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Full text of "Peas and pea culture; a practical and scientific discussion of peas, relating to the history, varieties, cultural methods, insects and fungous pests, with special chapters on the canned pea industry, peas as forage and soiling crops, garden peas, sweet peas, seed breeding, etc"

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Peas and 
Pea Culture 

A Practical and Scientific Discussion of Peas, Relating 
to the History, Varieties, Cultural Methods, Insect 
and Fungous Pests, with special chapters on the Canned 
Pea Industry, Peas as Forage and Soiling Crops, 
Garden Peas, Sweet Peas, Seed Breeding, Etc. 




Editor Neiv England Homestead 






All Rights Reserved 

Printed in U. S. A. 


This little book on Peas and Pea Culture is in- 
tended to be of value to the student and practical 
farmer alike. Enough of the scientific has been 
provided to meet the demands of the former, and the 
references to principles of breeding and improvement 
of existing strains go into sufficient detail to prove 
about as interesting and sleep providing for the 
average college student as some of Darwin's exten- 
sive treatises on plant and animal life. For the 
practical grower, great care has been exercised to 
keep details true to field conditions. The author 
has been interested in this crop from his early days 
when he first helped " dadder " to gather a mess for 
dinner, on through to his more mature years when 
gathering for his own family and sending the sur- 
plus to early market at $1 to $2 per bushel. 

The canning of peas, which has grown to vast 
proportions, is an industry by itself. So the author 
took two weeks' vacation and visited large canning 
districts in New York and Michigan. Here he 
studied conditions at first hand, visiting with the 
packers, noting the various processes and climbing 
on to the lumber wagon to go and visit the farmer, 
watch him gather the crop and bring it to the 
factory. Aside from this, many resources have been 
drawn upon, including the scraps of testimony from 
various experiment stations, agricultural colleges, 
individual experimenters, etc. 

So far as advised we know of no individual 
treatise on the subject of Peas and their culture. In 




fact, one is surprised to note the dearth of specific 
information provided on the subject in printed form. 
One wishing facts on certain cultural principles 
might find them in one place, and to get ideas on 
insect and fungous pests would perhaps spend hours 
searching elsewhere for desired information. There- 
fore, the aim of this book is to save all this time and 
perhaps spare the temper. 

An honest effort has been made to provide com- 
prehensive, authoritative, and specific information 
on the subject of Peas. Readers who note errors, 
who have experiences not in accord, or which will 
supplement the principles herein set forth, will 
confer a favor by sending direct to the undersigned 
to the end that the second edition may prove more 
satisfactory to the author and the public alike. 

RUSSELL, MASS., April 4, 1911. 




Flat pea, i; Chick pea, i; Cowpea, 2; 
Partridge pea, 2 ; Square pod pea, 2 ; 
Tangier pea, 3 ; Buffalo pea, 3 ; Sweet 
pea, 3 ; Ceylon pea, 3 ; Classification 
of peas, 3; History, 4; Distribution, 


Place in rotation, 7-9; Fertilizers for 
peas, 9-11; Nitrogen-gathering char- 
acteristic, 11-12; Inoculation, 12-14. 


Planting, 15; Amount of seed, 15-17; 
Depth of planting, 17-18; Manner of 
planting, 18; Seed considerations, 18- 
20 ; Cultivation, 20 ; Harvesting, 20-22 ; 
Thrashing, 22-23 ; Yields, 23-24. 



Composition, 25-26; Pea meal, 26; 

Composition compared with other 




feedstuffs, 27 ; Nutritive value, 27-29 ; 
Cooking and digestibility, 29-30 ; Feed- 
ing value, 30-31 ; Peas for cows, 31-32; 
Peas for steers, 32 ; Peas for sheep and 
lambs, 32-33; Peas for swine, 33-34; 
Peas for horses and chickens, 34-35. 


Pea weevil, 36-38; Pea moth, 38-39; 
Pea louse, 39-40; Miscellaneous in- 
sects, 40-41 ; Pea blight or leaf spot, 
41-42; Powdery mildew, 42; Root rot 
fungus, 42; Miscellaneous pea fungi, 


Varieties grown, 45; Time of harvest- 
ing, 45-47; Grading the crop, 47-48; 
Thrashing, 48-49; Blanching the peas, 
49; Size of cans, 49-50; Processing or 
cooking, 50-51; Peas spoiling, 51-52; 
Pea silage, 52-53. 


Culture, 54-55 ; Fertilizers, 55-58 ; Feed 
for live stock, 58-59; Cowpea, 59-64; 
Cover crop for orchards, 64-65. 




Seed growing specialty, 66-69; Possi- 
bilities in breeding, 69-71. 


Germination, 73-74; Supports, 74-76; 
Winter forcing, 76; Varieties, 76-81. 


Soil considerations, 83 ; Sowing, 83-84 ; 
Culture, 84-86; Enemies of the sweet 
pea, 86; Trellising, 86-87; Types and 
varieties, 87-88; Four cardinal don'ts, 


Something for Mother's Dinner Frontispiece 

Harvesting with Mowing Machine . . 8 

Loading Green Pea Vines for the Cannery . 16 

Special Pea Vine Harvester .... 17 
Mower with Pea-Lifting Attachment for 

Cutter Bar 19 

A Pea and Bean Huller, or Thrasher . . 21 

Green Pea Vines Bunched Ready for Hauling 28 

Pea Weevil and Infected Pea ... 36 

Pea Moth and Caterpillar; Infected Pea . 39 
Load of Green Pea Vines Going to New York 

Cannery 46 

Oats and Peas for Forage .... 56 
Cowpeas Grown at Michigan Experiment 

Station 60 

Two Each of Nott's Excelsior, Prosperity, 

and Advancer 68 

Good and Poor Specimens of Juno Pea . 73 

Fair Sample of Popular Thomas Laxton . 75 

Gradus, an Excellent Pea .... 78 

The Productive Prosperity .... 80 


Peas belong to the great legume family of plants 
a family which constitutes the backbone of an 
improved agriculture. The Greek and Latin name 
of the pea is Pisum and there are six species. The 
important one is the common garden pea or Pisum 
sativum. Pisum sativum, var. arvense, is the field pea 
commonly known as Canada field pea. Several so- 
called peas are not peas at all, although belonging 
to the leguminosas family. Some are given herewith. 

Flat Pea '(Lathyrus sylvestris) is a forage plant 
closely resembling the sweet pea. It is particularly 
adapted to light soils, succeeding where clover or 
corn would fail. Under favorable conditions it will 
produce a remarkable growth of vines, three to 
four feet in length, and provide several cuttings 
each season. A serious objection is that stock do 
not like it. In experiment, at the Michigan station, 
sheep and cattle lost flesh on rations of either flat 
pea hay or flat pea silage. It is rich in protein, air- 
dried hay analyzing 27 per cent protein, and would 
probably be more largely grown, except that it re- 
quires two or three years to get it established. 
Plants grow eight to twelve inches tall the first sea- 
son, and ground must be kept free from weeds. Can 
be sown in the spring in drills 18 inches apart. 

Chick Pea (Cicer arictinum), also called Idaho 
and Egyptian pea, is adapted to a variety of soils, 
but succeeds best on clay loams. In composition 
it is similar to the common field pea, but leaves 


possess a large amount of oxalic acid, which makes 
plant unfavorable for feeding horses. It is an an- 
nual, with vetchlike leaves growing 12 to 18 inches 
high. Pods are one-half to three-fourths inch long, 
and contain one or two wrinkled peas slightly larger 
than the common garden pea. The slight growth 
makes it undesirable for a forage plant. At the 
Colorado experiment station chick peas were planted 
in rows 30 inches apart and 6 to 12 inches distant 
in the row. A fine growth resulted. The cost of 
production was about one cent a pound. 

Cowpea (Vigna Catjang), really more of a bean 
than a pea, is a wonderful soil renovator and has 
been used in the South for a century, and a half. 
While the plant is sensitive to frost, it is being 
grown as far north as Massachusetts and Wiscon- 
sin. A special chapter is devoted to peas and cow- 
peas as forage plants on a later page, which see. 

Partridge Pea (Cassia Chamcccrista). Some- 
times called sensitive pea and Magothy Bay bean. 
This was once popular for plowing under, and was 
used largely in the South, notably in Virginia and 
Maryland. There it was sown with oats in the 
spring, and after the oats were harvested peas came 
on to maturity. The cowpea for the South is so 
much superior for green manuring that the partridge 
pea is being used only occasionally. Plants have a 
conspicuous yellowish purple flower. 

Square Pod Pea (Lobus Tetrogonolbus) is a fine 
soil renovator, owing to its pronounced tendency to 
produce root tubercles. Plants grow rapidly, but 
unfortunately will not stand our climate. In Cali- 
fornia it produced 24 tons herbage to the acre, but 
will not stand either frost or drouth. 


Tangier Pea (Lathyrus Tingitanus). An annual 
plant native to Barbary. It was brought to Cali- 
fornia in 1889. Apparently, it is hardy, and seeds 
can be used for table, while cattle will eat plants. 
Very little known in the United States. 

Buffalo Pea (Astragalus crassicarpus). This, like 
the others, belongs to the legume family. It is 
found in the Mississippi valley, and vines are 
sprawling, bearing short stubby pods about one- 
half to two-thirds inch in diameter. These are ap- 
parently relished by hogs, cattle and sheep. The 
plant gains maturity in Texas in April, and by the 
middle of June in northern latitudes. Has been 
very little cultivated 

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus). This is known 
to all people, and a special chapter on the subject 
will be found on later pages. 

Ceylon Pea. In the California experiment sta- 
tion report for 1895 to 1897, E - J- Wixon speaks of 
the Ceylon pea. He describes it as having large 
pods, being very prolific, stating that it grows well 
throughout the state. " It is of value as a late pea 
for table or canning." 

Various Classifications of Peas. Common, every- 
day peas can be classified as either garden or field. 
The former may be used in the green state shelled, 
or the pods and all may be used like string beans. 
The latter are frequently called "edible podded" 
peas. The field peas, grown in a larger way, may 
be used as seed, canning, forage and green manur- 
ing, for split peas for culinary purposes, and for 
stock feeding. Special chapters are devoted to 
these industries. 

The garden pea differs from the field or stock 


pea in that the blossoms are white instead of violet 
or purple, the seed is larger but more tender and 
sweet. Another classification of peas is, smooth and 
wrinkled sorts, the latter being sweeter and more 
edible, with larger pods and more peas in the pod. 
However, the smooth sorts are earlier and more 
hardy. Peas are frequently classified as early, me- 
dium, and late, according to the season of ripening. 
The varying characteristic of climbing, dwarf, and 
semi-dwarf habit of growth, constitutes yet another 
basis of classification. 

History. Peas have been known for centuries 
and were no doubt cultivated before the Christian 
era. It was a common plant among the Greeks and 
Romans, and reference to it is frequently found in 
their literature. One Lydgate, a writer in the time 
of Henry VII, mentions peas being peddled about 
the streets of London. 

Distribution. Peas are pretty generally scattered 
about the country. They are native to Europe, but 
are widely cultivated in the United States and 
Canada. The plant prefers cool temperatures and 
abundant moisture supply. Growing them for seed 
is not recommended in the South. In Canada it is 
a leading crop. In the province of Ontario alone 
the average annual area devoted to peas for the 20 
years ending 1902, was 710,498 acres, and the aver- 
age annual yield approximated 13,000,000 bushels, 
with an average yield around 19 bushels to the 
acre. Most of these are fed out on the farms. The 
northern tier of states down to, and including Penn- 
sylvania, New York, and New England, will pro- 
duce seed. The southern limit for the successful 
growing of seed peas has been designated as the 


northern limit for the most successful growing of 
cowpeas. In the warmer southern climate they are 
grown with great success for soiling purposes and 
in restricted sections for canning factories, and in 
green state for northern markets. 

The accompanying table, taken from the Federal 
Census of 1900, affords something of an idea of the 
pea-producing states. It gives the number of acres, 
comparative yield in bushels, with the increase and 
the average yield to the acre. 




South Carolina 143,070 1,162,705 698,281 66.5 8.1 

Michigan ------ 7^,376 i,i34,43* 1,428,475 20.6 15.9 

Georgia ________ 167,032 1,130,441 974,670 16.0 6.8 

Wisconsin ______ 68,819 1,098,819 919,058 19.6 16.0 

North Carolina 88,407 876,167 437,284 100.4 9-9 

Tennessee ______ 82,841 760,663 96,972 684.4 9-2 

Alabama ______ 91,126 665,388 326,413 103.8 7.3 

Mississippi _____ 69,490 590,537 254,526 132.0 8.5 

Texas --------- 33,974 333,462 205,692 62.1 9.8 

New York ______ J 4,748 251,889 228,726 10.1 17.1 

Arkansas ------ 31,4*4 245,894 169,170 45-4 7-8 

Virginia _______ 22,206 219,142 19,864 1,003.2 9.9 

Florida -------- 17,875 159,814 70,632 126.3 8.9 

Louisiana ______ 15,190 146,298 81,700 79.1 9.6 

Illinois ________ 12,982 103,386 9,010 1,047.5 8.0 

Washington ---- 3,573 91,889 25,523 260.1 25.7 

Kentucky ------- 8,394 83,089 8,445 883.9 9-9 

California _____ 2,014 57,299 32,364 77.0 28.5 

Missouri ------- 5,319 54,763 14,486 278.0 10.3 

Colorado _______ 3,621 47,461 45,270 4.8 13.1 

Maine _________ 2,300 35,991 23,146 55.5 15.6 

Montana ______ 1,512 32,265 9,612 235.7 21.3 

New Mexico ____ 2,220 28,071 7,430 277.8 12.6 

Iowa __________ I ,556 27,606 27,240 1.3 17.7 

Oregon -------- 1,304 22,615 11,214 101.7 17.3 

Director C. B. Williams of the North Carolina 


experiment station writes the author : " We consider 
the pea industry important in this state. They are 
mostly grown for garden seed and hay purposes. 
Very few are canned. Throughout the coastal plain 
section of the state much attention is devoted to 
the growth of garden peas for market purposes. 
Georgia produces large quantities of green peas, and 
this constitutes an important truck crop. North 
Carolina raises a lot of sugar peas for early markets. 
These are familiarly known as garden peas, pods 
being picked green and sold. A large dealer at 
Hickory, N. C, states that 500 to 1,000 acres of such 
peas are shipped from the vicinity of Elizabeth City 
and Goldsboro annually. These go to the produce 
trade and none reach the canning market. North 
Carolina is also a great state for cowpeas, there 
probably being about 100,000 bushels going to the 
North and West every season, and used for fertiliz- 
ing purposes." Jonathan Havens, of Washington, 
N. C., writes : " It is a broad assertion, but I believe 
every kind under the sun grows luxuriantly in this 
section. I can personally name 3O-odd varieties and 
with one exception they are good both for stock and 
human food." 

