Nearly ten years ago, I grew my first Karina peas from certified organic seed & have never looked back.
Karina Peas are an annual frost hardy plant that requires full sun in the spring & some shade towards summer (if possible). They are a sweet dwarf garden shelling pea with straight pods that are about 3" long. The pods are filled with approximately 6 to 8 medium to large peas. They can, dry, & freeze well.
The plants are prolific easy growers with short growing vines of approximately 24-30". I find that staking 3-4' high wire fencing is more than adequate for the vines to climb on. Because they are a dwarf pea, some folks don't stake them, but I find them much easier to maintain, weed & harvest when the vines are given something to grow on. If you choose to stake them, put up the trellis or fencing wire before you plant. This way you are much less likely to disturb the young plants.
Because the plants have shallow roots, they must be hand weeded around the base of the plants to avoid uprooting &/or damaging the vines. Using weed barrier cloth can help suppress weeds & keep cats from using your garden as a litter box. If you don't want to use weed barrier cloth, a weed hoe is a quick way to keep weeds from getting the upper hand. Don't use a weed hoe near the plants stems or you risk killing the plants by disturbing the roots or actually cutting the vine at the base. It's much easier to do than you'd think.
Temperature for Germination: 45-60F
Direct Sow: As soon as the soil can be worked
Hardiness: Hardy Annual
Hardiness Zone: 2-11
Seed Spacing: 2”
Seed Planting Depth: 1-2"
Row Spacing: 1-1.5"
Plant Spacing: 2"
Days to Germination: 7-14
Mature: 50 days
Direct Sowing: In the fall, generously add compost or other organic matter to the soil where you plan to grow the peas. If possible mix wood ash into the soil prior to planting in the spring. In early spring (4-6 weeks before the last spring frost or St. Patrick's Day), sow seed in well drained soil with a pH of 6.0 - 7.5. Sow no deeper than 2 - 4 times the seed diameter. If you want to speed up germination, soak the seeds in a bowl of water overnight. Do not sow in waterlogged soil. If spring in your area tends to be long & wet, plant in raised beds. Harvest in approximately 50 days. Seeds sprout in 7-14 days. Sow again in late summer for a fall crop. Note: Fall crops tend to be less prolific than spring crops.
Harvest: In the morning after the dew has dried, carefully cut or pick ripe pods from the vine. Hold the vine securely with one hand so that you do not tug out the plant. Harvesting plump green pods will encourage the plant to produce more pods.
Seed Savers: Isolate varieties by 1/8 mile for home use, or 1/4 to 1/2 mile or greater for pure seed. Allow the largest pods to dry naturally on the vine. When they are fully dry, clip the pods off of the vines. Remove the husks & save the largest of the dried peas. You can save the smaller peas for home consumption, feed them to your chickens, or toss them in your compost. Store the dried seed peas in a airtight container in a dark, dry, cool location. You can also store them in the freezer. Seeds should stay viable for about 3-4 years.
Weeds & Water: Weed barrier fabric helps to both suppress weeds & keep more moisture in the soil where the plants need it. I have tried a wide range of weed barrier fabrics from free to more expensive & have found this 12 year fabric by Dewitt performs the best.
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