Organic Production of Garden Pea

Brij Bihari Sharma and Vinod Kumar Sharma

The concept of organic farming is receiving increased attention, and organic food markets are also expanding rapidly in many countries including India. The Indian pea  is  export in world market (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Nepal etc.) is estimated quantity 10, 04, 638 Kg which earn in term of values 2, 63, 73, 064 Rs. (N.H.B. 2010-11)  This organic market expansion makes it possible for farmers to sell their products at high price premiums. Most of the cultivated are in north western Himalayas of India including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and uttarakhand has largely remained organic by default. In view of renewed interest in organic farming and demand for organic products worldwide including India, these areas have vast potential to emerge as major suppliers of organic products. However, lack of systematic research on organic farming and unavailability of packages and practices for garden pea limit the realization of higher yields under organic mode of cultivation.

Climate

Peas are grown in varied climatic conditions. It requires cold and dry climate. The longer cold spell helps in increasing yield. Pea seed can germinate even at a minimum temperature of 5º C but the process is slow. The optimum temperature for germination is about 22 ºC. At higher temperature, germination is rapid.  Peas thrive best in cool weather but do not grow well in hot weather. The optimum mean temperature for good growth is between 10 º to 18 º C. it is tolerant to frost at early stages of growth. The flowers and pods are affected, whereas leaves and stem are not damaged by frost.

Soil and field requirements

For organic production, give priority to fields with excellent soil tilth, high organic matter, good drainage and airflow. Early crop should be sown on light soils, where as heavier yields are obtained fom well drained, loose, friable and heavy soils, like silt loam or clay loam in which roots can penetrate deep. It does not thrive well in highly acidic or alkaline soils or saline soils. It grows best at pH 6.5. If the pH is less than 5.5 liming is essential. Healthy soil is the basis of organic farming. Regular additions of organic matter in the form of cover crops, compost, or manure create a soil that is biologically active, with good structure and capacity to hold nutrients and water (note that any raw manure applications should occur at least 120 days before harvest). Decomposing plant materials will support a diverse pool of microbes, including those that break down organic matter into plant available nutrients as well as others that compete with plant pathogens in the soil and on the root surface.

Certification Requirements

ertifying agencies have requirements that affect field selection. Fields cannot be treated with prohibited products for three years prior to the harvest of a certified organic crop. Adequate buffer zones are required between certified organic and conventionally grown crops. Buffer zones must be a barrier, such as a diversion ditch or dense hedgerow, or be a distance large enough to prevent drift of prohibited materials onto certified organic fields. An organic crop should not be grown near a genetically engineered crop of the same species. Check with your certifier for specific buffer requirements. These buffers commonly range between 20 to 250 feet depending on adjacent field practices.

Crop Rotation Plan

A careful crop rotation plan is the cornerstone of organic crop production because it allows the grower to improve soil quality and proactively manage pests.

Pest History

It is important to know the pest history for each field to plan a successful cropping strategy. For example, avoid fields that contain heavy infestations of perennial weeds such as nutsedge, bindweed, and quack grass as these weeds are particularly difficult to control. If possible, peas should not be grown in fields with a history of root rot problems, but if there is no choice, plant on raised beds and when conditions favor rapid germination and root development. Peas are a host for root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne hapla, and root-lesion nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans. It isimportant to know whether or not these nematodes arepresent in the field in order to develop long-term croprotations and cropping sequences that either reduce thepopulations in heavily infested fields or minimize theirincrease in fields that have no to low infestation levels.

Soil and Air Drainage

Peas are very susceptible to root diseases and need excellent drainage and soil structure. Uniform soils are preferred because peas mature faster on well-drained soils than on heavier soils. Any practice that promotes drying or drainage of excess water from the root zone will minimize favourable conditions for infection and disease development.

Important varieties

Variety selection is important both for the horticultural characteristics specified by the processor and the pest resistance profile that will be the foundation of a pest management program. If disease pressures are known, Table 1 can help to determine which varieties will be more successful in reducing disease problems. Collaborate with processors on varieties, choosing those with some level of disease resistance if possible. A certified organic farmer is required to plant certified organic seed. If, after contacting at least three suppliers, organic seed is not available for a particular variety, then the certifier may allow untreated conventional seed to be used. Varieties for different agro-climatic zones, diagnostic features, include local low input requiring varieties. 

