The cultivation of pigeon peas is quite easy and brings good harvests, usually in spring and summer.
Sowing and planting pigeon peas
Where to plant pigeon peas ?
Pigeon peas like a cool, temperate climate. It prefers a sunny exposure, but does not like too much hot sun.
It appreciates a light, fresh, aerated and well-drained soil. It does not tolerate limestone and humidity.
It is usually planted in the vegetable garden, but the dwarf varieties can be placed in containers.
In the garden, it enjoys the company of celery, carrots, kohlrabi, turnips, potatoes and radishes. It hates the company of garlic, onions, shallots and leeks.
When to plant & grow pigeon peas ?
Round pigeon peas (Pisum sativum), for early cultivation, are sown in October-November and then from February to April. Wrinkled pigeon peas are sown from February to July, with variations depending on the variety. It is better to avoid sowing too late as this will bring too much summer heat to the pigeon peas.
The germination time varies from 10 to 15 days if the temperature oscillates between 54 and 59°F approximately, but the ideal for its good growth is to have 64 to 73°F the day and 44 to 50°F the night. In colder areas, although pea leaves can withstand frosts of 23 to 14°F, it is possible to plant in a plastic tunnel that will be removed as soon as the pigeon peas are good to go.
While pigeon peas will grow in almost any soil, they prefer light, cool, well-ventilated soils to a depth of at least 6 inches. Soils that are acidic, too wet or too chalky will not provide good pea yields.
In short, pigeon peas are tricky to plant because the ideal conditions are not easy to meet: mild climate but not too hot either, humidity but not too much either…
How to plant and sow pigeon peas ?
You should sow pigeon peas in a perfectly sunny area of your garden, if possible in a place that absorbs heat and whose moist soil does not dry out easily. Like all Fabaceae, pigeon peas store nitrogen from the air in their roots, so it is not necessary to add nitrogen fertilizer.
Sowing is done in rows with furrows spaced 18 inches apart for dwarf pigeon peas and 22 to 32 inches apart for pigeon peas to allow you to pick up the pods more easily at harvest time (3 to 3.5 months after sowing). Mix compost into the soil in the furrow.
There are two sowing techniques: either you put a seed every 1 inch, or you put 6-8 seeds in a cluster every 12 inches. The seeds should be buried 1 inch deep.
Install a wire mesh, trellis or oars even for dwarf pigeon peas whose tendrils need to attach.
When the pigeon peas are about 10 centimeters high, stub them to ensure their stability. Also mulch the soil to keep it cool, water regularly but not too much so as not to saturate the soil with water, without wetting the leaves, to avoid powdery mildew.
Make sure to rotate the pea crops by alternating them for 3 years. And sow preferably in a growing moon on a “fruit” day.
Cultivation and maintenance of pigeon peas
- Hoe when the plants begin to emerge and then regularly during the growing season.
- Mulch the soil to prevent weeds from growing and to keep the soil fresh.
- One month after emergence, ridge the plants to help anchor them.
- Install stakes or nets of varying heights depending on the variety, even for dwarf varieties, to make harvesting easier.
- Water regularly and more abundantly in case of strong heat. pigeon peas hate drought!
Diseases, pests and parasites of pigeon peas
Several pests can attack your pea crop
- Black or green aphids that suck sap and cause leaves and shoots to curl, preventing fruiting.
- Sitone, which eats away at leaves.
- The pea leafroller whose small caterpillars devour the pods from the inside, and make a hole in the pod to get out.
- The pea weevil whose larvae develop by eating the seeds.
- Good growing conditions allow to avoid most of these attacks.
Diseases can also appear
Anthracnose appears as black spots along the veins.
Mildew causes the appearance of yellow spots, a downy and then purplish color.
Powdery mildew is characterized by a white felting.
In prevention, respect the crop rotation and make sure to water your plants without excess and without wetting the foliage.
In case of contagion, remove and burn the affected parts.
Harvesting pigeon peas
When and how to harvest?
The harvest takes place from March in the mildest regions for the early varieties and until July for the later varieties.
Pigeon peas for shelling: pick the pigeon peas when the seeds are formed and according to your needs. Do not let them grow too large. The pods must be green.
Mangetout pigeon peas: pick the pods just when the seeds have formed.
The conservation of the pea
It is advisable to eat fresh pigeon peas when they are freshly picked. However, they can be kept for a few days in a cool place, frozen or sterilized.
What you should know about pigeon peas
Also known as cultivated pigeon peas or pigeon peas, the seeds of the plant are actually consumed.
While pigeon peas are quite demanding to grow, snow pigeon peas (summer pigeon peas) are much less demanding.
You will be pleasantly surprised by the rapid growth of this plant which will eventually require the support of a stake once it reaches several centimeters in height.
Birds love the seeds of Pisum sativum and it is preferable to set up a net before seeing your harvest destroyed, in a very short time most of the time…