Cultivation of Garden pea (Pisum sativum)


Garden pea, Pisum sativum var. hortense, is an important vegetable grown throughout the world. cool-season crop, it is extensively grown in temperate zones; but restricted to cooler altitudes in the tropics and winter in the subtropics. A rich source of digestible proteins (7%), amino acids, and sugars (12%), green peas are an all-time favorite vegetable. India is the leading pea-producing country in the world. During 2013-14, it was grown in about 0.42 million ha area producing 4.01 million tonnes with the productivity of 9.5 tonnes/ha. It is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana, and Bihar contributing to 90% of the total production. During 2013-14, India exported 3,146 MT of peas earning 7.65 crores to Pakistan (47%), UK (24%), Saudi Arabia (9%), and Nepal (6%).

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Climate and soil

Garden pea is widely grown in different seasons under varied agroclimatic conditions and cultivation practices. Pea requires a cold and dry climate while a longer cold spell increases its yield. In central India, it is sown during October-November, while in hilly areas (Shimla), June-July is the ideal sowing time. The optimum temperature for seed germination is about 22° +2°C, however, it can germinate up to 5°C but at a slow rate. At higher temperatures (> 25°C), root rot is a very common problem resulting in poor plant stand. Peas grow best at a mean temperature of 13-18°C. It is tolerant to frost at an early stage of growth; at later stages, the flowers and pods are affected whereas leaves and stems are not damaged by frost. Maturity is hastened by rising in temperature but the yield is reduced drastically. The wrinkle seeded cultivars are more sensitive to high temperatures and a temperature of 30°C and above, even for a day, affects the quality of pods.

Pea can be grown on many types of soils-light sandy loam to clay soil. It needs well-drained soils. The fields should be prepared to get fine, firm, and leveled beds for sowing. Well-drained, loose, friable, and heavy soils are ideal. Pea does not thrive on acidic soils. It is very sensitive to saline and alkaline conditions. Soil with higher pH causes wilting of plants by fungal (mainly Fusarium spp.) attack. The pH of 6.0-7.5 is ideal. If it is lower than 6.0, liming improves the soil condition.


The garden peas are classified into 4 groups on the basis of maturity and edible characters of green pods. Important varieties of pea are described here.

Early maturing varieties

Arkel: This is an introduced variety from England. Plants are dwarf and the first flower appears about 35-38 days after sowing. It takes 60-65 days to first picking. Pods are well-filled and attractive. Three harvestings can be taken from the crop. The average green pod yield is about 8-10 tonnes/ha and seed yield is 12-14 q/ha.

Azad Pea 3: Plants are erect, medium tall, a dark green. The first flower appears about 40 days after seed sowing. Pods are well filled, bold, green. First picking can be done in 70 days after sowing. 3-4 pickings are done. The average green pod yield is about 12-13 tonnes/ ha. The average seed yield is 14-15 q/ha.

Bonneville: Its plants are 60-70 cm tall. The pods appear from the 13th node. Pods are round, large, possessing 8-10 green and sweet seeds. The yield of green pods is around 10 tonnes/ha. The crop matures in 135 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, and medium-size, 100 seeds weigh 18 g. The seed yield is 1 tonne/ ha. The variety suffers from an attack of powdery mildew.

Kashi Mukti: It is an early maturing powdery mildew resistant variety. Plant height is 60-65 cm and 50% flowering takes place in 35-36 days after sowing. The plants are slender with shorter light green leaves. Pods are approximately 10 cm long, filled with 9-10 bold and soft textured seeds, shelling percentage 48-49 and average yield is 14-16 tonnes/ha. It gives a seed yield of 11-14 q/ha.

Kashi Nandini: This is the earliest variety in the seed chain of the country. The average plant height is 50 cm and 50% of plants bear flowers at 31-33 days after sowing. Plants are erect, dark green with 7-8 pods/plant. Pods are 7-8 cm long, attractive, well-filled 8-9 seeds, with a shelling percentage of 47-48. First harvesting can be done after 55 days of sowing and an average total yield of 11-12 tonnes/ha can be obtained. It gives an average seed yield of 13-14 q/ha.

Kashi Uday: Its plants are 60-65 cm tall and 50% flowering occurs in 35-37 days after sowing. Plants have dark green foliage and short internodes with 8-10 pods/plant. Pods are 9-10 cm long, attractive with 8-9 bold seeds per pod, with a shelling percentage of 48. Harvesting starts from 60-65 days after sowing and a total yield of 12-14 tonnes/ha can be obtained in 3-4 pickings. Its seed yield is 12-15 q/ha.

Matar Ageta 6: Plants are dwarf, fast-growing, erect, with green foliage, and ready for first picking within 7 weeks after sowing. Pods long, 12-15, borne singly and in pairs containing 6 grains. More than 50% of the total green pods can be harvested in first picking.

Mid-season maturing varieties

Azad Pea 1: Plants are tall, the first flower appears about 53-56 days after sowing. Pods are dark green and borne in clusters of two pods with a total of about 15-16 pods/plant. Pod harvesting can be done 75-80 days and seeds 120-130 days after sowing; 3-4 pickings can be done. The average green pod yield is about 14-16 tonnes/ha and seed yield is 1.6-1.8 tonnes/ha.

