The Q&A Archives: Poor Pea Germination Rate

Question: I've been planting peas in the same beds in late March for the past five years. The soil is well drained and has adequate organic matter. For the first three years, germination rates were great. During the last two seasons, the weather was cold and wet, and the germination rate was poor. Would treating my pea seeds with captan help? If so, where could I mail order it?

Answer: Sounds like your garden is a candidate for some of the disease-resistant pea varieties such as Maestro or Sugar Daddy. It would also help if you rotated your pea crops, planting them in a different bed each year. By continually planting in the same bed you run the risk of overwintering pathogens and insects attacking the peas as they emerge.

Captan is a fungicide, but it's not labeled for use on pea seeds prior to planting. As a matter of fact, the literature specifically states that it shouldn't be used on food crops.

Try sowing your seeds a week or two later than usual, to allow the soil to dry out a little more, and choose a disease resistant pea for next spring's crop.

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