Fall Peas?

iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)June 17, 2009

I'd like to give fall peas a go.

Can anyone refer me to a good source of information about planting a fall crop of peas?

I'm primarily interested in snap peas and snow peas.

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anney(Georgia 8)


I plan a fall crop of peas, too, but they'll be Aldermans, shelling peas. I'm going to plant them right at the base of my pole beans as they're finishing up and let them grow up those plants until they reach the trellis. I'll turn them both under when the peas are harvested.

My concern is twofold: best soil temps for germinating the seeds, and planting them when they'll have enough time to mature and produce a harvest. They'll take some frost and be fine. I think it's the hard freezes that kill them. So a lot of one's plans can only be estimates, since future weather and soil information are also estimates based on historical data!

I figure I'll count back the number of days given as DTM (75 days for Aldermans) from the anticipated first fall frost date and plant them then if the soil is in the range that allows germination, later if that's too warm. In my notes, I have a soil temp of 65-75 degrees as being the optimal germination temperature for peas, but the range is 40-80 degrees! So there's a lot of leeway on the cool side, certainly less on the warm side.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:00AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)


I'm generally a big advocate of direct seeding anything that can be direct seeded, but I wonder if they'd be happier pre-sprouted inside the air-conditioned house?

I would expect the soil temperature to be over 80 well into September for at least part of the day. Even after the first frost there will be plenty of days when it will not be uncomfortable to walk across the yard barefoot.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 4:21PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


I've wondered the same thing, but dang, it seems like a lot of trouble if you're growing more than a few.

One thing to keep in mind. It's recommended that you plant peas in the fall a bit deeper than you would in the spring for two reasons. First, the soil is cooler at greater depths, and second, it's also moister than the soil near the surface because fall rain is usually less frequent than spring rain. Both conditions are needed by peas to germinate.

I suspect it takes experience growing fall peas to know when the best planting time and conditions are!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:46PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

As I contemplate a heat index of 105 for tomorrow, I ponder the possibility of scattering a bag of ice on the soil for the things that like their roots cool. LOL

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:03PM
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Pre-sprouting peas is not hard, for a big quantity you just need a bigger container to soak them in (allow space for swelling as they soak up water). Soak overnight, then drain off the water; give them a daily rinse and drain after that. Plant as soon as you see any sign of roots emerging, delay increases the risk of rotting.

Alderman peas for fall should be planted mid-July to Aug.1 here in the Northwest; down South you might be able to go a little later. It's a surprisingly heat-tolerant variety, just keep them well-watered and they should do fine - mulching might also help, by keeping the roots cooler and damp.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:29AM
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I don't wont to break your bubble but I have never had luck with fall peas. The ground is too warm to germinate and what germinated was stunted in growth due to the heat and when it does cool it is after frost. Peas are tolerant to frost in the young stage but not the blooming stage frost will kill the blooms and damage any pods. I google the SC Ga and NC extension web sites and non of then list fall peas as a viable garden crop. But part of growing your own and gardening is to experiment so try some and see what your results are. Rodger

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 7:56AM
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Concur with Roger. I plant peas in the fall, but late November early December for April harvest. Smooth seeded cultivar usually Willet Wonder, but sometimes Alaska when I can't find Willet Wonder. Have not had any luck with summer (July August September) planting.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 8:32AM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)


Really? Nov-Dec planting for April Harvest? Do you keep them covered over winter? Would you recommend that for the Atlanta area also? I know you're farther South than us. I tried Fall peas last year, but by the time I got pods, the cold snap came before the peas plumped out. So I'm facinated by this early winter planting method. Tell me more! :)


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 2:23PM
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Susan. English type peas will handle everything but frozen ground Before the bloom. Blooms and pods are suceptible to freezing.
I prefer the more hardy smooth seeded peas for overwintering. Willet Wonders are very popular here, but Alaska is also available. I just plant around Thanksgiving and let them do thier thing. I plant again around February first. both smooth and wrinkled seeded cultivars ( Dakota, Strike, Progress #9) I only get at most a two week jump on the harvest, but it is worth it to me.
And remember November and December are FALL months not early winter. February is my midwinter planting month.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 3:58PM
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There was just a thread about Wando peas being somewhat heat tolerant and preferred for late summer/fall crop.