Kashi Shakti: Plant height is 90-100 cm and 50% of plants bear flowers at 55-60 days after sowing. Plants have dark green foliage with 11-12 pods/plant. Green pods mature in about 90-100 days after sowing. Pods are 10-11 cm long, well filled with 7-9 bold seeds, shelling percentage 48-49 and green pod yield is about 14-16 tonnes/ha, while dry seed takes 120-130 days for harvesting yielding 1.4-1.5 tonnes/ha seeds.

Lincoln: An exotic variety, it is better suited for hilly regions of north India. The medium-tall plants provide attractive pods having curved shapes. The pods are produced from the 12th node, having 8-10 sweet seeds each. The green pod yield is 10 tonnes/ha. The crop matures in 130 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, 100 seeds weigh 17 g, the seed yield being 9 q/ha.

Palam Priya: Its plants are medium tall (60-70 cm), vigorous with dark green foliage and branching habit. The pods are borne in double, smooth, straight, light green, and 8-9 cm in length. The average seeds/pod are 7-8 with about 50% shelling. Its peas contain 15-16% TSS. The average green pod yield is 12.5-15.0 tonnes/ha. Resistant to powdery mildew and as field tolerance to leaf miner.

Pant Uphar (IP 3): Its plants grow 60-70 cm in height. The pods are produced from the 11th node. The medium-size pods have 6-8 sweet ovules. The pod yield being 7-8 tonnes/ha. The crop matures in 110 days. The seeds are wrinkled, green, and medium-size, 100 seeds weigh 15 g. The seed yield is about 7 q/ha. This variety is highly susceptible to powdery mildew.

Pantnagar Matar 2: The dwarf plants produce pods from the eighth node. There is 5-6 green sweet seeds/pod and the green pod yield is about 5 tonnes/ha. The crop matures in 110 days. The seed yield is about 5 tonnes/ha. The seeds are wrinkled, green, and medium-sized, having a 100-seed weight of 16 g. This variety suffers badly due to powdery mildew attacks.

Phule Priya: The plant height is 70-75 cm. Pods are long, straight, and dark green. Each pod has 8-9 seeds. First harvesting can be done after 70-75 days of sowing. The average yield is 11.0-11.5 tonnes/ha.

Punjab 89: Its plants are medium dwarf, vigorous, having 15-16 pods/plant. The pods are borne in doubles and are dark green, long, having 9-10 seeds/ pod. It takes about 85-90 days for first picking. Shelled peas are very sweet and the shelling % is 53-55. The average green pod yield is 13.5-14.5 tonnes/ha.

Pusa Pragati: The plants are medium-tall, 50% of plants bear flowers at 55-60 days after sowing and produce pods from the 13-14th node. The pods are long in size with 8-9 seeds each. The green pod yield is 11.5-12 tonnes/ha. The crop matures in 120 days.

Late maturing varieties

Arka Ajeet: This is a powdery mildew-resistant variety. Medium-tall plants produce medium-quality pods. There is 5-6 seeds/pod, the green pod yield being 10 tonnes/ha.

JP 4 (JM 6): The variety is resistant to powdery mildew. Medium-size pods have 6 big, sweet, green seeds. The green pod yield is 5 tonnes/ha. In plains, the yield is about 10 tonnes/ha. The pods are produced from the 10th node. The crop matures in 120 days in plains while seeds cannot be harvested on hillocks due to frost.

Kashi Samradhi: The plants are 65-75 cm in height, attractive, dark green. It takes 60-63 days for 50% flowering and first flower appear at 12-13 node. Pods are green, straight, and slightly curved at the tip, 7.5-8.0 cm in length, 13-14 numbers/plant with an average pod weight of 5-6 g. The pods become ready for harvest after 90-95 days of sowing and the average yield is 12-14 tonnes/ha. The pods are sweet containing 3.86% total sugar and the shelling percentage is 46-48%. Resistant to powdery mildew.

Narendra Sabji Matet 5: The plants are 75-80 cm in length and the leaves are dark green in color. The pods are borne in doubles, 7-8 cm in length having 8 seeds. The seeds are wrinkled and the average yield is 8-11 tonnes/ ha.

Vivek Mater 10: The plant height is 62-65 cm. Pods are curved and dark green. Seeds are wrinkle, green and sweet. It takes 125-130 days for maturity. It is tolerant to powdery mildew.

Edible podded varieties

Arka Apoorva: Arka Apoorva is a mid-season pea variety with a pod yield of 10-11 tonnes/ha in 90 days. The pods are of dual-purpose which means the whole fresh pod can be used either as a salad or in cooking and also the fresh shelled peas can be used as in the case of conventional green peas. The pods are 9 cm long and broad 2 cm. These are bold, dark green sweet and the whole pods are crisp. It is moderately resistant to powdery mildew and resistant to rust.