Wisconsin is a great pea-growing state. There 
are many factories within its borders and numer- 
ous varieties of peas are grown for the market. 
Field peas constitute an important farm crop. 

Michigan produces large quantities of both field 
and garden peas. Growing for seed is developing 
into an important industry. New York produces 
large quantities of peas for canning factories. More 
will be specified on this subject in the chapter on 
the Canned Pea Industry. 


A wide variety of soils will produce peas, but for 
best results plant on a clay loam which is not in an 
acid condition. The stiffest of clays, well tilled, 
will produce peas, and light sandy soils will return 
a moderate yield. Mucky soil overladen with humus 
is likely to produce too rank vines, and light sandy 
soil will not produce enough vine growth. The 
ideal soil is cool and reasonably moist. W. M. 
Hayes 1 conducted experiments in Dakota and Min- 
nesota which indicate that a larger yield of peas 
than of wheat can be obtained on sandy lands. 
Suzuki 2 gives results of four years' continuous cul- 
ture of peas grown on humus loam soil unfertilized 
and fertilized. He declares no trace of soil weari- 
ness or sickness appeared when soil was liberally 
fertilized and concluded that soil sickness may in 
some cases be due simply to deficiency of available 
plant food. 

Place in Rotation. As the pea crop gathers more 
nitrogen than consumed by the plant, it may be 
followed with distinct advantage by a variety of 
crops, notably the cereals. Von Sellhorst 3 states 
that peas, owing to the small quantity of water 
drawn from the soil, can with advantage be followed 
by winter cereals. 

*N. D. Sta., Bui. No. 10. 

2 Experiment Station Record, Vol. 20. 

8 E. S. R., Vol. 14. 


Shuttleworth 4 tried surface and underground 
irrigation with oats, wheat and peas. The water 
required for maturing crops in subwatered cylinders 
was 65 pounds for oats, 34 for wheat, and 104 for 
peas. In the case of peas the yield in the sub- 
watered cylinder was 116 grams, as compared with 
63 grams on the surface water. Nobbe and Richter 5 
state that ether and hydrogen peroxide applied to 
soils where peas were grown failed to sterifize the 
soil and increase the yield of peas. Nakamura 6 
states that borax when used at the rate of one 
milligram per kilogram of soil exerted a stimulating 
action on peas. 

Fertilizers for Peas. It is a mistaken idea that 
peas do not require much fertilizer. While it is 
possible to have lands too rich in nitrogen and 
humus, resulting in heavy vine growth, there is little 
danger of oversupply of potash and phosphoric 
acid, both of which materials are essential to suc- 
cess. Some experts say there is nothing better 
than stable manure, especially if plowed under the 
preceding fall. It supplies a good amount of decay- 
ing vegetable matter. Ashes and even well-com- 
posted hen manure will give good results. One 
expert says that an application of 400 to 500 pounds 
commercial fertilizer to the acre, composed almost 
wholly of potash and phosphoric acid, is desirable. 
He says 10 per cent potash in a fertilizer is none 
too much on sandy soil for peas. Nitrate of soda 
is used sparingly, and at time of planting, to start 
early growth. 

*Ont. Agri. Col. Farm Rpt, 1899. 
5 E. S. R., Vol. 16. 
6 E. S. R., Vol. 1 6. 


Jenkins 7 found that a crop of peas removed from 
each acre 47.8 pounds nitrogen, 13.1 pounds phos- 
phoric acid, and 12.7 pounds potash. 

Brooks 8 reports that with peas, dried blood gave 
somewhat larger crop than nitrogen in other forms. 
When sulphate of ammonia and muriate of potash 
were used together, the growth was decidedly in- 
ferior to that where other combinations were used. 
Newman 9 tested seven varieties of peas grown on 
poor sandy upland with different fertilizers. High- 
est per cent of germination was 95, as grown on the 
plot fertilized with acid phosphate. The lowest 
germination was 66, resulting on the nitrate of soda 
plot. Peas planted on acid phosphate germinated 
three to four days earlier, blossomed four to 
six days earlier, and produced ripe pods 
six to nine days earlier than those where kainit, 
nitrate of soda, or cottonseed meal were used. The 
application of each was at the rate of 400 pounds 
to the acre. 

Clinton 10 reports fertilizer tests with Canada field 
peas and various other crops. Best returns were 
secured with acid phosphate and dissolved bone 
black. Untreated phosphate floats were apparently 
without effect upon the peas. 

Von Sellhorst 11 states that the yield of peas was 
largely increased by the use of potash, while nitro- 
gen was only slightly beneficial. Wagner 12 reports 
experiments extending over 12 years, which show 

7 Ct. Exper Sta. Rpt., 1896, p. 334. 

8 Mass. Exper. Sta. Rpt, 1897. 

9 Ark. Exper. Sta., Bui. 34. 

10 N. Y. Exper. Sta., Cornell Bulletin 201. 
11 E. S. R., Vol 17. 

12 E. S. R., Vol. 1 6. 


that continuous medium applications of basic slag, 
frequently called Thomas slag meal, were continu- 
ously beneficial. He declares the richer the soils 
are in phosphoric acid, the smaller application of 
nitrogen is required. 

Brooks 13 found that muriate of potash is slightly 
better for peas than is the sulphate of potash. 
Clausen 14 found that potash fertilizers, notably 
kainit, increased the proportion of seed to the vine 
to a marked extent. 

Wheeler and Adams 15 reported that liming the 
soil was especially valuable in the case of White 
Wonder Canada field pea. Nodules were abundant 
and quite evenly distributed upon the roots. On 
unlimed plots only a very few nodules were found, 
which were of large size and tended to grow in 
clusters. The application of caustic lime may be so 
large as to prove injurious. 

Nitrogen-Gathering Characteristic. A s with 
other legumes, one of the most valuable assets of 
the pea is its ability to gather nitrogen from the 
air and store it up in the soil and the plants. This 
is done through the medium of root tubercles, or 
nodules as frequently called. Beeson 16 conducted 
a rather elaborate set of experiments relative to 
gathering of nitrogen by the pea plant and states 
that there is a greater accumulation of nitrates in 
the soil under leguminous plants than in the bare 
soil or the soil under corn, cotton, or sorghum. His 
results indicate that the micro-organisms or tuber- 

13 Mass. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1903. 

14 E. S. R., Vol. 20. 

15 R. I. Exper. Sta., Bui. 96. 
1B E. S. R., Vol. 10. 


cles of the pea roots, assimilate more nitrogen than 
the plant needs for its growth. If this be true he 
argues that peas planted with a crop will tend to 
increase the yield of that crop unless plants are so 
thick as to interfere with the root development or 
as to use up too much water in growth. Various 
experiments have shown that uncultivated soils 
produce a less number of bacteria than cultivated. 
A fair proportion of humus favors tubercle develop- 
ment, yet there is likely to be slight development 
of tubercles where soil is exceedingly rich in humus. 
Potash, phosphoric acid, and lime, all favor the pro- 
duction of root tubercles. 

Inoculation. There have been many experiments 
relative to development of root tubercles by treat- 
ing the soil or the seed with materials carrying great 
numbers of the desirable bacteria. Kirk 17 made a 
thorough investigation and declared that his results 
proved (i) that on land which will already produce 
a good crop of legumes the inoculation is of little 
benefit to the crop ; but (2) it increases the number 
of nodules on the root and consequently a quantity 
of nitrogen is left in the soil for the benefit of the fol- 
lowing crop, such as grains or roots, which have 
not the power of providing nitrogen for themselves ; 
(3) inoculated seed invariably gave better results 
than the inoculated soil. 

Halsted 18 planted peas on soil where no legumi- 
nous plants had grown for at least eight years. Por- 
tions of the plot received a dressing of soil that had 
recently borne peas. At harvest ten plants were 
taken at random from the treated and untreated 

17 N. Z. Dept. of Agri. Annual Rpt, 1905. 

18 N. J. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1898. 


plats and the tubercles counted, the result being 
that there were nearly ten times as many on the 
roots of the treated vines as on the untreated ones. 
This shows decidedly favorable results through arti- 
ficial inoculation by means of soil taken from a field 
which bore peas. 

Ladd 19 conducted a series of experiments to ascer- 
tain whether any advantage would be derived 
through inoculation from especially prepared cul- 
tures. He used the commercial culture known as 
Nitragin. He reached the conclusion that where 
the soil is well stocked with organic matter the gain 
obtained is not sufficient to warrant use of the cul- 
ture. However, in the case of light sandy soils and 
for truck gardening, it may prove valuable. In re- 
cent months another proprietary culture known as 
Farmogerm is reported as having given excellent 

One interesting experiment by Nobbe and Hilt- 
ner 20 deals with the reciprocal inoculations of bac- 
teria upon beans and peas. It was found that if 
either plant were inoculated with germs from the 
tubercles of the other, some nodules would be 
formed, but the organism seemed to be without 
power of nitrogen assimilation. If the inoculation 
continued a second season, or through a second and 
third series of culture, the bacteria became nearly 
as efficient as those from the roots of the same 
genus. The possibility of transfer of tubercle bac- 
teria from the roots of one plant to those of the 
other genus is affirmed. 

Whatever the method of inoculation, the grower 

19 N. D. Exper. Sta., Bui. 35. 

20 E. S. R., Vol. 12. 


should take pains to incorporate the bacteria-carry- 
ing agent with the soil without delay, so as to pre- 
vent the killing of organisms by the hot sun and 
wind. This artificial inoculation does not differ 
materially from that recommended for alfalfa, 
clover, and other legumes, whether it be through 
" cultures " or through soil from old fields. 


Authorities agree that fall plowing for peas is 
preferable. If for no other reason, it is desirable 
from the general advantage that fall plowing opens 
up the land for the action of frost and the elements 
through winter. Fall plowing is less important 
when light ground forms the seed bed. Spring 
plowing, however, is not objectionable, and is in 
common practice. Thorough harrowing with disk 
and smoothing harrows will be appreciated by the 
crop. Peas are very vigorous and free growers, and 
are broadcasted by some on the furrow and simply 
disked in. This provides no thoroughly worked 
seed bed. 

Planting. The time of planting may vary with 
varieties and the object for which grown. In gen- 
eral, sow the peas early in the spring, as soon as 
ground can be worked. Peas do not succeed best 
in hot, drying sun and winds, and an early start 
will provide ample shade for the ground by the 
time the hottest days come. Shaw and Zavitz 1 state 
that peas were sown at different dates between 
April 22 and June 6. The weight of peas per 
bushel increased with each successive seeding. 
However, the best average yield to the acre was 
from seed sown April 22. 

Amount of Seed. This will vary according to 
variety, soil, and for purpose grown. From two to 
three and one-half bushels is the range, with per- 

1 Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt. for 1892. 




haps the average between two and one-half and 
three. Zavitz and Lochhead 2 state that some varie- 
ties of peas, like New Canadian Beauty, are double 
in size those of other sorts, as Common Globe vine. 
Hence in seeding it was found necessary to vary 


the amount sown from two to three and one-half 
bushels to the acre. The time of maturity has 
varied for 26 varieties, from 94 to 101 days, and the 
experiments in length of vines from 19 to 52 inches. 
Depth of Planting. It is generally recommended 
to plant deep, three to four inches. An exception 
may be for early sorts for gardening purposes. Cor- 
bett 3 reports a test made of planting peas at depths 

2 Ont. Agri. Col., Bui. 126. 

3 W. Va. Exper. Sta., Bui. 49. 


of two, three, four, five, six and eight inches. Those 
planted three inches deep gained highest per 
cent of germination and a greater yield than 
those planted at other depths. Time of maturity 
was not materially affected by depth of planting. 

Manner of Planting. The popular method is 
drilling with grain drill. Of course, in garden cul- 
ture hand planting and drilling with corn planter, 
with special seed plates, are in vogue. When a 
grain drill is not available, peas are frequently 
broadcasted by hand. In this event they may be 
either sown on the rough furrow and disked in, or 
the ground previously harrowed and left rather 
rough, peas broadcasted and a light smoothing har- 
row used for covering the seed. The danger of this 
method is that seeds will not be covered deeply 
enough and if heavy showers follow, are likely to be 
washed out. Some recommend broadcasting the 
peas on the land and plowing them under. The 
danger here is of getting them too deep. Zavitz 4 
states that in general, during a two years' test, 
drilling gave better results than broadcasting. 

Seed Considerations. Good seed is an important 
consideration with the pea crop as with all others. 
"As a man sows so shall he reap." Zavitz and 
Lochhead 5 report experiments for a number of years 
in selecting large and small seed of the same 
variety. It resulted in an average yield of 30.3 bush- 
els grain and one and one-third tons straw per acre 
for large seed, as against 23.9 bushels grain and 
one and one-tenth tons straw per acre for small 
seed. Using split pea seed as it came from the 

4 Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt. for 1897. 

5 Ont. Agri. Col,, Bui. 126, p. 32. 


thrasher in comparison with whole seed, the aver- 
ages were 10 bushels grain for the former and 30.7 
bushels for the latter. Only about 30 per cent of 
weevil-infected peas were found to germinate. 

Buchanan 6 reports a yield from sound pea seed 
of 28 bushels to the acre ; broken seed, 10.2 bushels. 


This covered a test of six years. Ward 7 declares 
that soaking pea seed in pure water tends to dissolve 
materials needed in the germination and growth 
of the seed. He recommends soaking in a solution 
of some fertilizer salt, which will add to, rather than 
detract from, the vigor of the seed. Electricity in 

8 Ont. Agri. Col. Annual Rpt. for 1906. 
7 E. S. R., Vol ii. 


the soil has a favorable action on the crop, one in- 
stance being recorded where the yield on the peas 
was double. Electricity was provided by means of 
upright rods placed in the ground and a network 
of wire connecting them below, in the soil. 

