peas please

daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)October 4, 2012

OK, gonna try putting in sugar snap peas now. First time. Central Texas area. I've seen people swear by planting in September, January, and even March. What do I need to know? I want them out and gone in late March when I put in the cherry 'maters. If I put them in now, when are they going to start producing? Better be long before then.

Soil is very good, and I'd like to believe that the peas will make it better.

What do I look out for? Diseases? Pests? There's always something ...

I've heard that they can take freezes down to 25F or so. Is that correct?

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I find november and January to be good times. I have not done it in early October. I protect them with frost cloths. If it gets too cold they are damaged. That is why I like the late january time. They are still small and easily protected and then they take off as the weather gets warmer. I had 7' vines last year, but it was a warm winter. I lost my November vines the year before.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:11AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Seems like if November is OK, October ought to be fine. They're too big in November when it gets cold? Yes, I guess I can see that. But as I said, I want them DONE in March. I'll take the risk, and keep my tarps handy.

As far as I can tell, powdery mildew is the kicker, but I've got super sugar snap, which is supposed to be resistant, so maybe I'll be OK.

My soil is not acidic, but well amended central Texas clay.

C'mon, if there weren't some major problem, EVERYONE would be doing this.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:25PM
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My planting calendar from the Kaufman County extension (DFW) says to plant Sep. 1-Oct. 1. ...I planted end of September two years ago and they did great! I would plant them in October if I try again because mine had teeny pods when they were winter killed (completely my fault, I had a newborn the week of the big ice storm, 1st week of January) They are very hardy, they survived all the frosts and cold spells uncovered and didn't really react until left uncovered for a full week of freezing/icy/nastiness.
I put a plastic trellis/fence down my square foot bed and planted a french-intensive swath on either side of the fence, maybe four inches wide, and planted in a little gutter/trench, two-three inches deep. I forget now where I read it, but it said to scoop the dirt out of the gutter, plant, and then when the seeds were up above the soil line to gently push that dirt back into the gutter around the plants. ...the only fall/winter pests I had a problem with were the starving stray cats in the neighborhood, I caught them eating pods on several occasions.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:05PM
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I got my pea crop in, and having good germination so far.

Last year I had great luck with these, and the plants took 20 degree nights without issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: DFW Gardener

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:40PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

20-degree nights? That's impressive. Sounds like a fair risk. I've seen reports that they can take 25F with no damage, and maybe some damage down to 20F.

But I'm south of y'all in DFW, so it ought to be better for me. I'm glad not to be hearing about pests.

Good idea about the gutter trench. Maybe this is to ensure that the seedlings are kept very moist?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:07PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

OK, thing have progressed. Have two rows of super sugar snap peas, and the first pods have come out. The vines are about 4-5 feet tall, and blasting skyward. Flowers aplenty. One nice thing I didn't realize is that peas really like wood ash. I guess the potassium. This happens to be the time of year when I have a lot of wood ash from my fireplace, which is great. So I've stirred a heap of ash into my compost pile, and have spread the mix around my peas. Probably just a coincidence, but it seems they doubled their growth rate once I spread that stuff on them.

We had a light (29F) freeze earlier this week, and the peas did great. We may be looking at a very hard freeze in a week or so, so I'll keep my fingers crosses, and my tarps available.

No sign of any problems, though just for insurance I dusted with carbaryl until they were a few inches high, just to keep the cutworms at bay.

A few things to note. Firstly, the vines phototrope like crazy, so I have to keep pushing them to the north side of the chicken wire mesh they're growing up. Related to that, they're really fond of sunlight. My rows are aligned EW, running west from a brick wall. The vines closest to the wall are the 4 foot ones. The ones farther out are 5 foot. I have to assume that's because the ones farther out get an hour or two more sun.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:42PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Vines are now reaching over six feet. Harvesting plenty of pods. This is great! I'm gonna do this every year. Now, I presume that I'll eventually get hit with a very hard freeze some winter, but I haven't seen one for several years, so my odds are pretty good, I figure. Again, if that were to happen, wouldn't be too much trouble to throw tarp over the trellises, and perhaps put a couple of light bulbs underneath them.