JP 19: This is a mid-season type of garden pea of which whole pods are consumed, without removing the peelings. This quality of green pods is due to a lack of sclerenchymatous tissues. Its plants are dwarf and erect. The green pods are produced from the 13th node in 3 months duration. The green pod yield is 10-11 tonnes/ ha. The seeds are round, yellow, and have 16g weight per 100 seeds. The seed yield is about 9 q/ha. The crop matures in 125 days. The variety possesses moderate resistance against powdery mildew disease.

Mithi Phali: Plants are tall (140 cm) with green foliage. The first picking takes place 90 days after sowing and subsequent pickings at 15 days intervals. Pods are light green and 12-13 cm long. Its consumable yield is double that of standard shelled pea varieties. It is rich in protein and total sugar. The average green pod yield is 13.5-14 tonnes/ha.



Viable, healthy, well-mature, and pure seeds should be used for sowing. The seed rate of garden pea depends on their test weight, shape, size, growth habit, and sowing time. About 140-160 kg seed is enough for a hectare for early maturing varieties and 110-120 kg for mid and late-maturing varieties. The seeds must be treated before sowing to avoid losses due to fungal diseases. Thiram (3 g/kg seed), captan (2.5 g/kg seed), bavistin (2 g/kg seed) and thiram + bavistin (2 g+1 g/kg seed) are recommended for seed treatment. However, treating seed with thiram + bavistin is desirable and beneficial. Thiram is a contact fungicide effective for 5-6 days, while bavistin being a systemic fungicide is effective for 20 days. The seeds should be mixed thoroughly with the required quantity of fungicide.

Generally, the pea seeds are sown with the help of a seed drill where the row distance is fixed at 30 cm. The seeds are dropped in the field at a distance of 8-10 cm for a good plant population. The seeds should be sown 4-5 cm deep in the soil.

Manuring and fertilization

Pea being a leguminous crop fixes atmospheric nitrogen through root nodules. Accordingly, its nitrogen requirement is less. The soil must be rich in organic fertilizers or else apply 20-25 tonnes of farmyard manure at the time of land preparation.

Phosphatic fertilizers enhance the yield, quality, and nitrogen fixation ability of the plants. Potassic fertilizers also increase yield. For an average fertile soil, 40-50 kg N, 50-60 kg Pâ‚‚O, and 40-50 kg Kâ‚‚O/ha are recommended. A full dose of phosphorus and potassium and half nitrogen is applied as basal dose and the rest of N is applied 30-40 days after sowing as a top dressing. Foliar application of 0.1% ammonium molybdate has been reported to increase the number of root nodules, yield, TSS, and a number of seeds/pod. Prolonged application of DAP causes sulphur deficiency. The application of urea + single superphosphate is the best fertilizer combination. Gypsum of pyrites may also complete the deficiency of sulphur.


The water requirement of the crop depends largely on the agro-climatic conditions of the locality. It can be grown under rain-fed conditions too, but at the time of sowing sufficient moisture is a must in the field. Pea seeds can tolerate dehydration in the initial stages of imbibitions but once the seed begins metabolic activity, dehydration causes damage to cotyledons and embryos. Moisture stress at flowering and subsequent pod filling stage are most undesirable as it affects the yield and quality of pods. In general, one irrigation is applied at flowering in heavy soils, while two irrigations i.e. before flowering and pod formation stage are applied in medium-heavy soils. Waterlogging is harmful as aeration and nitrification by Rhizobium in root nodules are adversely affected. Irrigations through sprinkler systems give better effect for crop growth.


At the beginning of the crop, weeds suppress the plant growth due to the slow growth of pea during earlier stages. The field should be kept free from weeds by giving two hoeings after 4-8 weeks of germination respectively. Spraying of Stomp 30 EC (pendimethalin) @ 2.5 liter/ha within 72 hours of sowing checks weed population up to 30-35 days. Weeds can also be controlled by early mechanical means but deep harrowing damages the roots. Late intercultural will also damage the crop due to trumping and mechanical breakage of tender and succulent stems and branches. Without weed control measures, the green pod and dry seed yield decrease by 40-50%.

Pea being a legume crop is planted year after year in the same field creates problems of wilt and other soil-borne diseases. To check this damage, pea crops may be rotated with other vegetable crops. Besides, crop rotation also helps in maintaining a balance of soil nutrients.

Diseases and pests

Common insect pests attacking garden pea are pea stem fly (Ophiomyia phaseoli), leaf miner (Phytomyza atricornis), and pea aphids (Macrosiphum pist).

Common diseases include Powdery mildew, Fusarium wilt, and rust.

Harvesting and post-harvest management

Harvesting of green pods must be done at a proper stage. To maintain the quality of produce harvesting should be done during the morning or evening. The pea plants are very tender with soft stems and therefore pickings should be done gently. A small jerk damages the vines thereby injuring the plants. Moreover, repeated picking should not be done. Only 3 pickings in early lines and 4 in mid-season should be done. The green pods may be handled carefully. Proper storage at low temperature and humidity may prolong the availability duration of green peas and reduce the losses due to fungal diseases by arresting the metabolic breakdown. Adequate packaging may be done in gunny bags, baskets lined with jute cloth, bamboo baskets, corrugated fiber board boxes, and plastic containers.

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