Cultivation. No after-cultivation is expected 
when field peas are broadcasted in the usual cus- 
tom of growing field peas. However, in case land 
is badly infested with weeds or grass, drilling in 
rows is sometimes practiced so that cultivation can 
be given to destroy foul growth. Soil moisture 
has an important relation to cultivation, and it is 
interesting to note the conclusion of King 8 on the 
amount of water required to produce a pound of 
dry matter. For peas it required 477 pounds of 
water to produce one pound dry matter. This may 
be compared with 564 pounds for clover, 301 pounds 
for corn, 375 pounds for barley, and 515 pounds for 

If cultivation is resorted to it should be shallow. 
Experiments by Rotmistrov 9 were conducted to 
show the vertical and lateral distribution of roots. 
The season's average growth of peas was 92 centi- 
meters 10 vertically, and 104 centimeters laterally. 
Corn roots measured 113 centimeters vertically and 
134 laterally, while rye grew 118 and 60 

Harvesting. Harvest field peas when the ma- 
jority of the pods have matured and when vines are 
beginning to turn yellow. The scythe is sometimes 
used to mow the peas, in which case they are later 

8 Wis. Exper. Sta. Annual Rpt., 1892. 

9 E. S. R., Vol. 20. 

10 A centimeter is slightly over one-third of an inch. 



bunched and eventually taken to the barn or 
thrasher, or possibly fed to stock. Occasionally, 
horse rakes have been used to pull the vines, but 
this is inclined to shell them badly, even though 
raking- is done when vines are damp. If hogs are 


to follow the harvester the loss will not be so 

The approved method of harvesting peas is with 
a mowing machine. Green peas for canneries are 
sometimes harvested with a special machine, some- 
thing similar to a reaper. When mowing machine 
is used a special attachment consisting of long 
finger guards is placed on the cutter bar of the mow- 
ing machine and lifts the vines from the ground, 
when they are cut off readily by the knives. One 
or two men can follow the mower and bunch the 


peas. Three men and a team can harvest ten acres 
a day, under favorable conditions. Some growers 
provide a homemade table, something similar to 
that on a reaper, for vines to run back on to, and 
then one man follows with a rake and pulls them 
off in bunches. 

If peas are well matured when harvested, the 
curing will be simple, unless very rainy weather 
prevails. In this event it is well to keep bunches 
turned to prevent molding and sprouting of those 
on the bottom. Peas can be hauled direct to the 
thrasher or to the barn and can even be stacked 
satisfactorily. In the latter event be sure to pro- 
vide a suitable covering of hay, meadow grass, or 
something of that character, on top of the stack to 
protect against rains. The^ coarseness of pea vines 
makes it very easy for rain to soak through if not 
carefully topped out with suitable material. It 
is well to remember this when stacking the pea 
straw outside, to be used later for stock. Some 
farmers do not take the trouble of harvesting the 
crop with a machine, but turn in the hogs and let 
them clean up the peas. 

Thrashing. This may be done either with stock, 
with a flail, or with a machine. The latter is the 
approved method, especially in a large way. The 
vines are simply run through a machine very sim- 
ilar to a grain separator, only that the cylinder is 
specially constructed. The cylinder should be run 
slowly to avoid cracking. If peas are to be fed 
to stock, this is not so important. Quereau 11 de- 
scribes a pea and bean thrasher which does good 

Tenn. Exper. Sta., Bui. 79. 


work. It resembles the ordinary grain separator in 
general makeup, but the distinctive differences are 
large, knife-edge cylinder teeth and notched sharp- 
edged concave teeth. He states that in tests which 
included 200 bushels and represented eight varieties, 
and with the vines in all degrees of toughness and 
stages of curing, a surprisingly high percentage of 
separation resulted. There are regular pea hullers 
on the market that do fine work. 

In a small way peas can be effectively thrashed 
on the barn floor with a flail or by stock being* 
turned in to tread the seed from the pods. In either 
event a layer of pea vines is distributed on the floor 
and contact of flail or stock with the pods causes 
them to split open and free the seed. One or two 
turnings of each layer is recommended. Later the 
floor can be cleaned up and the product run through 
a fanning mill. Old line farmers state that this 
method of thrashing will result in far less breaking 
of seed. 

Yields. Naturally the yield of peas varies much, 
running from five to 40 bushels to the acre. Zavitz 
and Lochhead 12 found that in setting peas at differ- 
ent dates between April 18 and May 23, the average 
yield for the former date was 21 bushels to the 
acre, and for the latter nine bushels. There was an 
average increased yield in 30 experiments of one 
and one-third bushels to the acre from seeding peas 
in hills rather than broadcasting. The same author- 
ity reports a trial of 47 varieties of peas sown in 
drills one link apart. Yields varied from 14^ bush- 
els to 33 bushels to the acre. Chancellor matured 

12 Ont. Agri. Col., Bui. 126. 


first and Oakshott Field last, there being a difference 
of 24 days in the ripening period of the two varie- 
ties. The best average yields for seven years ranged 
from 33 to 38 bushels per acre and were produced 
by White Wonder, Early Briton, Mummy, Brown 
and Blue. All, excepting Early Briton and Mummy, 
are New Zealand varieties. In another trial with 
New Canada Beauty and Common Globe Vine, 
yields varied from 23 to 38 bushels to the acre, and 
the average weight per bushel was 59.4 pounds for 
whole peas. Weevil peas varied in weight from 38 
to 52 pounds and usually the smaller the peas the 
greater amount of injury was done by weevils. The 
best yielding varieties for the whole province of 
Ontario averaged upwards of 25 bushels to the acre, 
and were Egyptian Mummy, Chancellor, Prussian 
Blue, Striped Briton, Canadian Beauty, and Canada 

Chapman 13 reports yields on light sandy soil rang- 
ing from 8 to 13 bushels to the acre in 1896. In 
1898, on bottom land, underlaid with clay, the yield 
was 15 to 28 bushels to the acre. 

Minn. Exper. Sta., Bui. 81, p. 181. 


Peas carry a large supply of protein, therefore 
should be combined carefully with carbohydrates 
and fats to form balanced rations. The protein in 
peas is not as completely digestible as the proteins 
of rice and cereal, although they supply just about 
the same amount of digestible nutrients as do 
beans. Moore 1 states that the average amount of 
digestible protein taken from an average crop of 
one acre peas equals 192 pounds, while corn would 
supply only 156 pounds protein from the same 
area, barley 102, and oats 72 pounds. 

Composition. Legumin forms the chief protein 
constituent in peas. It is closely associated with 
vicilin. Some investigators have supposed that 
legumin carried a little phosphorus, but Osborne 
and Campbell 2 were able to find only slight traces 
of phosphorus in some samples, while others 
showed no trace whatever. The same authorities 
gave a very comprehensive report of the action of 
legumin, its manner of precipitation, etc. They 
show that legumin carries 5.17 per cent carbon, 6.9 
per cent hydrogen, 18 per cent nitrogen, .42 per cent 
s.ulphur, 22.9 per cent oxygen. 

Vicilin is a globulin associated with legumin in 
the pea, the lentil, and the horse bean. The strik- 
ing characteristic of it is its content of sulphur, 

1 Wis. Exper. Sta., Bui. 178, for July, 1909. 

2 Ct. Exper. Sta. Rpt. for 1897. 


being less than any other known protein. Its com- 
position is reported by Osborne and Campbell 3 as 
follows : 32 per cent carbon, 7 per cent hydrogen, 17 
per cent nitrogen, .18 per cent sulphur and 23 per 
cent oxygen. Legumelin is also found in peas. The 
composition of peas varies slightly with the size of 
grain, with particular reference to nitrogen con- 

The accompanying table, secured from analyses 
made by G. W. Cavanaugh of Cornell experiment 
station, New York, affords specific data as to the 
composition of seed, straw, silage, peas and oats, 
and pea meal. 


Digestible nutrients % 

Dry |Carbo- Ether 

matter % Protein hydrates extract 

Pea seed 89.5 16.8 51.8 .7 

Pea-vine straw 86.4 4.3 32.3 .8 

Pea-vine silage 27.2 4.71 n.o .5 

Peas and oats (green) 16.0 1.8 7.1 .2 
Pea-hull meal (residue 

from split peas) 89.8 15.9 36.3 .9 

Pea Meal. According to Gamble 4 pea meal had 
an average composition of 10.34 per cent water, 
23.27 per cent protein, 1.9 per cent fat, 54.62 per 
cent nitrogen free extract, 7 per cent crude fiber, and 
2.83 per cent ash. The same authority gives the 
average composition of pea hulls as 7.51 per cent 
water, 10 per cent protein, 1.44 per cent fat, 36 per 
cent nitrogen free extract, 42 per cent crude fiber, 
and 2.92 per cent ash. 

3 Ct. Exper. Sta. Rpt. for 1897. 

*Ont. Agri. Col. Farm, Bui. 138, p. 32. 


Composition Compared with Other Feedstuffs. 

Moore 3 gives the following table showing the com- 
parative composition of peas with other common 
feedstuffs. The table indicates peas as being far 
the highest in protein content. This is of signifi- 
cance to the feeder, inasmuch as protein is the most 
expensive food element. Pea straw has a greater 
feeding value than barley or oat straw and compares 
favorably with clover and timothy hay. It is 
especially valuable as a feed for sheep. The table 
follows : 


Digestible nutrients in 100 pounds 



Protein Cz 


trbohydrate s 















Corn : 












Clover Hay 

. _ 6.8 

Timothv Hav _ 


Nutritive Value. Zuntz and Hagemann 6 report 
an interesting experiment to determine the nutritive 
value of a kilogram of different feeding stuffs. The 
comparison is given herewith : 

B Wis. Exper. Sta., Bui. 178. 
6 E. S. R., Vol. ii. 


2 9 


& Labor expended True 

in chewing nutritive 
n IB and digestion value 

p eeamg sum 



3 a 

*o . 


* fe 

"8 S3 



^ hD 



IT. V 










M4 O 








Field Peas 
















Medium hay (Average 









Alfalfa hay cut at be- 

ginning of bloom ... 
Oats (medium quality) 











Cooking and Digestibility. In general it is fig- 
ured that cooked vegetable foods are five-sixths to 
nine-tenths less tough or resistant than the raw 
foods. Lehmann and Gunkel 7 report a rather elab- 
orate experiment along this line with peas. The 
relative resistance to the cutting surface or tough- 
ness was 220 when cooked for 15 minutes, 39 when 
cooked for 60 minutes in distilled water, and 65 
when cooked for 60 minutes in spring water. Rich- 
ter 8 speaks of an experiment as to the digestibility 
by man of peas cooked in soft and in hard water. 
Peas cooked in distilled water were better borne 
and caused less digestive disturbance than others. 
When cooked in distilled water peas had the follow- 
ing coefficients and digestibility: Dry matter 92, 
protein 89, fat 87, and ash 81. When cooked in 
hard water the coefficients were: Dry matter 91, 
protein 33, fat 58, and ash 51. 

Further digestive experiments are reported by 

T E. s. R., Vol. 19. 

8 E. S. R., Vol. 15. 


Lindsey. 9 Some 40 experiments covering a period 
of three years are tabulated and given in the accom- 
panying table : 


g_03 p, -U 

Kind of feedstuff |1 *I 1 

^^ 5 2 te t? fi an 
fc^ QS PH h w fe <1 

Hay (largely Poa Pratensis) 6 62 61 50 63 65 46 

Do 4 60 68 53 61 60 50 

Average both samples 10 61 60 51 62 63 48 

Hay of mixed grasses (late cut) 2 53 54 39 54 56 26 

Do.... 2 57 55 44 57 59 42 

Barnyard millet hay (late blos- 
som) 3 57 64 46 52 62 63 

Barnyard millet (green in blos- 
som) 2 74 68 64 76 74 66 

Barnyard millet (green, week 

later than above) 1 67 72 61 65 71 61 

Peas and oats (green in blossom) 3 70 70 57 76 68 49 

Vetchandoats 3 67 75 47 68 68 49 

Corn silage (Pride of North) .... 2 74 45 77 82 80 26 

Hominymeal 1 89 53 94 94 

Feeding Value. Peas are fed successfully in 
various forms to practically all kinds of live stock. 
They are rich in muscle, bone and blood-making 
constituents. They are, therefore, particularly 
adapted to young growing animals or even animals 
at work. In the early stages of fattening of all farm 
animals before full maturity of animal is reached, 
there is no better grain ration than peas. Mix peas 
with ground oats, shorts, or wheat bran in propor- 
tion of one-third to one-half and you have an ideal 
ration for brood sows, milch cows, ewes in milk, 
lambs and horses. Peas need not be ground for 
sheep, poultry and hogs. Neither need they be 
thrashed, as these animals can do that for them- 

'Mass. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1898. 


Pea straw is valuable and relished by sheep, 
horses and cattle. When vines are cut while a little 
green and carefully cured without being drenched 
with rain they will be nearly as good as clover in 
feeding value. Pea silage is valuable, as well as the 
fresh product cut green and brought direct to the 
stock in the form of forage. In the latter event it is 
usually customary to sow peas with oats or barley. 
More will be found concerning this subject in the 
special chapter on Peas as Forage and Soiling Crop.- 

Peas for Cows. In foreign countries, notably 
Scotland, peas are regarded highly as a grain ration 
for cows. In America their use is limited. This 
refers to the grain crop, but when it comes to mix- 
tures of peas with other crops to be used in the 
green state for dairy cows, American farmers prize 
the combination highly. Hills 10 speaks of pea and 
oat hay not being relished by milch cows. How- 
ever, when eaten, the hay proved decidedly better, 
pound for pound than any other fodder used. 
Snyder 11 reports experiments with milch cows of the 
digestibility of a ration of pea silage and wheat bran. 
Peas were cut while green and placed in the silo 
and opened the following March. The silage was 
sweet and in good condition and was generally rel- 
ished by cows, especially when mixed with bran or 
corn. A ration consisting of 34 pounds pea silage 
and 12 pounds wheat bran gave satisfactory results. 

Day 12 gives a comparison of green oats and peas 
with oats and tares for milch cows. The seed was 
mixed in the proportion of two bushels oats to one 

30 Third Annual Rpt. of Vt. Exper. Sta., pp. 51-84. 

11 Minn. Exper. Sta., Bui. 26. 

12 Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt. for 1897, pp. 84-85. 


of peas, and two bushels oats to one bushel tares. 
Both fodders were eaten readily and neither could 
be said to excel the other as a milk producer. The 
oats and peas yielded at the rate of 14,760 pounds 
green fodder to the acre, and oats and tares yielded 
14,688 pounds to the acre. 

Neale 13 compared results of dairy value of pea 
vine silage with June pasture. The cows received 
a ration of 25 pounds pea vine silage and six pounds 
hay. In June the animals were turned to pasture 
and the grain ration remained the same. The 
change from silage to pasture indicated a possible 
gain of one-half pound butter per cow per week. 
The relative cost of silage and pasture showed 
about $2.91 per acre in favor of pasture. 

