How to farm and harvest a bountiful green peas harvest
Peas grow in pods which contain several seeds which can be either green or yellow but locally, green is the most common.
They are also known locally as “minji” and are usually cooked to make a delicious stew.
They are part of the legumes family that produce pods with seeds inside like beans.
Green peas have a myriad of health benefits such as protection against chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and cancer, control blood sugar levels and aid in digestion.
They are value added by freezing or canning, drying into food and animal feeds or ground into flour highlights infonet-biovision.org
Varieties of peas grown in Kenya include snow peas, sugar snaps and garden peas. Sugar snap peas have edible pods and are popular in the European markets.
Garden peas are the most commonly consumed in Kenya.
Online publication infonet-biovision.org notes that peas do best in cool and moist growing conditions.
They are grown by directly sowing them on well prepared moist soils with a PH of 6 to 7.5 that is rich in organic matter.
Seeds should be planted at a depth of 2.5 cm, with double rows of 10 x 50 to 60 cm.
In dry, light soils the seeds should be planted about four centimetres deep.
Peas need warm soil to grow and good spacing for adequate sunlight.
Their root nodules contain bacteria that fix nitrogen in the soil.
They require temperatures of 10 to 30 degrees Celsius with a minimal of 400 to 500 mm rainfall in the growing season adds infonet-biovision.org.
Adding compost or organic manure adds soil fertility and ensures maximum production.
Crop care entails regular regulation during the dry spells.
Mulching can be done to preserve moisture, prevent soil erosion, keep off pests and diseases and add soil fertility on decomposition.
Weed control is also essential to suppress weeds to keep off pests causing diseases and reduce competition for soil nutrients, water, space, and sunlight.
Crop rotation is recommended with grains, carrots, cabbages, and potatoes.
Staking is done as peas require several poles erected to support the vines and keep them off the ground.
Green peas are ready for harvesting two to three months after planting.
Green peas are known to be ready for harvesting with the appearance of the pods being full with the pods matured.
Common pests’ diseases that attack green peas include cutworms, African bollworm, caterpillars, aphids, pea blue butterfly, thrips, leaf miners, spider mites, root nematode, weevils and beetles which are controlled by crop rotation and applying appropriate pesticides and insecticides according to infonet-biovision.org
Diseases that affect green peas include damping-off, blight, powdery mildew, downy mildew, fusarium wilt which are controlled by using disease-free healthy seeds, destroying crop residues, use of resistant varieties and spraying appropriate fungicides highlights farmlinkkenya.com.