Monday, 23 October 2017

Pondering Picking Peas

Peas emerging 19th April
For the first time we have no-tilled all of the hand picked peas up on the Bredon Hill.  Previously the crop had been cultivated to create the seedbed to plant into.  Historically the fields would have been ploughed in the autumn and left bare over winter, then cultivated ahead of the drill (planter).  More recently the fields were cultivated (quite deeply) ahead of the drill and then planted, but not any longer!  The picture above shows the peas emerging through a sprayed off cover crop of oats.  The oats were planted the previous autumn and left to grow over the winter.  The plants were using the sunshine and nutrients available to them to capture carbon, in the form of plant material-roots, stems and leaves and also feeding the biological process in the soil with sugars which the plant releases through the roots.
Peas in row 11th May
Once the crop was sprayed off with glyphostate, to kill all the green material, the seeder planted the peas.  It was a very dry spring this year but by not cultivating the soil we held all the available moisture-enough to get our crops to establish very evenly.
Peas meeting across the row 26th May
As you can see from the pictures above the crop established very well and continued to grow on and produce a very good yield of quality peas for the fresh vegetable market.  This year the fields designed for peas have once again been cover cropped with oats and they are preparing the seedbed for next years peas which we will start to plant from the end on March 2018.