Peas for Steers. In either a whole or ground 
state peas are used extensively for feeding steers in 
Canada and parts of the United States. Canadian 
experiments 14 indicate that peas are slightly inferior 
to corn for fattening steers. In the experiment, 
corn, barley, and oats gave better results than did 
peas, barley, and oats. It is believed the results 
are more or less influenced by the individuality of 
the steers. 

Peas for Sheep and Lambs. Field peas form an 
admirable ration for growing lambs. They are 
relished by sheep and make the finest of mutton. 

Day 15 found that the cost of food per pound of 
gain was 6.63 cents when peas and oats were fed 
lambs, and only 5.79 cents when fed corn and oats. 
This was based on peas at 48 cents and corn at 

"Del Exper. Sta., Bui. 46, pp. 9-12. 

14 E. S. R., Vol. ii. 

"Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt. for 1898, pp. 81-82. 


38 cents a bushel, with hay at $6 a ton. The value 
of corn and peas includes cost of grinding. 

Ramm 16 conducted experiments to determine the 
effect of pea meal and sunflower seed cake on the 
quality of fat, flesh, and wool of sheep. Merino 
sheep made 10 per cent higher gains than English 
sheep. They also produced more wool than others. 
Gains made with pea meal were about 2.2 per cent 
better, and the results of slaughter tests were about 
6.54 per cent better than in the case of sunflower 
seed cake. Sheep fed pea meal showed more belly 
fat, the flesh containing more dry matter and more 
nitrogen. Morton 17 found that peas grazed off 
showed returns approximately equaling the returns 
from feeding alfalfa and corn, with the peas valued 
at $8 an acre, alfalfa at $5 a ton, and corn at $i per 
100 pounds. This although alfalfa and corn lambs 
gained about one-half more than pea lambs. Dur- 
ing shipment the lambs fed corn and alfalfa shrank 
4.2 per cent per head more than the pea-fed lambs. 

Peas for Swine. Mills 18 conducted an elaborate 
experiment using wheat, peas, corn, and barley in 
producing pork. Four lots of three pigs each were 
in the test, and in about five months the lot of pigs 
receiving peas and bran made the most rapid gain 
and the largest gain for the food consumed. The 
wheat mixture came second, followed by corn and 
barley. Wheat and bran proved the cheapest food. 
Another test with 12 Berkshire boars showed that 
hogs fed peas and bran made the largest gain as 
well as the best gain for the food consumed. How- 

18 E. S. R., Vol. 10. 

17 Wyo. Exper. Sta., Bui. 73, p. 18. 

18 Utah Exper. Sta., Bui. 34, pp. 8-10. 


ever, at ruling prices, the lot receiving wheat made 
the cheapest gain. Deducting the cost of bran and 
allowing 4 cents a pound live weight for pork, the 
following prices per bushel were realized through 
feeding: Wheat 89 cents, peas $1.02, corn 70 cents, 
barley 59 cents. 

Shaw and Zavitz 19 tried out three lots of pigs, 
feeding peas, barley, ground oats, and wheat 
middlings in various combinations. The test con- 
tinued for 91 days and the best gain was made on 
a ration of two parts peas and one part of ground 
barley, grain, oats, and wheat middlings. The next 
best gain was with a ration of equal parts peas 
and barley ground. The third lot was fed a mix- 
ture of equal parts peas and barley unground, and 
the least gain was made. Experiments demon- 
strated the advantage of feeding ground peas and 
barley to pigs rather than unground. The Wiscon- 
sin experiment station found that ground field peas 
are more valuable for pork production than corn 
meal. However, corn was so much lower in price 
than peas that the meal formed a cheaper feed. The 
thigh bones of pigs fed on peas were 26 per cent 
stronger than corn-fed pigs. As an exclusive grain 
ration pea meal is unsatisfactory. Peas contain 
large amounts of protein and will produce much 
lean meat in hogs. They should be ground or 
soaked and fed with corn meal or some lighter feed. 
Sown with oats or barley peas make an excellent 
forage crop or pasture for hogs. 

Peas for Horses and Chickens. Working horses 
thrive on peas. A ration of eight parts peas, eight 

19 Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt., 1891, pp. 106-133. 


parts corn, and one part flaxseed ground together, 
makes a fine ration for horses. Sometimes there is 
a tendency to constipation, but the flaxseed will tend 
to correct that. Peas, either cracked or whole, can 
be fed poultry with good results, either for egg or 
meat production. Be sure that this is used in com- 
bination with something else, as the chickens will 
do poorly if given the peas as a regular diet. 

Robertson 20 tested sugar beets and pea silage for 
fattening hogs. Two lots of eight pigs averaging 
60 pounds in weight received a mixture of ground 
peas, barley and rye, with sugar beets and pea 
silage respectively. To one-half of each lot the 
grain was fed steamed and the other half raw. Pea 
silage was made from peas harvested when the 
pods were full of peas still soft, the vines being 
green and succulent. The silage kept well, but pigs 
refused to eat much of it. The results showed no 
striking differences between the gains on pea silage 
and on sugar beet rations, or between the amounts 
of cooked and raw food consumed per pound of 

20 Canada Experimental Farm Rpt. for 1891, pp. 83-87. 


There are two classes of pests which the grower 
of -peas must be prepared to combat: insect and 
fungous. They are more troublesome some seasons 
than others, also in some sections more than others, 
and even some varieties of peas are more suscepti- 
ble than others. There are three leading insect 
pests of the pea, namely, the weevil, the moth, 
and the louse, or aphis. There are several fungous 
pests which may assert themselves under favorable 

Pea Weevil (Bruchus pisi), much resembles the 
bean weevil, and the life history is similar. The 
beetle is brownish gray color, with two conspicuous 

(From U. S. Dept. of Agri.) 

oval black dots at the end of the abdomen, which 
are not entirely concealed by the wing covers. The 



beetle is about one-fifth to one-half inch in length, 
with the head bent under the front of the body and 
ending in a square-cut beak. When peas blossom 
these miserable insects may be found upon them 
waiting for the young pod to develop. On the pod 
the eggs are deposited and the grubs as soon as 
hatched bore through and enter the small green 
peas, one beetle only infesting a single pea. The 
grub remains in the pea, feeding upon its substance, 
and passes into the pupal stage, gaining maturity 
when peas are ripe. Most of the beetles remain 
inside the peas until sown the following spring, 
although some emerge at harvest and remain in 
the field or in the barn all winter. Unlike bean 
weevils, the pea weevil does not increase and mul- 
tiply in stored peas, but will die if kept over another 

Fletcher 1 discusses the question whether pea 
weevil can be exterminated. He argues that since 
the weevil has no other food plant than the com- 
mon pea it could probably be exterminated by inter- 
rupting the cultivation of the crop for one or two 
years, or by thoroughly fumigating the seed peas. 
There are difficulties in the way of either plan, and 
the author recommends harvesting peas a little ear- 
lier in the fall and immediately thrashing and sack- 
ing them so as to prevent escape of beetles in the 
field. Then treat all the seed peas with bisulphide 
of carbon. Weevil-infested peas used as seed will 
give very unsatisfactory results. 

Zavitz 2 found that only about one-fourth of the 
seed infested with weevil grew. In treating the in- 

1 E. S. R., Vol. 14. 

2 Ont. Agri. Col. Rpt. of 1898, pp. 144-148. 


fested seed with carbon bisulphide, put in a tight 
barrel or bin, and pour on one ounce for every 100 
pounds. Then close the receptacle tightly and 
leave for 48 hours. Remains of the pea crop not 
taken from the field should be raked up and burned. 
Weevil-infested seed kept for two years in tight 
bags or boxes will kill the insects. Zavitz 3 reports 
that Grass peas proved resistant to the weevil in 
Ontario and gave a yield of 25 bushels grain to the 
acre and two tons straw. 

Pea Moth (Semasia Nigricana). This insect occa- 
sionally does considerable damage, although it is 
not nearly as common as the weevil. The matured 
moth is small, perhaps less than one-half inch in 
expanse of wings and has a dull gray color. The 
moth deposits its eggs on the growing pea pods. 
Caterpillars soon hatch out and eat their way into 
the pod, feeding upon the young peas, consuming 
many of them and filling the space with a mass of 
excrement. Finally, the worms leave the pods and 
form small oval cocoons below the surface of the 

The remedy is preventive. Pea vines may be 
sprayed as soon as blossoms are open with one 
pound soap and 25 gallons water in which has been 
dissolved one-fourth pound paris green. The spray- 
ing should be repeated once or twice at intervals 
of seven to ten days. The object of spraying is to 
kill the young caterpillars when they eat their way 
through the pod. Another precaution is to plow 
the ground deeply in the fall, so that the cocoons 
will be buried and thus prevent the moths coming 

8 E. S. R., Vol. 14. 


out in the spring. All unripe pods should be burned, 
as they may contain worms ; and peas should not be 
grown upon or near the same piece of ground the 
following season if the moth is known to be in the 
soil. Sowing early varieties as early as possible in 
the season has been found useful, as pods get ahead 
of the worms. Late sowing is recommended for the 
opposite reason that the peas will mature after the 
worm has disappeared. 

Pea Louse (Nectar Ophora Destructor). This 
pest is frequently called the pea aphis. It does 
great damage on the growing vines all through Nova 
Scotia, Canada, and the states. It is particularly 
destructive in some canning sections, where the an- 

(From U. S. Dept. of Agri.) 

nual loss runs into the millions of dollars. These 
lice attack the young pea vines and multiply with 
great rapidity, often killing the vines outright. They 
have been found upon sweet peas. On a small scale, 
spraying with a 25 per cent solution of kerosene 
and water has proved effective. Whale oil soap and 
tobacco dust are effective, but in a large way these 
remedies are too expensive. Large numbers are de- 


stroyed by their insect enemies, which include the 
lady beetle, laced wing flies, and syrphus flies. 
Johnson 4 reports experiments in planting peas in 
rows, so that the cultivator and a brush can be used 
to knock off the lice. By this method a man or boy 
goes ahead of the cultivator with a pine switch and 
brushes the vines vigorously, knocking off the lice, 
and the cultivator follows and buries them. This 
operation can be repeated every three days during 
the height of the outbreak of the pea louse. 

Miscellaneous Insects. Occasional references are 
found in literature to damage through other insects 
which sometimes attack peas. A myriapod belong- 
ing to the species Blaniulus guttulatus has been 
known to cause serious injury to peas as well as 
beans. The attack is largely upon the seed in the 
ground. A small mite (Notophallus Haematopus) 
is mentioned by Marchal 5 as causing considerable 
injury to peas in central France. A four-spotted 
pea weevil (Bruchus Gudri-maculatus) is described 
by Osborn and Malley. 6 Experiments were con- 
ducted in treating seed with carbon bisulphide and 
to note the possible effect upon the germination of 
the seed. The seed containing larvae, pupae and 
the newly formed adults were not all destroyed by 
the treatment. To be most effective they recom- 
mend two or three applications about three or four 
weeks apart. The germinating power of the seed 
was not affected in any perceptible degree by the 
fumes of the carbon. On the other hand Bolle 7 says 

4 E. S. R., Vol. 12. 

B E. S. R., Vol. 20. 

6 la. Exper. Sta., Bui. 32, p. 361. 

7 E. S. R., Vol. 1 6. 


the germination of peas and doubtless other legu- 
minous seed is lowered by 10 days' exposure to car- 
bon bisulphide fumes. Trybom 8 states that the pea 
was attacked by a number of species of the 
physopoda. He mentions particularly physopos 
robusta, which attacks the field as well as the garden 

Pea Blight or Leaf Spot (Ascochyta Pisi). This 
is the most prominent fungous disease to which peas 
are heir, which corresponds to the anthracnose of 
the bean. Discolored areas of dead tissue are noted 
on the pea stems. The attack is usually more pro- 
nounced near the ground. The leaves are also at- 
tacked and show round or oval discolored spots 
from one-fourth to one-half inch in diameter. On 
the pods the disease appears as sunken spots like 
those of bean anthracnose, only paler in color. 
The fungus works through the pod and on to the 
seed, thus infecting it. 

The treatment starts with planting seed free 
from the disease. This can be guaranteed by select- 
ing pods that are free from the trouble, or by getting 
seed from sections where the disease is not preva- 
lent. Spraying with bordeaux, beginning when 
plants are from four to ten inches high and repeat- 
ing at intervals of four to five days, will do much 
toward controlling the disease. In a large way this 
would not be practical. Sturgis 9 gives it as his 
opinion that fungous attack is not primarily above 
ground, but that it may be present in the seed. In 
addition to planting clean seed he urges that grow- 
ers avoid planting on land where peas have not been 

8 E. S. R., Vol. ii. 

Ct. Exper. Sta. Rpt. for 1899, p. 277. 


grown for a number of years. As soon as the crop 
is harvested all vines should be gathered and 

Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe Polygoni). This usu- 
ally appears late in the season, is of a superficial 
nature, and readily detected through its whitish or 
grayish coating. The mildew may appear on any 
part of the plant above ground. In the mature 
state the minute black fruiting bodies may be found 
scattered about the mildew surface. Halsted 10 
speaks of soil treatments with sulphur, corrosive 
sublimate, carbonate of lime, and copper sulphate 
for the prevention primarily of stem blight. On the 
second crop of peas mildew was quite abundant, 
but it did not materially injure the crop. Vines 
sprayed with bordeaux had less mildew than others, 
but stem blight was not materially lessened. The 
most satisfactory treatment for mildew is probably 
the use of bordeaux. 

Root Rot Fungus (Thiclavia Vasicola). Paddock 11 
declares the pea root disease is very destructive. 
His attention was first called to it in September, 
1900. During the following winter, soil from in- 
fected fields was secured and greenhouse experi- 
ments conducted. Plants in the soil were nearly 
always attacked by fungi on the roots and stems 
below ground. In his opinion the fungus belongs 
to genus Rhizoctonia. He recommends the use of 
corrosive sublimate treatment of seed as a remedy. 