Table 1 :  Important varieties

Cultivar

Special  Characteristics

Alaska

Early, smooth seeded, canning purpose.

Alderman

Excellent for home gardening, shipment and freezing and suitable for hills.

Arkel

Early wrinkled seeded, occupies large are in northern and central India.

 Asauji

Dwarf, early, smooth seeded cultivar

Azad pea-1

Pods smooth, dark green, very tightly filled, this variety escapes powdery mildew and rust.

Azad pea-2

Powdery mildew resistant variety, suitable for cultivation in late sown condition and powdery mildew prone areas of Punjab, U.P. Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi, M.P. and Maharashtra.

Bonneville

Wrinkled seeded mid season most popular, highly susceptible for powdery mildew.

Early Badger

 Dwarf early wrinkled-seeded, good for canning purpose. It is resistant to fusarium wilt and tolerates heat and drought.

Early Giant

Late variety suited  to hills of  Himachal Pradesh

Hisar Harit

 Semi dwarf and early, this escapes powdery mildew and rust

Jawahar Matar-2

 Bigger pods sweet ovules, shells are comparatively thicker and have better keeping quality suitable for transportation

Jawahar Peas-4(JP-4)

 Most suitable to hilly areas and can be planted in August when the prevailing temperature is low.

Jawahar Matar(JM-5)

Plants are 1.5 - 2.0, immune to powdery mildew

Jawahar Peas (JP-83)

Mid season powdery mildew resistant variety. The pods are bigger and 8 green sweet ovules

Khapar Kheda

Tall growing double podded, 50 % shelling percentage  and very popular in M.P.

Kashi Nandini

 Early maturing, shelling percentage 47 -48 and average yield is 110-120 q/ha.

Kashi Udai

Early maturing, yield is 100 -110 q/ha

 Kashi Shakti

Medium maturing, yield 140 -160 q/ha

 Kashi Mukti

Early maturing  powdery mildew resistant  variety yield 110-120 q/ha

 Kashi Kanak

Early maturing first picking is done 55-58 days. Green pod yield 60- 80 q/ha

 Kashi Arati

 Mid season  variety, average yield 80-120 q/ha

Matar Ageta -6

It can withstand high temperature, prevalent at the time of planting in northern India.

NDVP-8

 Mid season variety, recommended for cultivation in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

Palam Priya

 Medium maturity, high yielding and resistant to powdery mildew

Perfection New line

 Heavy yielding mid- season variety

PRS-4

Medium duration variety with powdery mildew resistance

Sylvia

Edible podded and tall growing variety

Thomas Laxton

Pods are excellent quality, green colored seed and suitable for freezing.

Vivek -6

Smooth pods. It is tolerant to cold and moisture stress conditions. It is recommended for cultivation in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J &K , Haryana, Delhi , and Rajasthan

Vivek Matar- 8

 Medium mature variety posses moderate resistance to powdery mildew, alternaria blight and white rot disease as well as cold and moisture stress conditions.

VL-7

Early maturing and high yielding variety, grain bold very sweet with high T.S.S. (16.8 %). it is free from the incidence of powdery mildew

Seed rate/ seed treatment/ seed preparation for sowing

The field should be prepared well by 2-3 ploughings. The soil should not be very pulverized and fine, however, it must be free from weeds and stubbles of the kharif crop grown earlier. Well decomposed FYM @ 25-30 T/ha along with 100 kg dolomite/ha should be applied during final ploughing. After ploughing the field should be levelled well for proper distribution of irrigation of water.   In the plains of north India, sowing starts from first fortnight of October and continues up to the end of November, for early market, the rounded seed cultivar s even sown in second fortnight of September and for off season Feb-March is suitable time for sowing.

About 100-120 kg seed is required for one hectare in early dwarf cultivars and 80 – 90 kg per hectare in mid season and late cultivars. Singh and Singh (2003) reported Azad P-1 and Narendra Sabji Matar-2 with the application of 75 kg/ha seed rate and medium fertility level of NPK (35:75:50 kg/ha).

