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Austrian Winter Peas

 
master pollinator
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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I have my turnips and kale and mustards and carrots in the ground and sprouting now. Yay!

Now I am wondering where to put the austrian winter peas that i had forgoten about...

My garden is set up in ground level beds, roughly 4 feet wide by 25 feet long.
I have my plants in rows roughly 8 inches apart. Would the austrian winter peas be happy in between those plants? Or must I throw them under a tree somewhere...? I may put them in my planned winter fallow area. It is kinda larger than I'd anticipated... This is my first time with these peas.

Thoughts?

Oh, in my climate most of these brassica overwinter pretty well without protection. Some winters they may look rather sad for a couple of weeks, but there are very few freeze killings.

Rape is one brassica that does not do well over wintering. Bye bye sweet greens.
 
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Sorry no idea on peas, other than are they high or low type? That may dictate where they need to go. wow you can't overwinter rape? It's about the only brassica that will overwinter here, well if you can keep the pigeons off it.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Short, tall? I dunno. Bountiful gardens has this to say about them...

https://www.bountifulgardens.org/products/CAU-6920
Small, yellow soup peas with dark skins.
The green shoots make a wonderful winter salad crop, hardy down to 0 degrees.
Along with kale and spinach, you can have your own fresh salad all winter!
Hardy to zone 7 or 6 with row cover use - harvest growing tips often.
BOTANICAL NAME: Pisum sativum
GROWING INSTRUCTIONS:
A cold hardy field-pea. Sow in fall for winter growth (and to protect soil from erosion) & turn them under, or harvest for the compost pile, in the spring. Does well on poor soil & will fix nitrogen in the soil. For best growth and nitrogen production inoculate the seed before planting. Does not need a lot of water or care. May self-seed. Can be used for cattle fodder. The peas can be used dried for soup but are not good for fresh eating.   The shoots and leafy growing tips of the plants are popular for fresh eating, and make fine winter salad fare.
GROW BIOINTENSIVE® CULTURAL INFORMATION: C, W/Matures 17/Harvest 8-12/Yield 10/Spacing 5"
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Easy to grow and tolerates winter cold From the December 2014 Mother Earth News: "You can plant Austrian winter peas in late summer or fall, and then harvest the shoots for as long as eight months in many regions (October to May). I plant them in the fall in time for them to grow 8 to 12 inches before freezing temperatures arrive, and the peas overwinter just fine with no protection most years. Last winter was an especially cold one, yet I continued to harvest the winter pea shoots, along with kale and spinach, for terrific fresh, green salads right through the cold snaps."

"...grow 8 to 12 inches before freezing temperatures arrive..." Does this mean this is the height it reaches, or just as tall as it got before the weather turned?
 
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The strain of Austrian winter peas that I grow have been hardy in USDA zone 4b (typically with snowcover) for the past 10 years. They are largish sprawling plants. They set seed very late in the growing season, so if you are growing them for seed, expect them take up the bed for most of the season, and to sprawl all over anything else in the bed. If you are only growing them as a cover crop, then they will get along fine with the other things until pulled in the spring.

 
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I'm in about the same climate and I love love love winter peas! I use them because they broadcast seed readily, but I suppose you could plant them in prepared soil. Honestly if I plant them just before a good rain the germination and see set are fantastic. I only had a few last year as a contaminant and I liked them so much I planted a whole bunch this year. I have not tried eating the seeds in soup but I have nibbled the greens, and they are delicious. This spring I should have enough that I can steal them and eat seeds, last year I saved as many as possible.

 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

The strain of Austrian winter peas that I grow have been hardy in USDA zone 4b (typically with snowcover) for the past 10 years. They are largish sprawling plants. They set seed very late in the growing season, so if you are growing them for seed, expect them take up the bed for most of the season, and to sprawl all over anything else in the bed. If you are only growing them as a cover crop, then they will get along fine with the other things until pulled in the spring.



I'd love to try out your strain of peas once they're available through Experimental Farm Network. This year, I'm experimenting with common vetch (Vicia sativa) since it's related to fava beans and can still handle the winters of my climate, but I'm always looking for other cover crops to keep plants in the ground all winter. I'll see how the Austrian Winter Peas I got through Victory Seeds work out next Winter and then maybe I can test out your pea strain.

Given the thickness of the clay soil in my growing region, I wonder how poor drainage would affect the Winter survival rate of your strain of peas since the loamy soils of northern Utah seem to be better drained than the heavy clay of southwest Ohio.
 
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Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Austrian winter pea tips are our abundant winter green.
I plant a large part of our main garden in them as a cover crop every year.
They've just now survived temperatures this past week in the single digits and teens along with a foot or so of snow and came out looking as good as ever.