Miscellaneous Pea Fungi. Van Hall 12 speaks of 
a disease of the pea due to attacks of fungus called 

10 N. J. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1896, p. 314. 

11 Col. Exper. Sta., Bui. 69, p. 23. 

12 E. S. R., Vol. 15. 


Fusarium basinfectum. It has been known in Hol- 
land for a number of years. Infected plants turn 
yellow and soon die. Investigation shows that the 
roots are the seat of the fungous attack. His investi- 
gation leads him to believe that the fungus is close- 
ly related to that which causes wilt of melons, cot- 
ton, cowpeas, etc. Masserson 13 gives an account of 
Sclerotium disease of peas and beans which is due to 
the fungus Chlerotinia libertana. The disease was 
especially destructive in certain regions of France 
in the spring of 1907. Its usual development is said 
to be due to intensive culture of peas, the crop being 
frequently grown successively on the same soil. 
Then, too, the favorable conditions of humidity and 
temperature are a consideration. Rotation of crops 
is recommended as a preventive. In addition the 
debris of all diseased plants should be collected and 

13 E. S. R., Vol. 19. 


Peas were among the first vegetables to be pre- 
served by canning, and the practice is as old as is 
the canning industry itself. The invention of the 
tin can gave the enterprise marked impetus, owing 
to the reduced cost of production. In America, the 
pea-canning industry had its birth in Baltimore, 
Md., in the early fifties. The pea-podding machine, 
as invented in France, in 1883, and duplicated in 
America in 1889, and further perfected during the 
next half dozen years, revolutionized the industry. 
By means of this machine one person could do the 
work of 100 or more people in removing the peas 
from the pods. After improvements of 1893, the 
device was known as the " vining machine." This 
machine does away with people going through the 
fields and picking the pods, as the viner hulls the 
green peas direct from the vines. 

As generally known, the northeastern and north 
central states grow most of the peas for canning 
purposes. Wisconsin and New York are the big 
leaders, these two states producing perhaps nearly 
half the entire pack of the country. However, In- 
diana, Michigan, Maryland and Illinois are liberal 
producers. The accompanying data 1 shows the 
pack for the United States in 1907: 

1 Canner and Dried Fruit Packer, December 26, 1907. 




Cases Cases 

California 9>45Q Minnesota 25,750 

Colorado, Idaho, Utah New Jersey 153,564 

and Oregon 193,018 New York 1,659,944 

Delaware 141,046 Ohio 101,521 

Illinois 216,508 Pennsylvania 80,373 

Indiana 826,500 Virginia 15,486 

Iowa 50,000 Wisconsin J ,773,599 

Kansas 11,589 Other States 3,132 

Maryland 568,393 

Michigan 595,o88 Total U. S 6,505,961 

The writer spent several days in the big canning 
districts of New York and Michigan the season 
previous to writing this chapter. Farmers were vis- 
ited and the various operations watched from the 
time of harvesting the peas on to storing the canned 
peas in the warehouses. It is a specialized indus- 
try, and one has to see the many devices and opera- 
tions in progress to appreciate its importance. 

Varieties Grown. In the sections visited Alaska 
was the favorite for the early June pea. The other 
standards were Telephone, Advancer and Admiral. 
Farmers were then receiving $2.25 per 100 pounds 
of green peas, and the later sorts ran from $1.75 to 
$2 per 100 pounds. There was a reduction of 75 
cents per 100 pounds for low grade goods. The 
canning establishments have men on the road ad- 
vising farmers about care and time of sending to 
the factory. 

Time of Harvesting. This varies according to 
the section, being about 20 days' duration in In- 
diana and Illinois, and fully six to eight weeks in 
Wisconsin and Michigan. The longer period of 
harvesting in the northern states comes through 



successive plantings. Bitting 2 gives many helpful 
pointers on the canned pea industry. The average 
dates of harvesting peas as reported by him for 
various sections are given herewith : 



State Date 

California May 20 to June 20 

Colorado June 15 to Aug. 15 

Delaware June i to June 30 

Illinois June 10 to July 14 

Indiana June 5 to July 10 

Maryland May 25 to July i 

Michigan June 15 to Aug. 10 

New Jersey June i to July 3 

New York June 15 to Aug. i 

Ohio June i to July 10 

Oregon June 10 to July 30 

Pennsylvania June i to July i 

Utah June 10 to July 15 

Virginia May 20 to June 10 

Wisconsin June 15 to Aug. 10 

Grading the Crop. This varies with the section 
and with the factory. In some cases the farmer re- 
ceives so much per bushel, which is not satisfac- 
tory, inasmuch as it provides no extra returns for 
the man who takes particular care and has the peas 
young and tender and in the best of condition. A 
better method is to take a sample from each load 
during the thrashing and run it through the grader. 
The grower receives pay according to the way they 
separate, the highest price being given for those 
which make the largest number of smaller sizes. 
There are other methods of grading the crop, such 
as letting some expert look at each load as brought 
to the factory. Another plan is to take a sample of 

2 U. S. Dept. of Agri., Bulletin 125. 


the peas, shell them, and place in a solution of salt. 
If peas are young and tender it is argued a large 
percentage will float in a weak brine. If of old and 
poor quality they will sink to the bottom. The 
density of the solution can be varied to suit the 
changing conditions of varieties, season, etc. 

Thrashing. The pea viners separate the green 
peas from the pods and vines in a very satisfactory 
way. A self-feeding machine has been perfected. 
The farmer draws his peas and vines to the factory on 
his hay wagon, like so much straw, only of course, 
small loads are taken owing to the greater weight 
of green pea vines and pods. At the factory are 
long sheds, the same as at sweet corn factories, and 
the farmer pitches the vines off into these sheds. 
In the shed is a long table carrying an endless 
chain. Factory employees throw small bunches of 
the pea vines as brought in by the farmer on to this 
endless chain and table, which carries the vines to 
the viner. This viner separates the peas, running 
them into a box and the vines are carried out into 
the farmer's wagon or into the silo. The old sys- 
tem of gathering the pods required fully 2,000 
pickers to keep a large factory in operation and added 
about two cents to the cost of each can of product. 
Farmers usually mow the vines in the morning, and 
cut down only such amounts as can be delivered the 
same day. In wet weather there is danger of vines 
heating, so large quantities are not thrown together. 
Growers exercise much care to have the crop mature 
evenly. Strive as he will, the farmer must expect 
a few peas to be over-ripe when the bulk of the 
crop is at its best. Factories are laying more and 


more stress on quality, and the grower must recog- 
nize this, along with the size of the product. 

Blanching the Peas. This is an important opera- 
tion with the canner. Young peas will stand either 
a long or short blanch better than old ones. The ob- 
ject of blanching is twofold, (i) To remove mu- 
cous substances from the outside and a part of the 
green coloring matter; and (2) to drive water into 
the peas so they will all be tender. A system of 
perforated cylinders in the blanching process re- 
moves most of the small, broken peas. From here 
the peas go into a large filling tank. Empty cans 
are run down a chute from the floor above and 
drop into place on a circle connected with the filling 
tank. Liquor is also added at this time, mechani- 
cally. The cans, filled, pass on to the soldering 
machines, thence to the cooking vats, or retorts, 
where they remain 40 minutes at a temperature of 
240 degrees. From here they go to the cooling vats 
and after that to the storage. As the cans are 
packed in boxes for storage, the ends are pressed 
in, this having the twofold effect of telling whether 
or not the can is full and also facilitating the label- 
ing later. Special labels are put on to suit the trade. 

Size of Cans. Within recent years quite a trade 
is developing in gallon cans. This makes the 
product cheaper and is sold to the hotel and board- 
ing house trade. When filling, peas are put in to 
within three-eighths inch of the cap and the liquid 
just covers the peas. The average fill of a can is 
such that there will be 14 ounces of peas and seven 
and one-fourth ounces liquor after the cans have 
gone through the cooking vat, or the processing, as 
it is called. The better the grade of pea, the greater 


the quantity which will go into the can, and these 
will be less affected by either blanching or process- 
ing, while the poorest grade of peas is affected the 
most. The consumer would do well to recall this 
fact when buying short-weight cans. The liquor 
used in canning peas varies with the ideals of the 
factory. It is composed of water, sugar and salt. 
Heavy liquors are used in the fancy and extra fancy 
grades. In fact, this usually constitutes the differ- 
ence between extra fine and fine. The analyses of 
35 brands of peas purchased in the open market 
showed the sugar content of the liquor to vary 
between .46 and 4.17 per cent, the average being 
2.62 per cent. More sugar is used in eastern than 
in western packing sections. The average amount 
of salt used appears to be around 10 pounds to 100 
gallons water. About the same amount of sugar is 
used as of salt. 

Processing or Cooking. The peas are cooked in 
great iron retorts, under pressure, or in a solution 
of calcium salt, in order to secure a temperature 
above that of boiling water. This is necessary 
because all germs are not killed at boiling tempera- 
ture, unless continued long enough to disintegrate 
the peas. Occasionally, packers process only 25 to 
30 minutes at a temperature of 240 degrees F, but 
the great majority process around 35 to 40 
minutes. This for peas which are allowed to stand 
overnight on the vines. Old, hard peas are proc- 
essed 40 to 45 minutes at a temperature of 245 
degrees. Packers are not agreed as to the best form 
of heat for processing. Some use dry steam, others 
use water, and still others use the calcium bath. Water 
advocates declare they secure a clearer liquid and 


a brighter can. Cans heated gradually by turning 
steam on slowly have a clearer liquid than when 
steam is turned on suddenly at full pressure. Very 
quick heating injures the peas in contact with the 
can, and also causes a blackening inside of the can. 
As the calcium system is maintained at a high heat 
the effect upon the peas is more like that of the 
quick dry steam. Sterilization is effective in either 
of the three processes. 

The experienced packer cools the cans immedi- 
ately after taking from the processing vats. If cans 
are only slightly cooled and stacked in large quan- 
tities, those in the center will retain heat for many 
days. This will tend to break down the peas, and 
injure their final appearance as they come onto the 
table. Cooling prevents this. Then, too, it aids in 
prompt detection of leaks. 

Peas Spoiling". All factories face the possibility 
of more or less loss through spoilage. This may 
be due to insufficient processing, to leaks in the can, 
or possibly spoilage prior to the canning. Hard- 
ing and Nicholson 3 report studies of bacteria caus- 
ing serious losses in canned peas. In general, the 
spoiled cans presented a bulged appearance, and in 
some cases were actually broken open. The peas 
had a disagreeable odor, suggesting hydrogen sul- 
phide. They were mushy, skins were inflated, and 
liquor was darkened and of a greenish tinge, due to 
the particles of the ruptured peas. A microscopical 
examination of the juice showed that the cans in 
which the disagreeable odor was noticed carried 
bacteria, which survived the heat employed in proc- 

8 N. Y. Exper. Sta., Bui. 249, pp. 153-168. 


essing. This bacteria was found to be the cause 
of the fermentation. These spores were destroyed 
on heating the canned peas to 240 degrees for 30 
minutes. This was done without injury to the com- 
mercial quality of the goods. 

Manufacturers of cans allow two per 1,000 for 
defects in workmanship. This appears to be ample. 
Tip and cap leaks are much more common than end 
or side leaks, and, of course, are due to incompetent 
workers and lax inspection. Spoilage due to leaks 
usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours. Peas spoiled, 
owing to insufficient processing, are known to the 
trade as " swells " or " sours." Occasionally, peas 
spoil while standing in piles, on the wagons, in 
piles at factory, or perhaps after thrashing. If so, 
the heat and fermentation are noted. Thus it is 
important to see that the peas move from the 
grower's field on through the viner, the grader, the 
blanching and processer, and into the cans, with the 
greatest possible dispatch. 

Pea Silage. In the early days, pea vines were a 
waste product in many factories. In fact, some 
managers actually paid to have them hauled away. 
Many farmers now take the pea vines home with 
them and feed direct to the stock, or place them in 
their silos. Factory managers frequently provide 
a series of large silos at the factory and in case 
farmers have no facilities for storing the silage, the 
factory silo is used and later the farmer buys this 
silage at $2, or thereabouts, a ton. Crosby 4 has re- 
cently compiled a very helpful bulletin on the util- 
ization of pea-cannery refuse for forage. He de- 

* U. S. Dept. of Agri., Circular No. 45. 


clares the refuse vines from pea canneries are 
valuable as silage, as hay, as a soiling crop, and as 
a fertilizer. They can be ensiled either in a silo or 
in a stack. " The silage compares favorably with 
corn silage, and by many is regarded as superior, 
especially for dairy cows. It is also valuable for 
beef cattle and for sheep, and is sometimes fed to 
horses, mules and hogs. It has been used success- 
fully as an exclusive roughage for dairy and beef 
cattle, sheep and horses. Pea-vine hay is a valuable 
feed for all classes of stock. It is of exceptional 
value for milch cows and sheep. It is generally 
considered equal or even superior to clover hay. 
The vines are valuable as a soiling crop, but their 
use as such is limited to the immediate vicinity of 
the cannery or viner. As a manure, pea vines have 
an actual fertilizing value around $2.60 a ton." 


In its broadest sense, forage means any food 
suitable for live stock, whether it be pasture, grass, 
crops cut green and fed, matured crops with or 
without seeds, etc. As generally applied, how- 
ever, the term means a pasture crop other than 
grasses. A soiling crop is one which is cut green 
and fed directly to the animals in the green state. 
Forage crops is a term for that practice of feeding 
to stock in its matured form, being fed either before 
or after the removal of the seeds. Forage, soiling, 
and fodder crops include a large number of the same 
plants. However, this chapter is to deal with only 
peas in the different combinations in common use 
among farmers. It Avill include a brief discussion of 
cowpeas, the king of forage plants, in the South. 

Culture. Whether for soiling or forage pur- 
poses, the preparation of the land, cultivation, seed 
considerations, etc., do not differ radically from 
those already set forth in preceding chapters. For 
green pasture, peas are usually sown with some 
grain like oats. For instance, peas and oats are 
sown at the rate of one and one-half to two bushels 
each to the acre. Small varieties of peas are pre- 
ferred, as they produce more forage. Seed can be 
mixed and sown with the drill, or the peas can be 
sown broadcast, and the land plowed three or four 
inches deep and then the oats broadcasted or drilled 
in. Peas are sometimes sown alone as food for 



swine. About two bushels seed to the acre should 
be used. When peas and oats are pastured by 
sheep they may be turned in to graze them down 
when six to ten inches high. Do not allow sheep to 
pasture on them when the vines are wet. This 
mixture constitutes an excellent pasture for both 
sheep and lambs. The peas may be pastured by 
swine, either before or after maturity. When 
pasturing before peas are ripe, it is customary to 
begin when seeds are about ready to cook. Swine 
should not be turned into a field of peas, green or 
ripe, and left there for a long period at the start. 
The green peas may derange the digestive organs, 
and ripe peas are apt to swell in the stomach and 
cause death through undue distention. Later, 
when swine are accustomed to the feed, they may 
forage upon the crop at will. When pasturing swine 
on ripe peas, allow them an area only large enough 
to accommodate them for a short period. If allowed 
to roam about the entire field there is apt to be 
much loss, especially if there be rainy weather. 

