it difficult to harvest with double rows as well. Sometimes "time-and space-saving" ideas aren't. Ah well, live and learn.
    What a great harvest you had. I'm very impressed. I never grow many peas because I'm too lazy to shell them. I always regret that about myself. Homegrown peas are marvelous.

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    1. I prefer shelling peas to podding broad beans, Sue

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  2. Despite a few failures you've had a fantastic harvest. Fancy that late sowing producing peas!xxx

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    1. We were surprised too, Dina but maybe it was one advantage of a relatively poor summer

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  3. Well, your pea harvest puts mine to shame! Our snow peas and shelling peas did quite well this year but the sugar snaps were dismal - I'm not exactly sure why - maybe it was the bed they were in. I'll have to think on it.

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    1. Our sugar snaps and mangetout were poor too, Margaret - it was only the shelling peas that did well.

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  4. We didn't have a good year for peas, but I didn't do enough sowings. The first lot are usually started off in cardboard tubes in the greenhouse. After that I sow them in the ground and put prickly holly branches on the top of the soil. This is to keep the mice and any other animals off

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    1. We have never had a lot of success transplanting peas grown in the greenhouse, Margaret so we have given up on that.

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  5. I reckon that growing peas is a very tricky thing! They seem to suffer from too many pests and diseases. Mine were good (by my low standards) this year, but I'm not sure I will grow them again next year. The trouble is, they are hard to resist when it comes to favour!

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    1. The main problem we have, Mark is when the weather is not conducive to pea growth. They don't like it to be too dry on to hot. Neither were a problem last year but the early peas didn't grow quickly enough as the weather was rather cold when we put the first lot in. If they had grown faster the weevils wouldn't have cost us much damage. I also think that maybe some of the varieties that we have chosen have been too problematic and not as strong growing as the tried and tested Onward.

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  6. That's good harvest beside all the issues! Hope you can get good result next year!
    It's true that sometimes each year will have different sent of problems!

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    1. Each year tends to throw up some problem or other doesn't it, Malar?

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  7. Really interesting to read and see what you do to get a good pea harvest. In previous years I've had success sowing direct but I did two sowings last year and nothing came up so I ended up sowing in modules and they got going in the end. The problem is I never know whether its mice or they've rotted or what! But maybe I need to sow much thicker than I have been doing. Will try that next year I think

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    1. I don't think our no show ones rotted, Annie as there was evidence of some soil disturbance.

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