Seed  treatment

The seeds must be treated before sowing to avoid losses due to fungal disease.  Seed treatment with Thiram + Bavistin ( 2g + 1 g/ kg)  is desirable and beneficial. In general, seed does not need to be inoculated with symbiotic bacteria that fix nitrogen unless it has been more that 5 years since the last legume crop or unless the field has low nitrogen levels.Pea seeds may be treated with Rhizobium culture. The bacteria used for inoculation is Rhizobium leguminosarum. This will not only help to fix atmospheric nitrogen but also reduces the manure application. There are three methods by which pea seeds can be treated. The methods are as follows: 

Seed treatment: Depending on seed rate, the required amount of jaggery is boiled in water and cooled. Rhizobium inoculation (1.5 kg/ha) is sprinkled, mixed in jaggery solution and mixed with seed followed by drying in shade.

Soil treatment: The Rhizobium inoculum is mixed with required amount of soil and spread over the field.

Soil application: If  Rhizobium inoculum is not available, 200 kg of soil (2-10 cm surface soil) can be collected from a particular area, where Rhizobium had been applied before or leguminous crop had been cultivated luxuriantly, should be broadcasted over the field.

Note: The seed should not be exposed to direct sunlight after treatment with Rhizobium inoculum. It should be kept in our mind that this inoculation may add nitrogen up to 50 kg per hectare.

Planting /sowing methods

Pea seeds can be drilled by local implements or by tractor hauled seed drills. Seeds should be sown 2-3 cm deep in the soil. the drilling or dibbling can be done in rows placed 30 cm apart.

Spacing

Spacing is recommended 22.5 – 30 cm between rows and 3.75 – 5 cm between plants in early sown dwarf cultivars and 30 – 37.5 cm under non- irrigated condition and 45 – 60 cm under irrigated conditions in tall cultivars. In hilly region, peas are generally staked, especially the tall cultivars. However, staking cannot be practiced on commercial scale because it is very expensive.

Nutrient management

The challenge in organic systems is balancing soil fertility to supply these required plant nutrients at a time and at sufficient levels to support healthy plant growth. Restrictions in any one of the needed nutrients will slow growth and can reduce crop quality and yields. Organic growers often speak of feeding the soil rather than feeding the plant. Hence the total nutrient requirement should be supplied through organic manure. For an ideal crop it is required to apply about 25-30 tonnes/ha of well decomposed organic manure like compost or FYM in case of very light soils. Besides application of manures, it is essential to treat the seed with Rhizobium inoculum for better nodulation, plant vigour and higher grain yield. Initially the crop should be supplied with vermicompost/bokashe/oil cakes or any organic manure @10kg/acre as a starter dose. Jaipaul et al., 2011   were found effect of different organic manures in comparison to inorganic inputs on growth, yield, and quality attributes of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.). The integrated nutrient management treatment was found to be significantly superior to the others and recorded 6.61 tonnes/ha green pod yield and amongst organics, poultry manure + biofertilizers was found to be better compared to others. Enhancement in yield and other attributes with poultry manure may be due to availability of more nutrients to the plants.Singh et al., ( 2011)  found seed inoculation with Rhizobium coupled with soil application of organic manures, particularly vermicompost (10 tones/ ha) significantly enhanced most of the growth and yield attributes in garden pea.

Irrigation / water management:

Presowing irrigation is essential for proper germination if the soil is dry. Generally 2-3 irrigation is required. Soil moisture deficit reduces growth and also hampers nodulation. Frequent irrigation should always be avoided (as excess moisture results in yellowing of crop reducing the yield) but the crop must be provided irrigation at the pod filling stage and when frost is expected during the growth period. Furrow irrigation is generally used for irrigating peas but sprinkler irrigation method is better. Moisture stress conditions during flowering and subsequent pod filling stage badly hampers the yield and quality of the pods. Singh et al., 2001 reported application of irrigation at various physiological growth stages either alone or in combination, increased green pod yield significantly over rain fed situation. Irrigation each at branching, flowering and pod filling stages proved most effective in producing green pods. Irrigating crop two times (branching and flowering stage) also gave better yields.