Fertilizers. As explained in earlier chapters, 
peas belong to the legume family, and gather much 
nitrogen from the atmosphere. Therefore, whether 
grown alone or with other crops for forage or soil- 
ing purposes, the land is benefited. Peas are an 
excellent crop to sow for green manure. If sown as 
late as July 15, in northern latitudes, a large amount 
of green manure will be secured before frost comes. 
This crop of vines turned under contributes mate- 
rially to soil improvement. Shutt 1 reports the value 
of peas as a substitute for clover for soil improve- 

1 Can. Exper. Sta. Rpt of 1906, pp. 155-158. 


(Over three feet tall.) 


ment. He found that crops of peas can be grown, 
supplying 130 pounds nitrogen per acre, which is 
almost identical with that produced by alfalfa, 
vetches, and many of the clovers. The organic mat- 
ter produced is equal in quantity to that given by 
a good clover crop, although somewhat less than 
produced by alfalfa. In addition to nitrogen the pea 
crop shows large percentages of phosphoric acid and 
potash, particularly the latter. 

Balentine 2 conducted a series of contests to deter- 
mine comparative value of peas and barley as a 
fertilizer and for feeding. He concluded that peas 
for stock purposes are to be preferred to barley. A 
Black-Eyed Marrowfat pea yielded double the 
amount of the Canada field pea. Zavitz and Loch- 
head 3 seeded peas with oats as a pasture crop for 
cattle. The results were not entirely satisfactory, as 
the oats were eaten much more readily than the 
peas. The mixture is more suitable for sheep or 
swine. Wheat grown after a crop of peas averaged 
36 bushels to the acre, after a crop of rape 30 bush- 
els, and after a crop of buckwheat 29 bushels. 

Schneidewind 4 secured good results with peas as 
a green manure. He states that the success of 
green manures depends more largely upon the rain- 
fall during the period of growth than upon the 
character of the soil. In Canada, where field peas 
were used as a green manure for preparation of 
land for winter wheat, an average of six and one- 
half bushels more wheat to the acre was secured 
than where buckwheat was plowed under. A for- 

2 Me. Exper. Sta. Farm, Bui. 1890. 

3 Ont. Agri. Col. Farm, Bui. 126. 
*E. S. R., Vol. 19. 


eign experiment with lupines, crimson clover, and 
peas as a green manure for oats and barley, showed 
that peas were most effective. Sweetser 5 gives the 
following data as to yields of forage plants per 


I 2 ll 

n-( t-i 8 o w C 

25 -C HI tJOf-i 

^5 H C o O C O 

* i I ! ^ ^^ 

Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. Ibs. 

Flat pea .. . 41,412 9,073 906 8,167 239.3 49.8 161.3 1222 1,495.7 

Canada field pea. 21,582 4,218 615 3,603 114.6 30.3 54.0 73.1 716.3 
Medium red 

Clover... . 29,760 7,438 626 6,812 143.7 39.6 156.6 98.3 898.2 

Timothy 21,750 6,281 555 5,726 47.0 27.5 78.0 35.5 

Feed for Live Stock. Whether as forage, soiling, 
or a fodder crop, peas constitute an exceedingly im- 
portant crop in live stock husbandry. They are 
becoming more popular every year, and justly so. 
While building up soil fertility they are also pro- 
viding the best kind of feed for the stock, and in the 
right sort of combinations are the most economical 

Peas and oats are the most popular combination, 
although wheat, barley, and occasionally rye, and 
even corn, have been used in combination. Oats 
and peas mature about the same time, while barley 
is a little ahead of the peas, and wheat is a little 
behind. Oats and peas can be planted in succession 
of about two weeks, and by planting as soon as 

B Pa. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1897-98. 


ground can be worked in the spring, there will be 
a soiling crop for the stock early in the season. 
Succession crops on other plots can be made to 
carry the stock on through most of the season. If a 
more general use were made of oats and peas for 
the summer feeding, there would be a decrease in 
the expense of producing milk. For late feeding 
barley and oats instead of oats and peas may prove 
a better combination. A guide will be to sow bar- 
ley with the peas after July i, instead of oats. 

Wilson 6 gives an interesting report of a trial of 
feeding four cows with green oat and pea fodder. 
The breeds were Shorthorn, Holstein, Red Polled, 
and Jerseys. Previous to the experiment they had 
been grazing on a good blue grass pasture, and had 
received four pounds cornmeal daily in addition. 
The soiling commenced July 21, feeding green oat 
and pea fodder. From no to 125 pounds were fed 
per cow daily, together with four pounds cornmeal. 
Taking the cows from an abundant pasture at this 
season, keeping them confined in a barn, and feeding 
them all they would eat of peas and oats resulted 
in an increased flow of milk from all. Shaw 7 de- 
scribes how peas are grown in the San Luis Valley, 
Col., at an altitude of 7,000 feet, and used for fatten- 
ing sheep and lambs. They are allowed to pasture 
the crop. In his opinion this system of grazing 
is capable of being extended in the mountain states. 
Lindsey 8 found that cured hay from peas and oats 
is nearly or quite equal to good rowen. 

Cowpea. Here is a justly popular plant. The 

8 la. Exper. Sta., Bui. 23. 

7 U. S. Dept. of Agri., Bui. 224. 

8 Mass. Exper. Sta. Rpt. for 1893. 


Louisiana experiment station has summarized the 
advantages of the cowpea as follows : 

1. It is a nitrogen gatherer. 

2. It shades the soil in summer, keeping it in a 
condition most suitable to the most rapid nitrifica- 
tion, leaving the soil friable and loose for the suc- 
ceeding crop. 

3. The cowpea has a large root development, 
and hence pumps up large amounts of water from 
great depths, also mineral matter. 

4. Its adaptability to all kinds of soil, stiffest 
clays to most porous sands, is marvelous. 

5. It stands the heat and sunshine of southern 

6. Its rapid growth enables farmers in the South 
to grow two crops annually on the same soil. 

7. When sown thickly it shades the soil effec- 
tually, smothering out all weeds. 

8. It is the best preparatory crop known to the 
southern farmer, as every kind of crop grows well 
after it. 

9. It furnishes excellent food in large quantities 
for both man and animals. 

Cultural principles of the cowpea vary with the 
latitude and object for which grown. If vines are 
wanted in the South, the crop is planted early; later 
planting is the rule if the crop is for seed. Amount 
of seed to sow depends in a large measure on size 
of peas and manner of sowing. If broadcasted, one 
bushel of the smaller to two bushels of the larger 
varieties will be required. If drilled, six to 16 quarts 
to the acre is sufficient. The best soil is one which 
is warm and comparatively moist. Seed will rot 
if planted too early, and this is why many northern 


farmers have failed. Wait until the ground is thor- 
oughly warm before starting cowpeas. If sown in 
drills, rows are made 18 to 30 inches, and seed is 
covered two inches deep. The Mississippi experi- 
ment station reports that the increased yield of 
both seed and hay obtained by drilling the seed is 
more than sufficient to pay the additional expense 
of drilling and cultivation. If the crop is sown 
broadcast and harrowed in, no cultivation is neces- 

As with field peas it is necessary to apply a 
nitrogenous fertilizer. Potash and phosphoric acid 
will give good results. The Delaware experiment 
station used 160 pounds muriate potash to the acre, 
and it doubled the yield of vines. Best yields in 
Georgia were obtained when phosphate was used at 
the rate of 200 to 400 pounds per acre. A dressing 
of 100 to 200 pounds acid phosphate, with about 
the same amount of muriate of potash, applied to 
each acre should give satisfactory results on average 

Harvesting cowpeas is not a simple operation, 
especially if damp weather prevails. If cured for 
hay, vines are cut when pods begin to ripen. They 
are cut with a mowing machine in the morning after 
the dew is off, and when the vines have wilted the 
hay tedder is run over the field. A second tedding 
may be given to hasten curing. Ordinarily, peas 
cut in the morning and tedded in the afternoon will 
be ready to go into the small bunches the following 
afternoon. They are left in these bunches, or cocks, 
for two or three days before being hauled into the 
barn. If it rains in the meantime, these bunches 
have to be opened up. Such are the methods in 


vogue at the Mississippi experiment station. The 
North Carolina experiment station advocates 
putting them into the barn when dried out enough 
so that no juice will run out of the vines when they 
are twisted with the hands. This station advises 
leaving the vines on the ground where mowed un- 
til they are half cured. It is argued that the crop is 
liable to mold if put in bunches. 

Cowpea seed can be harvested for grain by pick- 
ing off the pods when ripe and thrashing with a 
flail or machine. Farmers and experiment stations 
agree that the most economical way of using cow- 
peas is to feed the vines and peas to stock, and 
return the manure to the soil. Stock is frequently 
turned into the field and allowed to do the harvest- 
ing. Swine are especially proficient in this con- 
nection. Then again, the crop is frequently plowed 
under as a green manure. This practice is 
especially commendable on heavy soils. Various 
analyses show that a good crop of cowpeas plowed 
under will add to the soil fully no pounds nitro- 
gen to the acre, which has a cash value of $14 to 
$16. It has also added about 24 pounds phosphoric 
acid and 100 pounds potash to the acre. The 
Georgia station found that mowing the vines, per- 
mitting them to lie on the surface, and plowing 
under in November, was better than turning the 
green vines under in August. 

There are 65 or more varieties of cowpeas, and 
certain varieties are best adapted to specific locali- 
ties. Good advice from a local seedsman and actual 
experience of the grower, are desirable in determin- 
ing the best variety for each section. King is a 
good variety to plant in corn. Pea is of medium 


size, bluish-black in color, and if not pastured too 
close it will reseed the ground every year. The 
Red Ripper is a medium-size pea of dark red color, 
and possesses good quality, like the King. Both of 
these varieties make a large yield of hay or feed, 
as they are heavy, even producers. They are more 
rank than the Iron, Crowder, New Era, Whippoor- 
will, or Black Eye. The Speckled Java is the largest 
of the cowpea family, but must be harvested as 
soon as ripe, as the seed will shell easily. The 
Brown Crowder is said to be a good general purpose 
pea. The earliest cowpea, and hence the one best 
adapted to northern latitudes, is the New Era. It 
matures in a little more than 60 days from time of 
planting. The Georgia experiment station says the 
heaviest yielder of vines is Red Ripper, followed 
closely by Forage or Shiny Black, and Unknown ; 
the heaviest producers of peas are Unknown, Cal- 
ico, Clay, and White Brown Hull. Cowpeas are 
attacked by the weevils, the same as are field peas. 
Treatment is similar. 

Cover Crop for Orchards. Peas alone, and in 
combination with oats and barley, have been used 
advantageously as a cover crop in orchards. Peas 
and oats can be sown early in the spring and plowed 
under when the oats are in bloom. The land can be 
thoroughly harrowed, and August I peas and barley 
sown. The latter crop is left to stand through the win- 
ter, and plowed under the succeeding spring. Beach 
and Close 9 speak of Canada peas and buckwheat, 
and blue peas and buckwheat, as cover crops. Both 
combinations gave satisfactory results. The growth 

9 N. Y. Exper. Sta. Rpt, 1896. 


of Canada peas and buckwheat was so great as to 
interfere with gathering the winter apples. Cow- 
peas can be included in the category of cover crops, 
the same as field peas. In using these and other 
combinations, practically the same good results are 
secured as with clover or vetch used as a cover crop. 


Thousands of acres of peas are grown annually 
for the sole purpose of seed. Large seed houses 
arrange with farmers to grow a certain acreage at 
a stated contract price per bushel. The seedsman 
furnishes the seed and receives the entire output of 
the individual farmer. The returns to the farmer 
are usually a little better than from general culture, 
although the soil requirements and cultural methods 
are not materially different than for the general 
crop. Therefore, the ample supply ordinarily keeps 
prices at a comparatively moderate level. Yet the 
harvesting must be done on time and with care, and 
the farmer must see to it that varieties are not mixed, 
since the seed houses are held responsible for the 
product. The seed is delivered in good, bright con- 
dition without being badly broken or full of for- 
eign matter. 

Seed Growing Specialty. Wisconsin ranks high 
as a pea-growing state, as does also Michigan, New 
York, and South Dakota. In the Lake Shore coun- 
ties of Wisconsin farmers regard the pea crop of the 
utmost importance, and it is a specialty with them. 
The ground is usually plowed in the fall so as to be 
ready for early spring planting. The ground is 
fitted as early as possible in the spring, and two to 
three bushels seed to the acre sown, depending 
upon size. A drill or seeder is used for the pur- 
pose, and peas are covered about three to four 


inches deep. Harvesting- is done when the larger 
portion of vines and pods have turned yellow. A 
mower with bunching attachment is the approved 
harvester, although science has now provided a 
special pea-harvesting machine which does excellent 
work. Peas are thrashed in an ordinary grain sepa- 
rator, blank concaves being substituted for the 
regulation ones. It is not uncommon for a machine 
to thrash out 1,000 bushels daily. Peas may be 
stored in granaries or taken to the market. Many 
farmers find it to their advantage to grow on their 
own hook without any contract with seed dealers. 
The Scotch green pea is a leader in this section of 

In 1909 Lake county, S. D., alone had an acreage 
around 3,000 acres garden peas which were raised 
for seed purposes. The preceding season an eastern 
seed company went into the county and interested 
the farmers in the crop. The company furnished 
the seed and contracted with farmers to pay them 
$i a bushel at the station for the crop. An over- 
seer was furnished by the company and he gave 
advice as to cultural methods, manner of harvesting, 
marketing, etc. The yield was irregular, running 
from five to 20 bushels to the acre. Farmers con- 
sidered the results disappointing, and many took up 
other lines. One of the special drawbacks reported 
was the great number of weeds that infested the 
fields. On land that was fairly well prepared before 
seeding, peas grew nicely until they had reached 
full height. Then the weeds began to catch up with 
them, and soon had outgrown them. When harvest 
arrived, one could hardly tell without close exam- 
ination, whether it was a crop of peas or weeds in 


the field. Another difficulty experienced was in 
harvesting. Vines were cut with a mowing ma- 
chine, and raked into windrows with a horse rake. 
Unseasonable weather dampened the pods, which 
later dried. The drying process cracked open the 
pods and the peas fell in every direction. These 
points are mentioned as factors to be avoided. One 
Dakota farmer writes that the farmers could have 
saved nearly all the crop if they had forked over 
the piles immediately after the rain. The state ex- 
periment station has secured yields of 15 to 25 
bushels to the acre, and it is evident the state is well 
adapted to the industry. 

