The pea is a species sown in the open field. In its early stages of development it resists temperatures around zero, while in the growth phase the optimum temperature ranges from 10 to 20 degrees.
It adapts to medium-textured and well-drained soils. It does not tolerate watery stagnations, which favor rottenness, nor scarcity of water, which favors early flowering and a poor product. Its cultivation can begin in the first days of March. Sowing is carried out in rows (the seeds and the rows are spaced from each other by about 15 cm). To obtain harvests until August, it is advisable to proceed with several sowings spaced over time by about a couple of weeks (the last seeds will therefore be planted in late June). For the lunar calendar, sowing must be carried out two days after the first quarter of the moon.
Pea plants, and also jackdaws, their close relatives, are varied, attractive and rewarding to grow. Some varieties are eaten as pods, others are grown for seeds. These, like all legumes, are characterized by being rich in proteins.
In general they are characterized by a root system that lives in symbiosis with some bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen, present in the air, in the soil. As a result they will have a lower need for nitrogen fertilizer.
We can say that the pea is a resistant annual plant and available in a large range of varieties, rather simple to grow.
In traditional varieties the pods are harvested immature and the seeds are consumed. Round seed peas are rich in starch, while wrinkled peas are sweeter on the palate.
The most cultivated are however smooth and round ones more than anything else because they are more resistant to rotting and withstand a great variety of different soils, even cold and damp.
In the last century, other varieties have also developed, such as snow peas and mangiatutti, characterized by a rather tender and therefore pleasant palate pod. The latter are interesting varieties from the food point of view because they are capable of providing a significant amount of fiber. They must be harvested early because the seed inside must not have a chance to develop.
Other important innovations have been the plants with tendrils instead of the leaves. They are less attacked by birds, but unfortunately they are an easier victim of weeds such as bindweed. It is therefore advisable to grow them using mulch sheets.
On the market you can find early cultivars, which are ready in about 12 weeks, and late cultivars, which need about 15 weeks from sowing.
After placing the seed at a depth of about 3 cm, this will be covered with a little lightly pressed earth. A slight watering will complete the first part of the work. When the plants have reached a few centimeters it will be necessary to arrange the support structures consisting of plastic nets supported by wooden or iron posts; in this case the distance between rows varies between 50 cm if you will plant the dwarf pea, 80 cm for the semi-dwarf peas and about one meter for climbing peas.
The pea does not require particular fertilizations as it is able to directly fix the atmospheric nitrogen in its structure. In the first period of growth it may be useful to distribute chemical fertilizer anyway.
The seed can be harvested after about four weeks from sowing if you want to consume the fresh product. Otherwise, if you prefer to dry the pea, you can collect the pods when the content has fully matured.
There pea plant it is sensitive to the typical parasites of legumes, including weevil, tortrice and aphids; another danger is represented by powdery mildew which is eradicated with wettable sulfur in particular it can be prevented by avoiding to wet the leaves in a hot humid climate.