Although India's winter is a brief season, don't you think the delicacies it produces are the best? Indians adore their food, regardless of the season.
Indians love paranthas or kachoris, but their appetite for them intensifies during the chilly winter months.
Peas are a popular filler for kachoris and paranthas. The sweet and faintly nutty-tasting green peas are also a common ingredient in many curries.
The talent of peas doesn’t end in the kitchen!
Do you know that without peas, there might not have been any modern genetics research? Why? Because Gregor Johann Mendel, an Austrian, pioneered modern genetics by studying peas.
Apart from being tasty, healthy, and a muse for "genetics," peas are also easy to grow.
This blog will help you gain a better understanding of pea cultivation at home. We will discuss the following: -
- Interesting facts about peas
- Health benefits of peas or matar
- How to grow peas at home easily
- How to take care of pea plants at home
So, let’s uncover the peas and get to know the pods more.
Interesting facts about peas
- Peas are eaten as vegetables, but botanically, pea pods are fruits. That’s because pea pods contain seeds and develop from the ovary of a pea flower.
- Alongside population, China leads in the annual production of peas, too, followed by India
- Do you know that peas, like many legumes, contain symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia within the root nodules of their root systems? These bacteria have the special ability to fix nitrogen from atmospheric molecular nitrogen into ammonia.
- Pea plants, even after dying, can serve your garden. How? When a pea plant dies, all of the nitrogen incorporated into amino acids in all parts of the plant is released back into the soil. This helps serve as fertilizer for future crops.
- Did you know that the less water you use when cooking peas, the less vitamin C is lost?
Health benefits of peas or matar
Matar, or peas, are highly nutritious. It has all the important vitamins and minerals that your body requires. The nutritional chart for peas is as follows:
34% of RDI
13% of RDI
24% of RDI
12% of RDI
7% of RDI
11% of RDI
6% of RDI
15% of RDI
* RDI stands for "recommended dietary intake" or "recommended daily intake."
When you include peas in your diet, you may enjoy the following health benefits: -
Controls blood sugar
Matar, or green peas, are high in protein and fiber, which helps them control how your body digests carbohydrates. Protein and fiber regulate blood sugar levels by slowly metabolizing carbohydrates. Peas are also one of the foods with a low glycemic index, so you should include them in your diet.
Aids in weight loss
If you are looking for a weight-loss diet, include green peas in it. They are rich in dietary fiber, so you will feel full for longer. It will cut down on your overeating and help you maintain your weight. You won't feel weak either because they are also wonderful providers of protein and other essential nutrients. You can eat them uncooked as snacks, cooked at mealtimes, or blended into smoothies.
Protects heart health
Plaque formation along blood vessel walls can be influenced by oxidative stress and inflammation brought on by free radicals. Peas include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which aid in lowering oxidation, inflammation, and plaque formation.
Regulates of blood pressure
Peas are an excellent food option for people who have high blood pressure since they include dietary fiber. Peas provide a fair quantity of heart-healthy minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which help decrease blood pressure. High intakes of these minerals may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, green peas contain flavonols, carotenoids, and vitamin C, which are all antioxidants that have been demonstrated to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke because they can prevent cell damage.
Boosts immunity and reduce inflammation
Antioxidants included in peas support the development of your immune system. Vitamins C and E, zinc, catechin, and epicatechin are minerals found in peas that function as antioxidants. Peas include anti-inflammatory nutrients that may reduce your risk of developing inflammatory diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Inflammation is decreased by the presence of vitamins A and B, coumestrol, ferulic, caffeine, catechin, epicatechin, etc.
Food items with a good source of dietary fiber are generally good for digestion. Peas are one of those foods that may lower your risk of getting several common gastrointestinal illnesses like colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Good for eyes
Do you know that peas contain carotenoids—lutein and zeaxanthin? They help save your eyes from degenerative conditions, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Helps keep bones healthy
Peas have a high amount of Vitamin K, which helps in healing wounded, fractured, injured, or bruised bones. This vitamin K also prevents the loss of bone density and thus saves you from the formation of osteoporosis. Also, green peas have phosphorus, which helps build bones.
Storehouse of antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemicals that fight free radicals, thereby protecting cells from damage. They also protect against heart-related diseases and even cancer. Peas are a great source of antioxidants like coumestrol. They also have a high amount of vitamin C, which is another potent antioxidant that gives your body stronger immunity.
How to grow peas at home easily
Peas are very easy to grow, but their growing period is very limited. They can also be grown as a fall or winter crop in warmer regions. Here is a step-by-step guide to cultivating peas at home or in your garden.
Direct in garden soil
Right season to grow
The right time to sow peas in India is between October and November if you stay in the plainland. If you reside in the hills, the right time would be from the middle of March to the end of May.
Lightly moisten the soil, and then, using a hoe or spade, till the soil to a depth of 8–10 inches. Apply compost or no-nitrogen fertilizer and then check the soil pH. Depending on the soil pH, use sulfur or lime to increase or decrease the acidity of the soil. The ideal soil pH for peas is between 6.0 and 6.5. Also, check if the soil is well-draining or not. If not, add some sand to it.
