Eight Tips for Growing Healthy Peas
You have to pick peas and eat them right away to get that fresh-picked, homegrown flavor. That’s why peas are worth space in any home garden. They are, however, susceptible to a number of plant diseases. Before you get out the insecticide spray make sure you know exactly what the problems are and explore the least toxic ways to protect your pea plants.
Chemical-free Ways to Prevent Pea Diseases
You probably know the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is this statement truer than in the arena of plant diseases. Follow these eight chemical-free tips and your pea plants are more likely to stay free of diseases.
1. Plant varieties resistant to the pea diseases common in your area.
2. Remove and destroy (don’t compost) infected plants.
3. Remove garden debris right after harvesting.
4. Keep your garden tools clean.
5. Rotate crops, using a three-year rotation schedule.
6. Keep leaves off the ground.
7. Plant in well-drained soil with good organic content.
8. Inspect plants at least twice a week so you can nip any problems in the bud before it’s too late to save your crop.
Common Diseases of Garden Peas
Despite your best efforts diseases may get into your pea patch. Following are brief descriptions of some of the most common diseases that affect peas as well as steps you can take to control or prevent infestations of the specific diseases.
Various soil fungi cause root rots. Look for discolored and rotted areas on the main root and at the base of the stem. Weak, slow-growing plants are more likely to get root rot than are strong, vigorously growing plants. Excessive soil moisture contributes to root rot, as does plant debris that is left in the garden.
Fusarium wilt causes lower leaves to yellow and plants to grow stunted. Leaf margins curl and turn downward, and the base of the stem may swell.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes dark sores on leaves, stems, and pods. Infected leaves wither and plants die back. High humidity and rainfall encourage the development and spread of anthracnose spores. Staying out of the garden when leaves are wet helps prevent the spread of anthracnose spores.
The appearance of white, powdery-looking mold on leaves, stems, and pods alerts gardeners to the presence of powdery mildew. High humidity favors the growth of powdery mildew, which is rarely fatal to the plants. Keep the soil evenly most, avoid overhead watering, and pick off infected leaves.
Viruses cause a variety of diseases that affect pea growth and production. Aphids transmit the diseases from plant to plant, so it’s important to keep aphids at bay.
Damping off causes seeds to rot and the stems of seedlings to collapse. High humidity favors the development of this fungal disease. Well-drained soil and crop rotation help prevent damping off.
Want more information about preventing and controlling pea diseases?
There’s so much more to know about diseases that affect plants and what you can do to grow healthy peas. Here are websites to explore:
Read all about Pea Diseases from University of Minnesota Extension.
Don’t forget to study up on Virus Diseases of Peas.