This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This highly popular and widely grown vegetable (Pisum sativum), though cultivated in enormous quantities by farmers, who use it as a catch crop on whole summer fallows, and cast the produce on to the market, all the family together, in bags, need not be neglected by the market gardener; because in all large centres of population there is a demand for Peas gathered with discrimination and sent up in baskets.
But the market gardener who goes in for Peas should make up his mind to maintain a regular supply of properly grown, well-picked, not over-matured pods. Once customers learn that he can be relied upon for this, he will find no trouble in disposing of his produce at fair prices, and need not be disturbed by the fluctuations of the bag trade. To do this the varieties to be sown must be selected with judgment each winter, ready for the coming season. Regular weekly sowings should be made of just such a quantity as the grower's scope of land will allow and his organization handle.
In the picking season he will require careful and constant oversight over the pickers. The sorts of Peas change so much every season, and new sorts become obsolete faster than ironclads, that it is almost useless to name sorts to sow. The following, however, may be regarded as good varieties for market-garden culture: Eclipse, The Pilot, and Thomas Laxton, for first earlies; Gradus, Telegraph, Duke of Albany, William Hurst, Dr. Maclean, Duke of York, Stratagem, etc, for main crops.
The worst thing that can be said against the Pea as a crop, from the market gardener's point of view, is that it is so difficult to keep the rows clear of weeds that frequently it leaves a legacy of seed to be contended with next year, the one year's seeding involving the trouble and expense of several years' weeding.
About 1000 pecks of Peas in pod, weighing about 6000 lb., and from 5000 to 6000 lb. of straw can be obtained from an acre of ground.
[W. G. L].
It is estimated that over 2000 ac. of Peas are annually grown in South Worcestershire; and practically the whole of these are early Peas, generally "Eclipse", supplemented by "William Hurst", "Daisy", and "Senator". "Eclipse" is the variety relied upon for the earliest. These are usually sown in January on warm and sheltered borders facing south, the succes-sional crop being sown practically at the same time on other borders and breadths between the lines of plum trees. The earliest on the borders are usually sown about 18 in. between the rows; the others in larger plots at about 24 in. Sticks are very seldom used. Mid-season varieties are very little grown; and late varieties are entirely omitted commercially. Peas are usually sown where Radishes, Marrows, or Cucumbers have been grown the previous season. [J. U].