Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saving Seeds of Peas

Peas because they are big seeds and are contained in a pod, so don't scatter are easy to collect. They also belong to the self pollinating group, so come usually true to seed. There is a slight possibility that insect activity could produce a bit of cross pollination, however regular peas should not cross with sugar peas and vice versa. It's been never a problem for me but to prevent any crossing you can keep different varieties five to ten feet apart. Or, if you don't have the space, you could just plant only one variety of each kind each year and still be able to keep your seeds going there pea seed are viable for 3 years, if kept at cool, dry conditions.

Pea vines can become a tangled mess, which can make identification of individual plants difficult. It helps to keep the single plant just a bit apart for easy identification, or better plant a few pea plants separate from the ones you plan on eating just for seed production. To get a pound of seeds it will take about 15 feet of peas planted in a row, planted at the proper spacing, or the equivalent of that planted in a shorter but wider area. Peas need zinc to form peas in the pods so if you see not many pea seeds forming you might have zinc deficiency which can be corrected with adding Zinc-Sulfate to your soil.

Before you can shell the seeds for keeping, they need to thoroughly dry in the pod. Take them out to early they will rot. To make sure they are all completely dry it's a good idea to dry the vines in a well-aired area for a week or more, making sure you don't pack them to tight together so they don't become damp and rot. Damp seeds won't have good growing qualities. After they are dry you can hand crack the pods or thresh the seeds.

Store in good sealed containers or bags in a cool, dry environment or you can store them in the freezer, which should make them stay viable for at least five years. Before you plant them, you need to take them out of the freezer to defrost and warm up.


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