Pot or garden
Peas do best when directly sown into the ground since they dislike having their roots disturbed. However, if you sow your seeds in biodegradable containers, you can transplant them into the garden, where they will decompose. In places where the spring season is long and moist, you can plant peas in raised soil beds.
To hasten the process of germination, you can soak the seeds in water overnight.
You have to sow the seeds one inch deep into the soil, and the spacing between the seeds should be 2 inches. If you are planting in rows, then the spacing should be 7 inches.
You may add no-nitrogen fertilizer that is rich only in potassium and phosphorus because pea plants already get enough nitrogen from the air. So, an excess of nitrogen will only enhance the foliage but degrade the quality of the vegetable.
As the plant grows, you have to provide it with support. Either get tree branches, pea sticks, or chicken wire, or build a trellis or spread a net to help it grow. It has to be done before the plants establish shallow roots.
Give the soil enough water to keep it moist. If you see the seeds washing out of the soil, push them back into it. To avoid diseases, water should be added at a rate of one inch per week.
In about 60–70 days, you will see the peas mature. The rate of growth or maturing in peas is quite fast, so you should check the plant after the blooms appear. When the pods become plump and glossy, that’s the right time to harvest peas.
Peas in a container or pot
- Take a large garden container or pot that is 8 to 18 inches deep and cover the drainage holes with a coffee filter.
- Fill this pot with potting soil. Now, remember to infuse no-nitrogen fertilizer into this soil if it doesn’t already have any. After filling up the pot, smooth out the soil.
- Even though it's not required, feeding your pea seeds with legume inoculants will result in healthier plants and a greater crop of peas. You can soak your seeds in water for the entire night to hasten germination. Shake them in a bag with the inoculants while they are still wet.
- Depending on the surface area of the container, the number of peas would vary. Peas should be spaced at least 1 inch apart, and in a single spot, you can plant two seeds to augment germination.
- Press the seeds into the soil and cover them with 2 inches of soil. Water deeply, and then wait for the peas to sprout.
- If you see more than one seed sprouting in the same spot, just pull out the weaker shoot
- As most of the peas are climbers, you now have to prepare trellises to provide them with support. Now wait for some time for the peas to ripen before harvesting.
- Exactly 60–70 days after sowing, these plants would be ready for harvest.
How to take care of pea plants at home
Peas produce a surprisingly significant harvest for a small amount of work, grow quickly, and require minimal care. So, if you enjoy peas on your plate, just take care of the plants and enjoy your happy meals.
One of the most crucial elements of a successful pea harvest is proper watering. Never allow the soil to completely dry out, but also avoid letting it become too wet. Every week, about an inch of water should be enough.
All peas need is well-draining soil. There are no other soil specifications for growing peas. So, make sure your garden soil or potting soil has sand or other materials that will facilitate good drainage. Apart from the type of soil, the other important factor in this segment is soil pH. Peas thrive in slightly acidic soil. The ideal soil pH should be between 6.0 and 6.5. Therefore, test your soil pH first and then add lime or sulphur to decrease or increase acidity, respectively.
Although they can tolerate frigid conditions well, peas thrive in moderate temperatures between 15 degrees Celsius and 21 degrees Celsius. The plants will suffer once the temperature rises above 29 degrees Celsius.
For peas, a bright light source for 6–8 hours works well. They can also tolerate shade or partial shade, but that may affect the production and quality.
Choose a sun-facing spot in your terrace, balcony, or garden to grow this plant.
Generally, peas don’t require fertilizer. This plant absorbs a lot of nitrogen from the air, so if you want to feed it, use fertilisers that are only 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium. While preparing the soil prior to sowing, you can mix compost into it that will look after the overall growth and production of peas.
Peas are easily available in grocery stores, but nothing can match the taste of garden-fresh peas, right? And see, it is not too difficult to raise peas in your home or garden. Just follow the aforementioned steps and maintain the care instructions to relish the round green peas all through the winter season in your dishes.
FAQs related to peas
How long does a pea plant take to grow?
Peas take hardly 60 days to grow from the day of sowing.
Do peas require full sunlight?
Yes, peas require 6–8 hours of full sunlight to grow.
Which fertilizer is best suited for the growth of peas?
Generally, the pea plant doesn’t require fertilizer for growth. For container plants, a moderate amount of fertilizer is still required. You may opt for 0-10-10 fertilizer which means 10% phosphorus, 10% potassium, and no amount of nitrogen. That’s because this plant can absorb enough nitrogen from the air.
Will peas grow well in hot weather?
No, peas will not grow in hot weather. If you live in a hot and humid place, try to sow it long before summer arrives so that you can enjoy peas during the winter season.
Do peas require daily watering?
If you are growing peas in a container, they will require more water than those that are directly sown into the soil in your garden. The topsoil should never be dry. Peas love moist and cool soil. But also remember that if you overwater, it will welcome diseases to this plant.
Is the pea plant a climber?
Both low-growing and vining varieties of peas exist. The climbing varieties, which can reach heights of 1 to 2 meters, produce thin tendrils from their leaves that coil around any accessible support. So, in that sense, yes, a pea is a climber or creeper plant.