UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
SOMETHING FOR MOTHER'S DINNER
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.
GLENN C. SEVEY, B. S
Editor Neiv England Homestead
ORANGE JUDD COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY
ORANGE JUDD COMPANY
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.
GLENN C. SEVEY.
RUSSELL, MASS., April 4, 1911.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BOTANY, HISTORY AND DISTRIBUTION . . 1-6
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,
SOILS, FERTILIZERS AND INOCULATION . . 7-14
Place in rotation, 7-9; Fertilizers for
peas, 9-11; Nitrogen-gathering char-
acteristic, 11-12; Inoculation, 12-14.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST . . 15-24
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 AND FEEDING VALUE . . 25-35
Composition, 25-26; Pea meal, 26;
Composition compared with other
Vlll TABLE OF CONTENTS
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.
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS . . . 36-43
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,
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY . . . 44-53
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.
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS . . 54-65
Culture, 54-55 ; Fertilizers, 55-58 ; Feed
for live stock, 58-59; Cowpea, 59-64;
Cover crop for orchards, 64-65.
TABLE OF CONTENTS ix
BREEDING AND SEED IMPROVEMENT . . 66-71
Seed growing specialty, 66-69; Possi-
bilities in breeding, 69-71.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES . . . 72-81
Germination, 73-74; Supports, 74-76;
Winter forcing, 76; Varieties, 76-81.
SWEET PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE . . 82-89
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,
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
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
Oats and Peas for Forage .... 56
Cowpeas Grown at Michigan Experiment
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
BOTANY, HISTORY AND DISTRIBUTION
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.
BOTANY, HISTORY AND DISTRIBUTION 3
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
The garden pea differs from the field or stock
4 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
BOTANY, HISTORY AND DISTRIBUTION
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
6 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
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.
SOILS, FERTILIZERS AND INOCULATION
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
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.
SOILS, FERTILIZERS AND INOCULATION Q
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
*Ont. Agri. Col. Farm Rpt, 1899.
5 E. S. R., Vol. 16.
6 E. S. R., Vol. 1 6.
IO PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
SOILS, FERTILIZERS AND INOCULATION II
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.
12 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
SOILS, FERTILIZERS AND INOCULATION 13
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.
14 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST
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
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.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST 17
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
SPECIAL PEA VINE HARVESTER.
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.
1 8 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST IQ
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.
MOWER WITH PEA-LIFTING ATTACHMENT FOR
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.
2O PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST
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
A PEA AND BEAN HULLER, OR THRASHER.
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
22 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
CULTURAL PRINCIPLES HARVEST 23
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
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.
24 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
COMPOSITION AND FEEDING VALUE
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.
26 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
COMPOSITION OF PEAS
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 AND FEEDING VALUE 2?
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
PEAS COMPARED WITH OTHER FOODS
Digestible nutrients in 100 pounds
. _ 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.
COMPOSITION AND FEEDING VALUE
NUTRITIVE VALUE DETERMINED
& Labor expended True
in chewing nutritive
n IB and digestion value
p eeamg sum
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.
3O PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
Lindsey. 9 Some 40 experiments covering a period
of three years are tabulated and given in the accom-
panying table :
COEFFICIENTS OF DIGESTIBILITY OF DIFFERENT
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.
COMPOSITION AND FEEDING VALUE 3!
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.
32 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
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.
COMPOSITION AND FEEDING VALUE 33
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.
34 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
COMPOSITION AND FEEDING VALUE 35
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.
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS
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
PEA WEEVIL AND INFECTED PEA.
(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
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS 37
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.
38 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS 39
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-
PEA MOTH AND CATERPILLAR; INFECTED PEA.
(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-
4O PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS 41
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.
42 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
INSECT AND FUNGOUS PESTS 43
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.
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY
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.
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY 45
PEAS CANNED DURING 1907, BY STATES
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
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
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
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY 47
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 :
AVERAGE DATES FOR HARVESTING PEAS FOR A
SERIES OF YEARS
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.
48 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY 49
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
5O PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY 51
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.
52 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
THE CANNED PEA INDUSTRY 53
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."
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS
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
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 55
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.
OATS AND PEAS FOR FORAGE.
(Over three feet tall.)
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 57
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.
58 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
YIELDS OF FORAGE PLANTS PER ACRE (TOPS AND
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
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.
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 59
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.
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 6 1
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-
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
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
62 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 63
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
64 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
PEAS AS FORAGE AND SOILING CROPS 65
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.
BREEDING AND SEED IMPROVEMENT
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-
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
BREEDING AND SEED IMPROVEMENT /
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
BREEDING AND SEED IMPROVEMENT 69
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
7O PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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."
BREEDING AND SEED IMPROVEMENT /I
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.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES
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,
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES
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.
GOOD AND POOR SPECIMENS OF JUNO PEA.
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.
74 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES 75
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
FAIR SAMPLE OF POPULAR THOMAS LAXTON.
76 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES 77
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
" 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.
78 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
GRADUS, AN EXCELLENT PEA.
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.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES 79
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.
PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
THE PRODUCTIVE PROSPERITY
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.
GARDEN PEAS AND VARIETIES 8l
" 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
SWEET PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE
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.
SWEET PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE 83
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
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
84 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
SWEET 'PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE 85
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
86 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
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
SWEET PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE 87
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
88 PEAS AND PEA CULTURE
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
SWEET PEAS AND THEIR CULTURE 89
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.
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
Grading the crop 47
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
Reciprocal with other bacteria.
Insect and fungous pests, miscel-
Miscellaneous pea fungi
Of sweet peas
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
Canning industry of 44
Classification of 3
Combination for forage and
Composition of 25
Cooking and digestibility 29
Cover crop for orchards 64
Cultivation of 20
Enemies of 36
For cows 31
For garden 72
Inoculation desirable 12
Legume family of plants 1
Origin and history 4
Place in rotation .' 7
Processing or cooking 50
Qualities of canned 50
Spoiling of canned 51
Square pod 2
Supports for 74
Table of pea-producing states. 5
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
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
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
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
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