As I said, I've seen no evidence for pests or disease. We have loads of squirrels here, but they seem to be completely uninterested in the delicious pods. (We also now have a pair of barred owls nesting out back, so I expect to see the squirrel population get capped.)

What I especially like about the peas is that they are precisely opposite, season-wise, my cherry tomatoes. So my trellises are in use full time. Next season I'll remember to innoculate my pea seeds with rhizo, which should make the tomatoes that follow them especially happy.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:25PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Now is a great time to plant a spring crop.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:31PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Well, except if I planted peas now, I wouldn't get my tomatoes in until June. I'm looking forward to getting those toms in, as I usually do, in early March.

But yes, it's certainly not too late to start a spring crop of peas.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:23PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

OK, just to summarize, this has been GREAT. This was my first year growing winter sugar snap peas, and I'm hooked. The crop easily withstood several storms with temperatures in the mid-20s. Had two full months of abundant sugar snap peas. Getting a little sick of them now! No problems whatsoever.

The vines are now starting to brown out a bit, and there are many fewer flowers. So I think we're just about done. The few peas I'm getting now are a bit on the small size as well.

I'm delighted that the crop is looking to be pretty much done just about in time to put my cherry tomatoes in under the same trellises. So early December is heretofore my seed-in-ground date for these things. Could probably back that up a month to get some elbow room with regard to ground prep for my toms.

What other trellis-crops should I be thinking about for 8b winters?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:43PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Good to hear. How can you be sick of sugar snap peas? Did you forget to plant some chard, spinach, beets and lettuce to go with them in a salad or sauteed? Not a year goes by that I do not plant SSP in my winter garden. The wind ripped them mercilessly last week, but thy are still producing.

Snow peas are a good one also BUT they are not as cold hardy. This winter would have been good but I have had snow pea death. It is better to plant them in January. I did not have much luck with Fava beans. They make beautiful flowers and the bees love them but the flowers just rotted on me.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:47PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Ah well, sick as in gee, these are great, but it's about time to be showered on by something else. We had them in every salad, and put stacks on plates to dip with. A colder week brought fewer ripe pods, but a couple of warm days triggered loads of them.

I actually don't have a huge amount of room, and do a lot vertically, so root veggies are not a favorite. Though I have scads of radishes. Spinach, beets and lettuce don't climb my trellises!

That's interesting that snow peas are not as cold hardy. Need to remember that.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:10PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am eating sauteed chard, beet greens, onions mushrooms and snow peas right NOW ,....YUMMY.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:19PM
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I waited way too ong to start mine fom seeds...Feb! This year I'm planting them in October and I'll plany my broccoli romanesco then too. c

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:43PM
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Dan - Thanks for posting the planting and follow up information. This may be a dumb question because I've never grown sugar snap peas, but what kind did you grow? Or is there just one variety? I've never tried them but might next fall. I saw a good way to trellis/protect them at the Natural Gardener nursery. Maybe I'll try them next fall.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:16AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Lisa - they were Super Sugar Snap (Pisum sativum), according to the seed packet). I gather that this is a new improved variety that is a bit different than regular sugar snap, in that it is more mildew resistant. I had no trouble with midew, but it wasn't a very moist winter. Note that these are different than "snow peas", which don't produce pods and peas. The sugar snap peas do. Of course you don't wait until the pods have fully filled out to pick and eat. Once they do, the mouth feel is different, and they aren't quite as sweet.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:11AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I had mildew last year to my SS plants I had planted in January,but it was at the end of the deal when the weather got warm in April ( I think). They vines were 8' tall and they had been producing for a long time. I got my moneys worth and more. The mildew hit quick. I was amazed. Time to plant string beans. I don't think it is a thing to worry about in cool weather. I could be wrong. It thnk mildew likes warmth and humidity.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:24AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I believe that's correct about warmth, humidity, and mildew. Another interesting factoid is that mildews are plant-specific. So if you had mildew on something other than peas, that same mildew won't spread to peas (and vice versa). That also means that if you have mildew on plants, don't cold-compost those plants if you're ever going to grow that crop again! The spores will survive.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:58PM
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