SEED CALCULATOR ❌
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SEED CALCULATOR ❌
Number of Seeds: 0
Seeds per 100 feet: 0
Sow in the fall or as soon as possible in the spring. Can be worked in late April or early May. Field peas usually are drilled 1 to 3” deep to ensure contact with moist soil and good anchoring for plants. Likes well drained, fertile loam. Seed early enough so that plants are 6 to 8 inches tall before soil freezes, because peas are shallow rooted and susceptible to heaving. Try to plant from mid-August to mid- September in Zone 5. Plant into grain stubble or a rough seedbed, or interseed into a winter grain. These environments protect young pea roots by suppressing soil heaving during freezing and thawing. Trapped snow insulates plants, as well. Adjust the grain drill to prevent cracking the seed.
Winter-hardy types of field peas, especially Austrian winter peas, can withstand temperatures as low as 10° F with only minor injury, but they don’t overwinter consistently in areas colder than moderate Hardiness Zone 6. They are sensitive to heat, particularly in combination with humidity. They tend to languish in mid-summer even in the cool Northeast (361), where average summers have fewer than 30 days exceeding 86° F. Temperatures greater than 90° F cause flowers to blast and reduce seed yield. On humus-rich black soils, field peas will produce abundant viny growth with few seed pods. Does not tolerate high water table or any substantial flooding.
Field pea seed has a short shelf life compared with other crops. Run a germination test if seed is more than two years old and adjust seeding rate accordingly. If you haven’t grown peas in the seeded area for several years, inoculate immediately before seeding.
WEST-winter annual. In mild winter areas of California and Idaho, fall-plant for maximum yield. In those areas, you can expect spring-planted winter peas to produce about half the biomass as those that are fall-planted. Seed by September 15 in Zone 5 of the Inter-Mountain region in protected valleys where you’d expect mild winter weather and good, long-term snow cover. October-planted Austrian winter pea in the Zone 9 Sacramento Valley of California thrive on cool, moist conditions and can contribute 150 lbs of nitrogen per acre by early April.
The general rule for other parts of the semi-arid West where snow cover is dependable is to plant peas in the fall after grain harvest. In these dry regions of Montana and Idaho, overseed peas at 90 to 100 lbs per acre by “frostseeding” any time soils have become too cold for pea germination. Be sure residue cover is not too dense to allow seed to work into the soil through freeze/thaw cycles as the soil warms.
In the low-rainfall Northern Plains, broadcast clear stands of peas in early spring at a similar rate for the “Flexible Green Manure” cropping system. Seeding at about 100 lbs per acre compensates somewhat for the lack of incorporation and provides strong early competition with weeds. Plant as soon as soil in the top inch reaches 40° F to make the most of spring moisture.
A mixture of Austrian winter peas and a small grain is suitable for dryland forage production because it traps snow and uses spring moisture to produce high yields earlier than spring-seeded annual forages. With sufficient moisture, spring peas typically produce higher forage yields than Austrian winter peas.
EAST-summer annual. Planted as a companion crop in early spring in the Northeast, Austrian winter peas may provide appreciable nitrogen for summer crops by Memorial Day. In the mid-Atlantic, Austrian winter peas and hairy vetch planted October 1 and killed May 1 produced about the same total nitrogen and corn yields.
SOUTHEAST-winter annual. Seed by October 1 in the inland Zone 8 areas of the South so that root crowns can become established to resist heaving. Peas produce more biomass in the cooler areas of the South than where temperatures rise quickly in spring. Peas planted in late October in South Carolina ’s Zone 8 and terminated in mid- to late April produce 2,700 to 4,000 lb. dry matter per acre.
NORTHERN PLAINS-summer annual. Austrian winter peas (and other grain legumes) are increasingly used instead of fallow in dryland cereal rotations. The legumes help prevent saline seeps by using excess soil moisture between cereal crops. They also add nitrogen to the system. The legume–cereal sequence starts with a spring- or fall-planted grain legume instead of fallow, followed by a small grain. Peas work well in this system because they are shallow-rooted and therefore do not extract deep soil moisture. The pea crop is managed according to soil moisture conditions. Depending on growing season precipitation, the peas can be grazed, terminated or grown to grain harvest.