Possibilities in Breeding. Beyond question the 
future has much in store for those who will care- 
fully select and breed peas along well-defined lines. 
M. B. Keeney, one of the largest seed growers in 
New York, says : " There are great possibilities open 
to the careful student of peas, in selecting and re- 
selecting, with reference to purity and productive- 
ness. However, if selections are made on account 
of productiveness only, there is great danger of 
drifting away from the true type of the variety, and 
while increased productiveness may be obtained, 
there may at the same time be a loss in quality, of 
earliness, or both. A man who does hybridizing in 
peas should not expect to get more than one new 
variety out of 200 crosses. If he saves all that 
seem to be fairly good, he will soon have a great 
accumulation of types and strains of doubtful value. 
Then again, a cross or a selection may seem to be 
particularly interesting during the first two or three 
years, but later it may develop other qualities which 
make it undesirable. It generally takes five to ten 


years to fix the type of a new variety, for during 
the first half dozen years a new sort is apt to be 
unsteady and uncertain as to its character." 

Some comprehensive and interesting experiments 
in breeding of peas were undertaken at the Massa- 
chusetts experiment station by Pomeroy in 1907. 
The work has been continued ever since, and is 
now in charge of Professor Shaw, who in July, 1909, 
wrote as follows : " We are aiming at some definite 
data regarding heredity, variation and correlation. 
The characters studied are vine length, number of 
pods per vine, pod length, number of peas per pod, 
and the total number of peas per vine. We aim 
to keep an exact record of the descent of each plant, 
and examine into the correlation of these factors in 
each generation, and in what degree they are trans- 
mitted to succeeding generations. The amount of 
variation of each factor in each generation is also 
carefully considered. The methods used are some- 
what technical, being worked out by Galton and 
Pearson in England. Results so far are not very 
conclusive. The work was started as a sort of side 
issue, and last year developed great interest. One 
or two distinctive strains have appeared, probably 
because of mixed seed at the start. The descend- 
ants of different plants show marked differences, 
and are remarkably uniform among themselves. 
Probably the fact that peas are very generally self- 
fertilized accounts for this fact. The puzzling thing 
that appeared last year was the occurrence of one 
or two negative heredity coefficients, but this de- 
mands further investigation before much depend- 
ence can be placed in it." 


Gregory 1 studied the historical nature of differ- 
ences between round and wrinkled peas, basing 
work on Mendel's experiments. He found that 
round peas, which included indented sugar peas, 
have the central tissues of the cotyledons filled 
with very large starch grains. In the same region 
the starch grains of wrinkled peas are of a decidedly 
different type, frequently being compound. 

Interesting facts relative to weight and specific 
gravity of pea seed is given by Andree. 2 He 
learned the lightest peas are always found near both 
ends of the pod. The average weight of a pea in a 
pod was greater the larger the number of peas in 
the pod, so that the largest pods contain the heav- 
iest peas. The weight of peas next the point of 
pod increased with the increased number of peas 
in the pod. However, with exception of the first 
and last peas, there was but a very small difference 
in the weight of the peas in the same pod. Experi- 
ments as to specific gravity were, in general, com- 
parable with those found for weights. In general 
practice, however, he believes it is not necessary to 
pay much attention to specific gravity in selecting 

X E. s. R., Vol. 16. 

2 E. S. R., Vol. 5. 


The general principles underlying the success of 
growing garden peas do not differ materially from 
those already outlined for the field sorts. It is 
possible, however, to do a few things on a small 
scale which would not be practical in a large way. 
For the early sorts sow as early as possible, perhaps 
preparing the ground the preceding fall. This crop 
will stand a low temperature in the spring without 
ill effect. If the smooth and early seed is sown 
there is little danger of its rotting, although this 
will not hold for the wrinkled sorts. Peas will give 
quicker returns if covered only one inch deep with 
soil. Larger pods and more of them will be pro- 
duced if the seed be planted in trenches three to 
six inches deep, covering seed only shallow at first, 
and then gradually bringing the soil to the vine as 
the culture proceeds. This favors deep rooting, 
tends to prevent mildew, and prolongs the bearing 

In garden culture it is customary to provide suc- 
cession either by sowing at different periods or by 
using varieties which differ in time required to pro- 
duce a crop. Plant breeders have done much for 
the housewife in finding suitable varieties to cover 
varying conditions. Refer to special chapters for 
details concerning soils, fertilizers, breeding, etc. 
Peas are frequently grown in the double-crop sys- 
tem, as peas followed by tomatoes, corn, cabbage, 




etc. It has been recommended by some to sow corn 
and peas together, with the idea of the corn pro- 
viding a support for the peas and a corn crop to 
come on later. The author has tried this without 
success. Corn grows much slower than peas, and 
the support part of the argument is nil. 


Germination. William Saunders 1 reports an ex- 
periment designed to show the vitality of different 
seeds. The percentage of germination of peas with 
seed five years old on different tests was 94, 95, 88, 

1 E. S. R., Vol. 14. 


64, and 64. His results showed that the seeds 
germinated as well the second year as the first and 
that a slight decrease in germination occurred dur- 
ing the third year. In the fourth year the decrease 
was much more marked. 

The temperature at which pea seed germinates 
varies somewhat with the type and variety. For 
instance, smooth peas germinate at a temperature 
of 80 degrees F, while wrinkled sorts run be- 
tween 68 and 72. On the smooth sorts vitality is 
almost destroyed at 90 degrees. 

Supports. The more productive and tall-growing 
varieties are given some sort of support in the 
garden. Various methods are resorted to, including 
wires strung on posts, poultry netting and brush. 
As to the advantage of supports Jordan 2 speaks of 
plants trained to woven wire trellis and untrained 
plants. He concluded that generally the untrained 
gave a larger percentage of the total yields in first 
pickings than those trained, but in total yield and 
weight per plant the trained sorts, with two excep- 
tions, gave much better results than those untrained. 
Macoum and Balir 3 report it is a decided advantage 
to provide a support for even half tall varieties of 
peas, and to plant two rows six inches apart and 
allowing two feet space to the next row. This was 
recommended as preferable to a single row two and 
one-half feet apart, since nearly double the crop is 
secured. There is more difficulty in hoeing the 
double rows. Pods from the staked peas were much 
superior to the unstaked ones. 

Probably the most common method of support is 

2 N. J. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1898. 
8 E. S. R., Vol. 17. 


the familiar brush system. The grower simply 
takes some small branches of trees or growing 
sprouts, like young birch, and sticks them into the 
ground along the row for the vines to climb. This 



should be done before the peas are six inches tall, 
as they will find difficulty in climbing if once be- 
coming incumbent on the ground. When brush are 
used, many plant two rows, either six inches apart 
or perhaps 12 inches, and if in a section where winds 
are high, brush are leaned together to support each 

Winter Forcing. Bailey 4 reports investigations 
in growing peas in forcing houses to determine 
value as a commercial crop under glass. Experi- 
ments showed that the tall or half dwarfed varieties 
force readily in a cool house, yielding edible peas 
in ii or 12 weeks from the time of sowing. The 
very dwarf varieties were found to yield too little to 
pay for their growing. Extra Early Market and 
Rural New Yorker gave satisfactory results. 

Varieties. The number of varieties covering dif- 
ferent types, seasons, etc., is legion. A single work 
mentions over 240. Anticipating this particular 
chapter, I secured all the different varieties offered 
for sale by the following reputable seed concerns : 
Peter Henderson & Co., Northrup, King & Co., D. 
M. Ferry & Co., and W. A. Burpee. Through their 
co-operation I was able to test out more than 100 
varieties the same season, under similar conditions. 
The results were satisfactory, and in the main I find 
varieties as represented. Any one of these firms, 
or other reputable ones, provide a formidable list of 
varieties for different conditions, which will be 
more than an average gardener will want. There- 
fore, the reader who finds it hard to decide upon 
varieties cannot do better than secure the latest cat- 

4 N. Y. Exper. Sta., Cornell, Bui. 96. 


alogue of some of these concerns. Varieties change 
more or less in the course of years. My conclusion, 
after trying all those varieties, was that Alaska is 
about the earliest pea, and other good ones follow- 
ing along later in the season were Thomas Laxton, 
Gradus, Champion, Telephone, Teddy Roosevelt, 
and Prosperity. I was especially pleased with the 
two last named. 

Jordan 5 gives a comparative test made with 81 
varieties of peas with reference to earliness of start- 
ing, earliness of maturity, length of season, per- 
centage of shelled peas, total weight, number 
of peas per pod, height of vine, and yield. Smooth 
sorts were reported inferior to the wrinkled varie- 
ties in all respects except earliness. He believes 
that all the numerous varieties of dwarf or smooth 
peas are developed from the old Philadelphia Extra 
Early and Dan O'Rourke, from which they differ 
but little. 

" Varieties differ much in the yield of shelled 
peas obtained from a given quantity of pod, the 
extreme variation of 12 per cent being found. 
Among the early dwarf wrinkled varieties Exonian 
and Station were earliest. Among the late half 
dwarf and tall, smooth varieties, Pride of America 
gave nearly twice as large a yield as any other. New 
Giant Pod Marrow was one of the earliest and most 
productive of the Marrowfats. Melting Sugar is 
recommended." This pea is an edible-podded sort, 
the pods being picked and eaten, much like string 
beans. Among the medium and late dwarf and tall 
wrinkled varieties, the following are mentioned 

5 N. J. Exper. Sta. Rpt., 1898. 


favorably by Dr. Jordan : Advancer, Admiral, Bliss, 
Abundance, Bliss Everbearing, Yorkshire Hero, 
Stratagem, Stratagem Improved, Queen, and 
Heroine. Besides a good yield, the last named gave 
the largest percentage edible of any variety raised. 
Bulletin 5 for January, 1889, at the Nebraska 
experiment station, gives a tabular record of one 


season's test of 22 varieties of peas. The best early 
peas were Cleveland's Alaska, Maud S, and Rural 
New Yorker. The best continuous bearer was the 
Dwarf Sugar. Vick's King of the Dwarfs was the 
best dwarf pea tried. Carter's Premium Gem, 
American Wonder, Telegraph, Quality, and Pride 
of the Market, were good bearers. Brown 6 recom- 

6 E. S. R., Vol. 14. 


mends Surprise and Gradus for an early, and Cham- 
pion of England for a later pea. 

As one goes into the literature of varieties, and 
notes the different sorts recommended at the experi- 
ment stations and agricultural colleges, he is sur- 
prised to note the multitude of names which are un- 
familiar. Very few of the popular sorts, 15 or 20 
years ago, are recognized as standards now. 

The classification of varieties is found in an ear- 
lier chapter, to which the prospective gardener is 
referred. Let the novice remember, one classifica- 
tion would divide green peas into two great classes, 
smooth and wrinkled. The former is the early type, 
and can be planted much earlier in the season, but 
the peas are not nearly as sweet. The wrinkled 
sorts are the standard, and strains are being de- 
veloped which come on so rapidly that they are 
nearly as early as the smooth sorts. A number of 
new classes in the extra early, early, mid-season, 
and late peas, have been added recently. The 
Alaska or Extra Early type has been added to by 
the Ameer and Claudit. The latter is really a large- 
podded Alaska. The Ameer is almost as early as 
the Alaska, and possesses much longer pods. It is 
blue-seeded, grows about three feet tall, and the 
pods are nearly as large as Telephone. 

The next class of dwarf wrinkled earlies takes in 
American Wonder, Nott's Excelsior, etc. The 
alleged improvement in this group is Laxtonian, 
which is really a dwarf Gradus. Another class is 
the taller, early wrinkled varieties represented by 
the Thomas Laxton, Gradus, etc. These are two 
very popular varieties, and an alleged improvement 
on them is Early Morn. Another is re-selected Pilot. 



For the average reader a division made by one of 
the large seed houses already mentioned is perhaps 
as helpful as can be suggested : " Peas for the 
garden are divided into four classes, Extra Early 
Round Seeded sorts, Extra Early Wrinkled sorts, 
Early Dwarf sorts, and Main Crop sorts. The ex- 
tra early varieties are largely grown by gardeners 
for early market. They ripen more uniformly than 


other peas, and most of the pods can be taken from 
the vine at the first picking. The peas are not sweet, 
but can be planted very early. Examples of this class 
are Alaska, Maud S, First and Best, New Prolific, etc. 


" The extra early wrinkled varieties are nearly as 
early as the round seeded sorts, but do not mature 
as uniformly. These, while less desirable for early 
market purposes, are fine for family use. They are 
much sweeter than the round sorts. Examples are 
Surprise, Thomas Laxton, Gradus, Advancer, etc. 
The third class of early dwarf varieties require no 
brushing, and are in strong demand for family use. 
The Improved American Wonder, Nott's Excelsior, 
Little Gem, Stratagem, Daisy, etc. The fourth 
division is the main crop sorts, including the Mar- 
rowfats, Telephone, Champion, Everbearing, Duke 
of Albany, Telegraph, Alderman, and Prosperity." 

Some may be interested in the edible-podded peas, 
but I must confess they do not appeal to me. I 
tried both Dwarf Gray Sugar and Mammoth Melt- 
ing Sugar. They grow as represented, and are 
marvelous yielders. The Dwarf Gray Sugar vines 
grow only about 15 to 20 inches tall, whereas the 
Mammoth Melting Sugar will reach a height of four 
feet or even more. A package of these might not be 
amiss in the family garden. 

At best the multitude of varieties is confusing to 
the gardener without experience. However, after 
two or three years, he settles down to a half dozen 
or so varieties as best for his particular conditions. 
Naturally the selection will vary, but this chapter, 
together with the earlier ones, I, II and III, also 
suggestions from the latest seed catalogues, will 
prove helpful in arriving at the most satisfactory 


The sweet pea has very properly been termed the 
queen of all annuals. It is a magnificent flower, and 
its culture is comparatively simple. So much so 
that even amateurs secure with it most gratifying 
results. The sweet pea is native of Sicily, and has 
been known hundreds of years. The story goes that 
an Italian monk, by the name of Franciscus Cupani, 
sent seeds to England as early as 1699, and their 
real culture dates from that period. In 1870 im- 
petus was given the culture through the work of 
Henry Eckford of England. Another improver was 
the well-known plant specialist, Thomas Laxton of 
England. In 1901, Silas Cole of England set the 
trade agog by bringing out the now famous 
Countess Spencer, which was a great improvement 
in size, texture, color and conformation. This was 
introduced in 1904, and now there are many sports 
from the Countess Spencer variety which are prov- 
ing very popular. Enterprising seedsmen in Amer- 
ica were not long in taking up the improvements 
brought out in England, the well-known firm of W. 
A. Burpee of Pennsylvania perhaps taking the lead. 
This firm alone has a two-acre garden given over 
exclusively to the cultivation of sweet peas. 
George W. Kerr, who has had many years' experi- 
ence in England with the flower, recently edited a 
little booklet for the Burpee firm, which gives many 
helpful pointers on sweet peas. 


