Nutritive Value: Garden pea is a favorite leguminous (Pods) vegetable grown in the kitchen garden. Peas contain a high percentage of digestible protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals. It contain 72 percent water, 16 percent carbohydrates, 7.2 percent proteins, 4 percent minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, potassium, sulphur and iron, and is rich in vitamins A and C.
Soil and Climate: Peas require porous, fertile and siltrich soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Peas need calcium and phosphorus rich soils. It is a cool season crop but requires relatively warm weather during ripening of pods for seeds. The vegetable is very sensitive to frost and drought conditions.
Important Varieties: Bonville, Arkel, Arka Ajit, Meatier and Little Marvel are the important varieties of garden peas grown in South India. All varieties start yielding pods 60 to 75 days after sowing, depending
on the varieties grown.
Planting and Irrigation: Peas are grown during August-October in the South Indian region. Pea is fond of calcium and phosphorus nutrients and care should be taken to mix gypsum and bone meal in the soil along with compost to get a higher pod yield. Before sowing, seeds are treated with Rhizobium biofertilizer and sown 5 cm apart in pots and 15 to 20 cm apart in beds. Irrigation should be provided after seed sowing. Care must be taken to irrigate this vegetable crop at critical growth stages like flowering, pod formation, filling and maturity.
Plant Protection: Aphids and pod borer are the major insectpests attacking peas. Spraying of neem cake extract and hand picking of green caterpillars like the pod borer can greatly help reduce the losses from these insect pests. Powdery mildew is an important fungus disease of pea that can be controlled by treating seed with trichoderma biofungicide powder before seed sowing. If powdery mildew occurs on the standing crop it can be controlled by dusting sulphur powder or spraying wettable sulphur on the vegetable.
Harvesting: Pods of peas are available for picking 60 to 80 days after sowing or 20 days after flowering. Pods are handpicked when they are properly filled but still tender, green in color and sweet in taste. Picking should be done in the morning hours. Matured pods should be kept for seed production or making vegetable curries.