Monday, May 26, 2008

Hydroponic Gardening - Peas

When I was young, I was like most kids and would not eat peas—until my mother came up with calling them “nice, green peas”. I ate them like there was no tomorrow. With hydroponics, you can turn all your peas into “nice, green peas” that are full of nutrition and taste unlike traditionally grown peas.

Before setting up to grow your peas, you will need to select the variety you prefer, bush or vining. This will help determine how much space you will need, as well as whether or not some type of support will be necessary. Peas grow best in cooler temperatures and require growing material, such as perlite, that does not hold moisture too long. One of the most important things to monitor when you grow your peas is the pH balance, as pea plants are very sensitive to acidity levels. Finally, you will need some type of lighting to keep your peas healthy.

Bush peas can be trimmed back when between six and eight inches high. By trimming the tip and first set of leaves, two branches will sprout. This encourages the plant to grow outward instead of just upward. For vining varieties of peas, you will need to have some type of support in place. An ideal solution to this is to have a rope hanging from one end of the growing area to the other. Each plant then has a string leading upward from the plant. This enables the pea plant to be wrapped around the rising line as it grows. This not only allows for less space being needed per plant, but also enables the available light to evenly fall on the upper and lower leaves.

Temperatures in your hydroponic growing environment need to be on the rather cool side for growing peas. While peas can withstand temperatures as low as twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal growing temperature is between fifty-five and sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature falls too low, the flowers will become sterile. Acidity needs to be constantly monitored. Peas grow best when the pH level is between 6.0 and 7.0. If it falls below this level, calcium uptake by your peas will be jeopardized.

Either high-pressure sodium light or low-pressure sodium light can be used as supplementary lighting in your hydroponic growing area. Make sure the lamps are positioned so that the lower parts of your pea plants receive an adequate amount of light. When there is insufficient light, the plants grow taller and spindlier, reducing their strength.

Finally, to help ensure your peas get the best nutrition possible and become “nice, green peas” instead of plain old peas, you should check out the seven best-kept secrets of hydroponics and subscribe to the Advanced Nutrients newsletter at Advanced Nutrients is the world’s foremost supplier of hydroponic nutrients to discriminating growers everywhere.

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