Intercultural practices

Weeding : Generally 2 to 3 weedings are necessary to keep the field free from weeds. Manual weeding is better than mechanical weeding as it may damage the root system. Weeding at later stages is avoided as it may also damage the crop by trumping and mechanical breakage of tender and succulent stems and branches.

Mulching: Bakht et al., (2009) white polyethylene, black polyethylene, wheat straw, newspaper, and saw dust as well as hand weeding and a weedy check. All mulches were effective and produced better results as compared to weedy check, but due to their better performance newspapers and polyethylene (black) are recommended for the environment friendly and sustainable control of weeds and realizing better yields of edible pea.

Cover crop: Cover crops help maintain soil organic matter, improve soil tilth, prevent erosion and assist in nutrient management. They can also contribute to weed management, increase water infiltration, maintain populations of beneficial fungi, and may help control insects, diseases and nematodes. A certified organic farmer is required to plant certified organic cover crop seed. If, after contacting at least three suppliers, organic seed is not available, then the certifier may allow conventional seed to be used.

Plant protection practices

It is important to know the pest history for each field to plan a successful cropping strategy. For example, avoid fields that contain heavy infestations of perennial weeds such as nutsedge, bindweed, and quackgrass as these weeds are particularly difficult to control.

Disease Management:

 Pea crop suffers mostly by powdery mildew, wilt, and root rot.

Wilt of Pea (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi):

Symptoms: The plants become stunted, pale yellow green, with leaves curled downward. The stem becomes thickened and brittle at ground level.

Control measures:

  1. Select wilt resistant varieties.
  2. Avoid early sowing to escape high humidity and high temperature which are congenial for the disease.
  3. Crop rotation for at least 2-3 years with suitable non-leguminous crops should be followed.

Powdery mildew of Pea (Erysiphe pisi):

The disease occurs worldwide and much more serious than other diseases of pea because it occurs more frequently and covers a larger host surface area.

Symptoms: Its attack is characterized by the formation of white floury patches on both sides of the leaf as well as on tendrils, pods and stems. These patches originate as minute discolored specks from which a powdery mass radiates on all sides.

Control Measures:

Burn infected pea stubble soon after harvest where practicable.

  1. Avoid late sowing of the crop.
  2. Avoid sowing field pea crops adjacent to last season’s stubble.
  3. Control volunteer field peas which can harbour disease.
  4. Leave 4 years between field pea crops in the same paddock.
  5. Several fungi such as Ampelomyces, Cladosporium, Tilletiopsis Verticillium and insects (Thrips tabaci) have been reported to parasitize the powdery mildew on host surface.
  6. Spray of 10% cow milk controls the disease.

Downy Mildew of Pea (Peronospora pisi Syd.):

The disease of field pea is common in Indo-Gangetic plains. The damage is not so much. 

Damage and Symptoms:. The plant will develop lesions that are greenish, yellow to brown in color on the upper leaf surfaces and mouse-grey, fluffy areas on the undersides of the leaves directly under the upper lesions.

Control Measures:

  1. Use resistant cultivars.
  2. Crop rotation for at least 2-3 years helps in reducing the primary inoculum.
  3. The diseased plants should be removed and burnt soon after detecting in the field.

Rust   of Pea (Uromyces     spp.):

Two species of Uromyces occur on cultivated pea viz. Uromyces pisi and U. fabae.

Symptoms: The earliest symptom is the development of aecia in round or elongated clusters in February or even later. Pycnia are infrequent or rather inconspicuous. The uredial pustules develop on both surfaces of the leaves as well as on other parts. They present a powdery, light brown appearance. The telia occur in the same sorus as the uredia and develop from the same mycelium.

Control Measures:

  1. Destroy all diseased plant debris after harvest.
  2. Follow suitable crop rotation with non-leguminous crops.

Insect-pests: 

Pod Borers (Etiella zinckenella and Helicoverpa armigera):

Damage and Symptom: The caterpillars enter the pods and feed on the seeds. The caterpillars also consume flowers. Consumed flowers and holes on the pods are the characteristics of this pest. The pest becomes more serious especially in North India. 
Control Measures:

  1. Deep ploughing is likely to kill the diapausing pupae.
  2. The pest population can be kept under control by spraying botanical pesticide prepared from neem seed.
  3. Use of NPV and Bt is also effective.