Northern growers terminate the crop when about 4” of plant available water remains in the soil, as follows:Below-normal rainfall—terminate the grain legume early.
Adequate rainfall—terminate the grain legume when about 4” of soil water remains. Residue is maintained for green manure, moisture retention and erosion prevention.
Above-average rainfall—grow the crop to maturity for grain harvest.
Peas are easily killed any time with herbicides, or by disking or mowing after full bloom, the stage of maturity that provides the optimum nitrogren contribution. Disk lightly to preserve the tender residue for some short-term erosion control. The downside to the quick breakdown of pea vines is their slimy condition in spring if they winterkill, especially in dense, pure stands. Planting with a winter grain provides some protection from winterkill and reduces matting of dead pea vegetation.
Host some races of nematodes. Are susceptible to winter Sclerotinia crown rot, Fusarium root rot as well as seed rot and blights of the stem, leaf or pod. Are variably susceptible to the Ascochyta blight. Host the pathogen Sclerotinia minor. There was a higher incidence of leaf drop in California lettuce planted after Austrian winter peas. To combat disease, rotate cover crops to avoid growing peas in the same field in successive years. To minimize risk of losing cover crop benefits to Sclerotinia disease in any given season, mix with another cover crop such as cereal rye.
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Field pea grown as a winter annual in the South and West and as a spring annual in the North for soil improvement and for forage. Fixes 90 to 150 lbs nitrogen per acre. Plowed down as green manure, fall-planted legume crops of Austrian winter pea, alfalfa and hairy vetch each produced enough nitrogen for the prod...
Field pea grown as a winter annual in the South and West and as a spring annual in the North for soil improvement and for forage. Fixes 90 to 150 lbs nitrogen per acre. Plowed down as green manure, fall-planted legume crops of Austrian winter pea, alfalfa and hairy vetch each produced enough nitrogen for the production of high-quality muskmelons under plastic mulch and drip irrigation in a Kansas study. This cold-hardy overwintering pea is an excellent choice for cooler, poorly drained soils that may not be conducive to other legumes. Grows to 30–54”.
Austrian winter peas harvested as hay then applies as mulch mineralized nitrogen at more than double the rate of alfalfa hay. The nitrogen contribution was measured the summer after a fall plowdown of the residue. The estimated nitrogen recovery of Austrian winter peas 10 months after incorporation was 77%: 58% through spring wheat and 19% in the soil. Rapid spring growth helps peas out compete weeds and make an nitrogen contribution in time for summer cash crops in some areas.
Generally grown with a small grain for pasture, hay or silage. Subject to winter kill and disease. Under a long, cool, moist season during their vegetative stages, Austrian winter peas produce more than 5,000 lb. dry matter per acre, even when planted in spring in colder climates. Idaho farmers regularly produce 6,000 to 8,000 lbs dry matter per acre from fall-planted Austrian winter peas. Because the residue breaks down quickly, only peas in the high-production areas build up much long-term organic matter. Peas do not make a good organic mulch for weed control. Used for cover crop and green manure crop, peas are good legumes for building tilth and adding humus to the soil.
Seed production in Montana is about 2,000 lbs per acre and about 1,500 lbs per acre in the Pacific Northwest. Demand is growing for field peas as food and livestock feed. The purple and white blossoms of field peas are an early and extended source of nectar for honeybees.
Use in the East and Southeast is limited by field peas’ susceptibility to Sclerotinia crown rot, which can destroy whole fields during winter in the mid-Atlantic area. Risk of infection increases if pea crops are grown on the same land in close rotation.
Also known as black peas.Tags: Color: Pink Purple, Specialty: Cover Crop, Specialty: Cool Climate, Season: Spring Fall.