IMPORTANCE AND UTILITY
Pea is a popular vegetable and pulse crop of India. It provides varieties of vegetarian .dishes and hence it is liked throughout the world. There are two types of cultivated peas, the garden pea and the field pea. Garden peas are harvested in an immature condition to be cooked as green to provide a delicious dish, or to be canned or frozen for subsequent use.
Field peas are grown as a forage crop for cattle or as a green manure crop for soil improvement or as a cover crop to reduce soil erosion or as a mature seed. The mature seed may be used as whole or split into ‘dal’ and prepared in various ways for human consumption. It is highly nutritive and contains high proportion of digestible protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. The idea of nutritive value of pea can be had from the following figures. Values have been drawn up on the basis of 100 g of dried edible portion
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The cultivation of pea is very ancient. Cultivation of pea can be traced to Swiss lake dwellers of the Bronze Age. The pea is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and to western Asia. It is probably indigenous to the region comprising Italy and south-western Asia eastwards to the Himalayas, including northern India.
Pea belongs to the family Leguminosae. It is an annual herbaceous plant. The plant is semi-erect, but when a support is available, it has a tendency to climb. The plants grow to a height of about 30-200 cm. Peas germinate in a hypogeal fashion the cotyledons remaining below the ground surface.
Plants develop a tap root system. Stems are slender, hollow and succulent. Leaves are typically pinnately compound. Each leaf has one to three pairs of leaflets and terminal branched tendrils. A large pair of stipules, or leaf-life bract, is found at the base of the petiole of each leaf and these bracts are so large that they can be mistaken for sessible leaves. The inflorescence is an axillar raceme
Peas require a cool growing season and moderate temperatures are essential throughout the growing season. For germination, about 22°C temperature is considered favourable. High temperatures are more injurious to pea crop than frost. Frost can damage the plants during flowering stage.
Peas can be produced successfully in temperate, semi-arid zones. Peas are most sensitive to moisture stress at flowering stage. High humidity is harmful to pea crop as it favours incidence of diseases. The optimum monthly temperature suitable for its growth is 13-18oC
SOIL AND ITS PREPARATION
A well drained soil is essential for successful production of peas. Pea is highly sensitive to water logging conditions, hence, a well drained loam soil is considered best for pea cultivation. It tolerates a moderate soil pH range (6.0 to 7.5). The optimum pH is 6.5. Field is prepared as in the case of other Rabi crops. After harvest of Kharif crops, the field should be ploughed with disc or mould board plough.
Where tractor is available, one deep ploughing followed by 2-3 harrowings and plankings should be given to prepare a well pulverized seed bed. Where bullocks are the source of power, deep ploughing followed by 2-3 harrowings or 3-4 cross ploughings with desiplough should be done. Avoid powdery seedbed. Field should be well levelled and should be prepared after pre-sowing irrigation to ensure adequate moisture at the time of sowing