Pea leaf-miner (Phytomyza atricornis):

It is a major polyphagus pest of pea. 

Damage and Symptom:Adults puncture the leaf either to lay eggs or to feed on the plant sap while the larvae feed on the leaf tissues as they mine.

Control Measures:

  1. Cultural control: Remove and destroy the infested leaves identified by the mines   and blotches.
  2. Biological control: The maggots of this pest are parasitized by the hymenopterans Solenotus sp. and Neochrysocharis sp. and Opius sp.

Harvesting and Post harvest Handling:

Green pods of pea are picked by hand at weekly intervals, either in early morning or late afternoon. In the USA and European countries pea is harvested by machines and tendrometer is used to determine the tenderness quality of pods for harvesting. The early varieties are harvested 50- 60 days of sowing, mid- season in 80-90 days and late varieties in 100 – 120 days. Peas will be ready for harvest about three weeks after blossoms appear. Pick peas every day to encourage a greater harvest. Pick snap peas when the pods are plump and bright green; pick garden or English peas for shelling when they are plump as well. Pick snow peas while the pods are still nearly flat–the seed will be barely developed. Pinch pea pods away from the vine with your finger and thumbnail or use a scissors. Hold the upper stem with one hand and pinch the pod away with the other; to avoid injuring the plant avoid pulling pods away from the stem.

The green pods may be handled carefully. Proper storage at at low temperature and humidity may prolong the availability duration of green peas and reduce the losses to fungal disease 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.

Storage:

Fresh peas can be kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Green pods can be stored at 0° C and 90 percent relative humidity for one two weeks. The sugar in them quickly begins to turn to starch even while under refrigeration. As much as 40 percent of the sugar is converted in a few hours. Fresh peas are canned and kept in Brian solution for 3-4 months.

Certification standards

  • Organic trade warrants that products carry a certification mark, which guarantees genuineness in the production system and conforms to the standards required. This guarantees consumers that the products they are purchasing are genuinely organic and that the integrity of the product is maintained from farm to plate. Our farms, processing, packaging, storage & export units are monitored and certified by One Cert USA. Our organic products conform to the strict European Union's (EEC) 2092/91, USDA NOP and Indian NPOP standard of organic agriculture.
    India has evolved the national standards for organic products keeping in view the traditional with the scientific approach. These standards are ion conformity to the international standards of the European Union Movements (IFOAM).  
  • Government of India has identified six Accreditation Agencies for certification or organic products. They are APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, GOI), These Accreditation Agencies will strive to achieve a socially beneficial goal through the certification programmers combined with a collective quality symbol. Based on the criteria drawn for accreditation, the Accreditation Agencies in turn would identify the inspection and certifying agencies for accreditation of their certification programme. They will operate certification programmes in the following areas: (1) Organic production (2) Organic processing (3) providing test standards
  • Inspections will be carried out by the accredited inspection and certifying agencies at all stages of production and processing with regular check on all operators (farmers and processors) in accordance with the principles in the basic standards.
  • Organic products produced under the national standards would be certified and approved by the accredited inspection and certifying agencies for labeling as “India Organic”. The labeled products would provide the consumer with the best possible guarantee of organic origin, production, processing and packaging (Gouri, 2004). The basic standards are provided in the pages to follow. The following foreign certification agencies have been accredited for certification by APEDA. (i) IMO, Switzerland (ii) Eco-Cert, Germany (iii) Skal, the Netherlands (iv) SGS, Switzerland

 Yield:

The average yield of green pods in early varieties is less than mid and late maturing varieties. The yield in early varieties may yield up to 12 tonnes per hectare.


Authors:

Brij Bihari Sharma*and Vinod Kumar Sharma1

Division of Vegetable Science, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa Campus New   Delhi-110012,

 1IARI Regional Research Station Katrain Dist- Kullu Valley (H.P.)- 175129

*Corresponding Authour’s email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.