Commercially peas are grown almost in all parts of the cooler areas of South Africa, particularly in KZN, Brits and Rustenburg in North West, and in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. The pea is a green, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool – season vegetable crop. There are generally three types of peas that are commonly eaten:
Garden or Green Peas (Pisum sativum).
Snow Peas (Pisum sativum var, macrocarpon).
Snap Peas (Pisum sativum var, macrocarpon ser. cv).
Peas can be grown on all types of soil but it prefers well- drained sandy loam soils.The soils should be rich in organic matter as it enhances better growth by supplying nutrients at a slower rate. It does not thrive in highly acidic or alkaline soils or saline type of soils. It grows best at a pH of 6.5. If the pH is less than 6.0, then then it should be amended to improve the soil conditions.
The field should be well prepared by 2 or 3 ploughings. The soil should not be much pulverized and fine. However, it must be free from weeds and stuble of the kharif crop grown earlier. Well- decomposed farmyard manure at 25 to 30 t/ha along with 100kg dolomite per hectare should be applied during final ploughing.
Peas are normally sown directly where they are to grow to maturity, but they can also be sown early in pots, in a greenhouse, to bring on plants for planting out. Otherwise sow early March, second sowing in April, third sowing in May and late sowing using early varieties in June or even into early July.
Garden pea is sown rather densely, with plant densities up to 80 plants per square metre. The seed should be sown 4 to 7cm deep. Approximately 60 to 200 kg/ha of seed is required. Plant peas 3 to 5cm deep and 2cm apart in single or double rows. Allow 46 to 60cm between single or pairs of rows. Allow 20 to 25cm between double rows in pairs.
Harvesting period: 58 to 74 days, depending on the variety and growing conditions (soil, temperature, and moisture).
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