I, too, have not had luck with fall peas, but I plan to try Wando this year as an experiment.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 5:00PM
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I too plant my spring peas in Nov/Dec. I have a small smooth seed variety that supposedly dates to the 1700s in this area. I usual plant thanksgiven day and peas are up with in a week and will grow to about 2-3 inches and then they seen to stop waiting for spring then by first of march plants are over a foot and blooming by mid march and harvesting in April and done with by May. I have seen temps in the low teens snow ice storms it doesn't hurt them at all. Rodger

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 5:33PM
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I have much better luck with spring peas than fall peas too, but I've been planting them around January-ish. Maybe I should try planting them even earlier.

Like others have said, I've found the seeds and seedlings to be very cold tolerant (once had some pea seedlings buried in sleet and they were fine), and then the mature plants flower and set pods when it warms up. Planting in fall reverses that so the seedlings have to deal with heat, while the mature plants might not make it through a hard freeze.

But, as with most gardening things, what doesn't work for me might not work for you, so if you're willing to experiment go for it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 9:35AM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Hmm. I'll consider this a trial year than and make only a small planting to see what happens.

And I'll try a December planting to get a start on next year too.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 11:33AM
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cmdrzog(6/7 LI NY)

Snow pea Ho Lan Dow (available from Stokes Seeds) usually gives a decent crop planted around Aug 10th. The limiting factor seems to be the shorter day length and extended gray fall weather. This variety is not stringless and is small but it does produce for me. October peas are worth trying for.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:16PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Glancing through this thread, I see that my climate is cooler than everyone above me... and that's quite a few of you. Wisconsin doesn't (usually) have that much in the way of Summer heat, seldom over the 90's. I've planted peas in mid-Summer for Fall harvest, and most years they succeed. The actual maturity, when planted late, tends to exceed the listed DTM... so plan accordingly. There are also more problems with PM, which is seldom a problem here for Spring-planted peas.

One pea, however, has actually done better planted late. I like the snap pea "Sugar Lace" (a bush variety), but it has poor germination when planted early. Given their sugar content, I figure they are the pea equivalent of super-sweet corn, and need warmer soil than the starchier peas.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Zeedman, when do you plant your fall peas?

I thought about trying some fall peas myself.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:35PM
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I planted fall peas for the 1st time last year. I direct-seeded around Aug 3rd, and wasn't sure if they'd grow considering it gets pretty hot and humid here in Aug/Sep, but they seemed to do even better than the ones I planted this spring! Here they are on Sep. 6th, about a month after planting:
From Garden 2008

They already had blooms, whereas the ones I planted this Spring in the beginning of March were still only a few inches tall a month after planting. Here are the same type of peas I planted this spring, on Apr. 10th:
From Garden 2009

Maybe I planted them too early in the spring (I thought they liked it cool?) or maybe it was beginners luck, I don't know. I hope not, since I'm planning on planting a new fall crop this weekend.

Here is a link that might be useful: blog posts about my peas

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 11:59AM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I wait until it cools down. Sometimes late October, sometimes late November, depending on the St Ana winds. So I plant (small quantities) every couple of weeks, from Oct or Nov until late January (can you tell I love peas?). I stretch the boundary and this year I planted some in February, that was too late, unless I go for a short DTM variety. We usually have cool long springs, so I have peas until about mid May, some years even June, starting in Jan or Feb, depending on the winds, and the pea variety. Last year I planted bush and pole varieties of edible pod peas, both the snow peas and the sugar snaps.

Since I increased my garden space, I might be able to actually grow some shelling peas this year. I can grow either bush or pole. Is there any variety any of you nice folks could recommend for my climate? tasty and sweet?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 8:06PM
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