Soil Considerations. The ideal soil for sweet 
peas is a heavy, deep loam, inclined to stiffness. 
However, ordinary garden soil will produce good re- 
sults. Do not plant the sweet peas on soil too poor 
to grow anything else. While a little shade will 
be particularly appreciated when the sun is hot in 
July and August, the plants should have plenty of 
light. Many successful growers plant in the open 
garden, where there is free circulation of air and 

The best preparation of the soil means a start 
the preceding fall. Dig a trench 24 to 30 inches 
deep, and mix the soil with light stable dressing or 
something to provide humus for the plants. Re- 
place the soil, putting in a good layer of well- 
decayed cow manure, which is also covered with a 
few inches of dirt. Allow to remain over winter, and 
early the following spring the ground will be ready 
for planting. The trenches can be 18 to 24 inches 
wide for the rows, and rows themselves four to five 
feet apart. 

Sowing. There is little danger of sowing sweet 
pea seed too early. In fact, many believe in starting 
the seed the preceding fall. In the southern states 
fall planting can be safely done, perhaps in October, 
but in the latitude of New York, November and 
early December would be better. If they are sown 
too early they will get too much of a start and be 
frozen back through the winter. The ideal thing 
is to have the seed just nicely germinated before 
going into winter quarters. Of course the advantage 
of fall planting is to secure flowers early. In north- 
ern latitudes the advisability of fall planting is 


Do not sow the seed less than two inches deep, 
and even three and four inches gives good results. 
When the young plants begin to grow and reach a 
height of three to six inches, it is easy enough to 
draw more soil to them to strengthen the stalks and 
keep the roots cool through the hot summer. An 
ounce of seed will sow about 15 feet in a row. Later 
thin out the plants to five to six inches. This will 
give better results, for if the plants stand too thick 
the vine growth will be dwarfed and flowers in pro- 

The methods of the sweet pea enthusiast, Rev. 
W. T. Hutchings, formerly of Massachusetts, no\V 
of Colorado, is interesting. He figures on the plants 
standing five inches apart in the row. To make sure 
of each plant coming, he puts the seed into separate 
papers and buries the packets for about a week in 
an inch of dirt. Then he selects the seed that has 
germinated first, and plants it as indicated. This 
gives an even stand and he knows exactly what to 
expect. His method is of special importance where 
seed is high priced. In ordinary practice amateurs 
sow sweet peas just about the same as they would 
ordinary garden sorts. 

Culture. The hoe and plenty of elbow grease 
back of it will be repaid many-fold through extra 
growth, size, and desirable bloom. The sweet pea 
is not unlike other plants in this respect, for fre- 
quent stirring of the soil conserves moisture and 
opens up the soil to the action of the elements. In 
hot, dry seasons many provide mulching in the form 
of straw, swale grass, or coarse stable manure. This 
may be made even more successful by thorough 
watering occasionally. 


As to fertilizer, bone combinations are recognized 
as among the best. English gardeners recommend 
ordinary soot, this not only because of its fertilizing 
value, but also its action in keeping away insects. 
One method of using this is as follows : Take a peck 
of soot in a bag and let it dissolve for a few hours 
in a pail or tub of water. Guano may be used in the 
proportion of one pound to 20 gallons of the water. 
Farm yard manure in a liquid state, about the con- 
sistency of weak tea, is very good. Nitrate of soda 
should be used sparingly, and only at the start, to 
force the plants along. 

One New York enthusiast gives the following ex- 
perience : " Last year I sowed sweet peas early in 
May, along the east side of the house. A trench was 
dug six inches deep in which was placed some well- 
rotted cow manure. A little earth was placed over 
this, and the seeds sown. They were covered with 
about two inches of dirt. When peas were well up> 
I placed eight-inch boards around the bed to hold 
in the dirt and as the plants grew I put in a mixture 
of two parts good, rich earth and one part well- 
rotted manure, also one part wood ashes. This was 
filled in occasionally until the soil was even with 
the top of the boards. July I the peas were three 
feet tall and had started blooming. They continued 
until November, and were a continual mass of 
blossoms, reaching a height of seven feet. They were 
watered almost every night after sundown." 

Sweet peas are occasionally grown in greenhouses 
to furnish winter bloom. The early varieties will 
require two to three months to furnish profusion 
of bloom. They are usually started in pots, kept 
cool in the early stage, and later forced with heat 


and well-rotted stable manure. The trailing type 
of sweet pea is best adapted to indoor culture. Oc- 
casionally, there is bother about buds dropping, es- 
pecially if plants are overfertilized. This is not 
likely to continue beyond a few days when plants 
will assume the proper balance, and blossoms will 
appear as desired. Sweet pea seed germinates 
slowly. Therefore, the grower should not be in too 
big a hurry to dig out the seed or condemn it. 

Enemies of the Sweet Pea. Red spider and green 
aphis must be watched. They multiply rapidly and 
sap a tremendous amount of nourishment from the 
growing plants. Spraying with whale-oil soap, or 
a weak solution of kerosene oil, will be effective. 
Cutworms are occasionally destructive, especially 
if land has not been worked for two or three years. 
Trap crops, such as peas, lettuce, etc., have been 
used to protect the peas, also a dusting of tobacco 
powder about the plants. However, the poisoned 
bait, such as a little paris green mixed with bran 
or a few sprigs of clover dipped in paris green and 
placed for the cut worms to eat, is perhaps best of 
all. The blight occasionally appears and causes 
trouble, usually during dry seasons and when plants 
are cultivated shallow. The remedy is to plant the 
seed deeper and use every means to keep the vines 
growing vigorously. 

Trellising. Except in the dwarf and recumbent 
types, some means of support should be provided 
for the rapidly growing vines. The simplest method 
in vogue is brush. In other cases, various types of 
framework are provided. It is possible to drive 
posts and string wires or strings every few inches, 
beginning at the bottom and working up to the top 


as the vines grow. An ordinary poultry wire nailed 
to posts furnishes a satisfactory support. This 
may be placed on a movable post and taken up each 
fall and wire rolled and set aside for another season. 

Types and Varieties. The varieties of sweet pea 
are legion. As far back as 1793, a London seed man 
listed five varieties, including the following colors : 
White, purple, scarlet, black, and painted lily. Three 
or four decades later yellow and striped variations 
appeared. Then came flesh pink, rose pink, etc. 
When Henry Eckford interested himself in the 
breeding and improvement of sweet peas in 1876, he 
soon had many variations and combinations of 
color, also of form and conformation. In 1898 there 
were about 150 specifically named sorts. Now there 
are many more. 

The standard type of sweet peas for decades was 
the tall-growing sort for northern latitudes where 
climate is comparatively cool. California was 
among the first states in America to become inter- 
ested in sweet peas. It was not long before the 
environment produced a variation of the tall sorts; 
a semi-dwarf more adapted to exposure where 
climate is dry and hot became recognized. This 
class is known as the Cupid sweet pea. Foliage is 
thick, dense, and reaches down well over the 
ground, protecting the roots from exposure. An- 
other type is the Bush sweet pea, something similar 
to the Cupid as regards height and adaptability. 
However, foliage is .not so dense and does not reach 
down to the ground as thoroughly. It is sufficiently 
dwarfed so that no support is needed. Still a third 
type is the Trailing sweet pea, where the vine is in- 
clined to be recumbent. It seldom reaches more 


than 18 inches in height, is an exceedingly early 
bloomer and adapted to sections further south than 
the standard sorts. This latter type is also recom- 
mended for growing under glass to furnish blooms 
for winter gardening. 

Edwin Jenkins, superintendent of the Bellefon- 
taine Gardens of Massachusetts, makes the follow- 
ing selection of varieties for producing satisfactory 
results in almost any garden. White: Dorothy 
Eckford, Nora Unwin, White Spencer. Pink: 
Countess Spencer, Gladys Unwin, Bolton's Pink. 
Primrose: James Grieve, Primrose Spencer, Mrs. 
Collier. Rose : John Ingham, George Herbert, E. 
J. Castle. Scarlet : Queen Alexandra, Marie Corelli, 
King Edward. Maroon: Black Knight, Othello, 
Duke of Westminster. Orange: Miss Wilmott, 
Helen Lewis, St. George. Light Blue: Flora Nor- 
ton, Mrs. George Higginson, Jr., Romiolo Piazzaini. 
Dark Blue : Lord Nelson, Navy Blue, Captain of the 
Blues. Variegated Blue : Helen Pierce, Prince Olaf, 
Phenomenal. Lavender: Asta Ohn, Frank Dolby, 
Lady Grisel, Hamilton. 

Four Cardinal Don'ts. When it comes to select- 
ing varieties one can hardly do better than get in 
touch with some reputable seed grower who will 
provide a catalogue with full description for various 
types and strains. If one would succeed with sweet 
peas, there are four fundamental don'ts suggested 
by W. A. Burpee, the Pennsylvania seed grower, 
worthy of emphasis: (i) Don't- expect sweet peas 
to thrive in soil too poor for any other culture, or in 
a sunless location. They need, as nearly as possible, 
a free deep loam and moderately rich freely cul- 
tivated soil. (2) Don't sow too shallow. Plant seed 


at least two inches deep, and when plants are two 
to three inches tall draw more soil up to them in 
ridge form. (3) Don't overfeed with a view to ob- 
tain vigorous growth and profusion of growth. Bone 
in some form is the best fertilizer. Nitrate of soda 
will do for a hurry-up stimulant, but use it spar- 
ingly. (4) Don't gather the blooms grudgingly. 
The more you cut the longer the vine will continue 
to flower. Remember, when they go to seed, sweet 
peas will cease flowering. 


. 86 

Aphis attacks sweet peas 


Breeding, experiments with 70-71 

Fixing special points 71 

Improving peas < 

Possibilities in 69 

Canned peas as an industry 44 

Blanching and preparing liquor 49 

Dates of harvesting 45, 47 

Distribution 44-45 

Grading the crop 47 

Thrashing 48 

Size of cans 49 

Varieties of 45 

Cans, heating and cooling of.... 51 

Leaks in 52 

Size of 49 

Chickens, peas for 34-35 

Composition, comparative table of 26 

Compared with other foods... 27 

Principal constituents in 25 

Nutritive value determined 29 

Nutritive value of 27 

Value of for different animals. 30 

Cooking, best manner of - 

Process for canned 50 

Cowpeas, cultural methods 63 

Description and value of 61 

For stock 63 

How handled 62 

Cows, peas for 31 

Cultivation, time and manner.... 20 

Culture of sweet peas 84 

Digestibility, coefficients of 



Feeding value, for stock ........ 

Fertilizer, amount removed from 

soil ...................... 10 

Effect of liming ............. 11 

Effect on maturity, yield, etc.. 10 
Peas as .................... 57 

Those best adapted ........... 

To use for forage and soiling. 55 

Forage and soiling, how to handle 

for best results 54 

Forage, peas for stock 58-59 

Peas as 54 

Forcing, in winter 76 

Garden peas, cultural methods.. 72 

Germination, percentage of 73 

Temperature of 74 


Harvest, curing of 22 

Method of 21 

Thrashing of 22 

Time of 20 

Horses, peas for 34 

Inoculation, desirable for peas.. 

Experiments with commercial 

Methods of 

Reciprocal with other bacteria. 
Insect and fungous pests, miscel- 
laneous insects 

Miscellaneous pea fungi 

Of sweet peas 

Pea blight 

Pea louse 

Pea moth 

Powdery mildew 

Root rot fungus 

The principal ones 




Leaf spot, description and control 41 
Lime, effect on peas 11 

Nitrogen, conditions favoring its 


Peas take from air 11 

Orchards, peas in 64 

Pea blight, description and con- 



Pea louse, description and methods 

of control 39 

Pea meal, composition and feed- 
ing value 26 

Pea moth, description and methods 

of control 38 

Peas, as forage crop 54 

As green manure 57 

As nitrogen gatherers 11 

As silage 52-54 

Blanching of 49 

Breeding of 66 

Buffalo 3 

Canning industry of 44 

Ceylon 3 

Chick 1 

Classification of 3 

Combination for forage and 

soiling 54 

Composition of 25 

Cooking and digestibility 29 

Cover crop for orchards 64 

Cowpeas 2 

Cultivation of 20 

Distribution 4 

Enemies of 36 

Flat 1 

For cows 31 

For garden 72 

Inoculation desirable 12 

Legume family of plants 1 

Meal 26 

Origin and history 4 

Partridge 2 

Place in rotation .' 7 

Processing or cooking 50 

Qualities of canned 50 

Spoiling of canned 51 

Square pod 2 

Supports for 74 

Sweet 3 

Table of pea-producing states. 5 

Tangier 3 

Time of planting 15 

Varieties of 76 

Wide adaptability of 6 

Winter forcing of 76 

Yield of 23 

Pea silage, how handled and 

value of 53 

Use at factories 52 

Planting, depth of 17 

Manner of 18 

Of sweet 83 

Time and manner of 15 

Powdery mildew, how to control 42 

Red spider, attacks sweet peas.. 

Root rot fungus, description and 

treatment 42 

Rotation, place of peace 7 

Seed, amount of 15 

Considerations of 18 

Effect of poor 19 

Germination of 73 

Growing a specialty 66 

Improvement of 66 

Methods of seed breeding... 66-69 

Weight and specific gravity 71 

Sheep, peas for 32 

Silage, peas make 54 

Soil, considerations for sweet... 83 

Those best adapted to peas... 7 

Spoilage of canned 51 

Spoiling and forage, how to get 

succession 54 

Steers, peas for 32 

Stock, cowpeas for 63 

Peas for 31-35 

Straw, value of 27 

Value of for stock 31 

Sweet peas, best soils 83 

Four cardinal don'ts 88 

Culture 82, 84 

Enemies of , 86 

Fertilizer for 85 

History of 82 

In greenhouses 85 

Sowing of 83 

Trellising 86 

Types and varieties 87 

Swine, peas for 33 

Thrashing, approved methods of 22-23 

Varieties, classification of 79 

Difference in yield 77 

How to select 80-81 

Large number of 76 

Types of sweet peas 87-88 

Viner, use in canned pea industry 48 


Weevil, in peas 36 

Methods of control 37 

Yield, difference in varieties 77 

Of forage plants J 

Range of 23 




NOV 3 1934 

I/JW 07 fq/|Q 

viHii & | itj*ro 


LD 21-100m-7,'33 

.YB 47572