Pick just the tip, where it is easy to break...chop and throw in on top of whatever we are cooking, usually a big pan of mixed vegetables, and lightly steam.
Fresh is good too...such intense flavor!

Later in the spring I'll scythe some of them in order to plant some things and leave the rest to crowd the Bermuda grass and flower, then scythe more for mulch.  Last year I found I could scythe them twice.
Along our fences I plant them thick and let them hang on to the welded wire fence...they get more than five feet tall.  Those I've been letting flower and go to seed so they will reseed thickly...it's working so far.
 
Judith Browning
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I found some photos from last March.  

This year I planted the peas even thicker, a few weeks earlier and did not sow oats in with them.  

Now in February, even with the cold and snow, the vines are quite a bit longer.

In the first picture there is a fresh scythed strip in the middle.

I sowed the peas and oats everywhere and regretted them in among my flowers and things as they outgrew all and fell over and if I wanted to cut them back it was a bit tedious getting in around everything.
IMG_1353.JPG
austrian winter peas and oats march 2020
austrian winter peas and oats march 2020
IMG_1226.JPG
austrian winter peas and oats march 2020
austrian winter peas and oats march 2020
IMG_1230.JPG
austrian winter peas and oats 2020
austrian winter peas and oats 2020
 
gardener
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Judith, those are beautiful pictures!  Is there any chance that any of your garden survived last week?

Eric
 
Judith Browning
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Eric Hanson wrote:Judith, those are beautiful pictures!  Is there any chance that any of your garden survived last week?

Eric



oh yes  and thank you!
The peas have survived single digit temps and a foot of snow that has just now completely melted off.  We ate some during the freeze where it was so cold the frozen tips broke easily...now after the melt we had a big batch yesterday that showed no signs of damage.

As far as other things surviving, time will tell...I expect some damage and maybe to lose some things but most should be just fine.  I think the snow helped insulate during the worst of the cold and nothing was early budding this year like some years.

We've had a particularly steady cold winter this year...almost better than those where we get a warm up in February and things start budding and blooming and then get bit with a late freeze.

 
Eric Hanson
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Wow!  

Judith, that’s great!  I guess Austrian Winter Peas are the real winter survivors!  I am not certain what your temperatures were or exactly how much snow you got (I had at least-2 and 8” of snow on top of 1” of sleet).  But in any case, I might have to think about overwintering with Austrian Winter Peas next year.

Eric
 
Judith Browning
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Eric Hanson wrote:Wow!  

Judith, that’s great!  I guess Austrian Winter Peas are the real winter survivors!  I am not certain what your temperatures were or exactly how much snow you got (I had at least-2 and 8” of snow on top of 1” of sleet).  But in any case, I might have to think about overwintering with Austrian Winter Peas next year.

Eric



The last cold week we had lows down to a couple degrees below zero, and low single digits...enough that 15 was feeling like a warm up.  There were a couple days where the high was below twenty.  The whole winter has been steady cold though, lots of nights into the low twenties and below freezing days.

and a good foot of snow total completely covering the peas and everything.  I'll see if I took any pictures that direction...in the end I was tired of taking 'snow' photos so might not have got the garden.
 
Eric Hanson
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Judith,

You had a bit more snow than we did.  Our heat pump thermometer (right next to the house, always reads warm) read -2.  We had a day where the high was about 7.  A couple other days struggled to make 15.  I grew up well north of here but it was still cold weather, especially for here.  I am kinda glad I didn’t try to grow an over winter crop as mine probably would have died—I had not thought of Austrian Winter Peas but I am going to look seriously into them now.

Eric
 
Judith Browning
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I took some pictures just now and then found one from just a few days ago that shows the edge of where the big garden is in the snow off to the right and another that has the garden to the left.  
With snow cover the yard was all one

We ate sautéed pea tips for lunch with rice and cheese.

The wire tunnels in the last photo are protecting some perennial arugula, cilantro and chard.  I expect the arugula to survive but not the others.
IMG_7927-(3).JPG
7" plus 4" of snow....garden is off to the left
snow cover a few days ago garden to the right
IMG_8059-(2).JPG
austrian winter peas February 23 after snow melt
austrian winter peas February 23 after snow melt
IMG_8066-(2).JPG
beds of austrian winter peas February 23 after snow melt
beds of austrian winter peas February 23 after snow melt
IMG_7886-(2).JPG
snow cover a few days ago garden to the left
snow cover a few days ago garden to the left
 
Eric Hanson
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Judith, I am looking at all 4 of your pictures, the verdant green ones and the brilliant white snowy ones and I have to say that they look beautiful, even the snow covered pictures—but then I am somewhat of a misplaced snowbird anyways.

Eric
 
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