Peas under clear plastic- OK?

plantslayer(8)March 23, 2011


I planted out snow and snap peas and put them under clear plastic because they needed protection from the birds, it was raining very heavily and constantly for a long period, and it was colder than normal this spring. The peas are now out of the ground, and they look really good (they are only 1/2 inch high right now, but have true leaves, etc.)

So what I am wondering is, should I leave the plastic on for a while, or take it off so they don't get too warm and enjoy more sunlight? It's in the low 50s outside right now in the day time, and around 40 at night. It probably is not more than 70 (if that) under the plastic. We have the plastic propped up with sticks so there is room to grow; I am mainly worried about the warm temperatures causing problems for the peas. Will they be OK now? At what point are birds going to leave them alone for certain?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Do the birds just attack your seedlings, or have they eaten the vine tips and/or pods? If you've had problems with birds attacking the plants when mature, there will probably not be a safe time to remove the cover.

However, peas like cool temperatures, and one good sunny day could bake them, or at least cause blossom drop. I'd recommend replacing the clear (and unbreathable) plastic with floating row cover. Use the lightest fabric weight possible. This will keep out the birds, but should cause only a minimal temperature increase under direct sunlight. I've done this on my chard & peas to keep birds from damaging them, with great success. As an added bonus, the cover keeps out most bugs too.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 3:15AM
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Birds don't attack mature vines, but they will eat the peas in the ground, and I assume they would pull up small seedlings. The peas are now just out of the soil and have not completely unfurled their true leaves. I'd like to use a row cover too, but I am kind cheap, so if the birds and heavy rain are no longer a problem I'll probably just remove all covers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:16PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have found this nylon French Tulle, to protect my seedling from squirels, rats, rabits and birds. Those creatures won't want to bother with the tulle. I also use finer mesh of the same to protect my eggplants from those nasty flies/tics that perforate eggplant leaves. The stuff is inexpensive, light weight, wind/rain proof. You find it at any fabric store. I buy them from Hobby Lobby.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 6:14PM
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