Vegetables and Fruit forum: Let peas die back or cut them back?

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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Jun 22, 2014 3:03 PM CST
The plan was to let them die back, but the spring has been cool enough they haven't done that yet. We've harvested plenty of peas but I'm not seeing as many flowers anymore. The melons, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes planted in with them are ready to start growing up the trellis, but I'm a little worried there will be lack of air circulation because the peas are still so full and leafy.

Some of the squash and the cucumbers aren't waiting for me to figure out what I want to do, but the rest are still only a few inches tall. Should I cut the peas back or just lay them down sideways or something while they finish up? I really want to keep them so they can continue contributing nitrogen, but just worried about air circulation.

Have I already talked myself into a solution in there somewhere...?
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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SCButtercup
Jun 24, 2014 4:19 AM CST
I always cut back peas then compost the vines, I have limited growing area and needed the space for young pepper plants.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jun 24, 2014 6:35 AM CST
lovesblooms,
Most varieties of peas will end up producing bitter and/or starchy pea when produced during the heat of the summer so it might not be worth waiting for them, especially since you've already gotten a nice harvest of the tastier ones.

I pull my pea vines and use them as mulch around my tomato plants. Just pull the vines loose at the soil line leaving the roots in the ground. As the roots decompose the nitrogen in them will be released into the soil.

By the way, "Wando" pea is a nice variety for being able to handle the heat much better than others. You may want to give it a try sometime.

Shoe
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Jun 25, 2014 8:26 AM CST
Thank you both. I went ahead and snipped them yesterday.

Another question: what do you do when you do get wilt? One of my cucumbers has it already, and it's just started flowering. I never found a single beetle near them, but that made me even more sure they'd been there at some point. I was right, apparently.

I found a few (very few) at the base of my squash and dispatched them, and two leaf-footed bugs--got rid of those, too. But apparently there are more than I'm finding. I've found them in the soil around the base of the plant, never on the leaves, never any eggs anywhere, either. Where do you usually find them?

And what happens to the sick one now? Do I snip it now or just cut off the parts I can see are affected?
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jun 25, 2014 11:36 AM CST
If you're referring to bacterial wilt then your plant will soon die. There is no cure for it once infected. Cucumber beetles tend to carry the disease and then it moved into your plants from them. Squash bugs tend to suck the sap from the plants and cause what may look like bacterial wilt but it's really a loss of water and nutrients. Good luck controlling squash bugs; I think they are the hardest to keep under control in my garden.

Shoe

Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Jun 25, 2014 11:55 AM CST
Wow, so squash bug feeding can look like bacterial wilt but does not carry the disease? I hold out some hope, then, because when I tried the test for bacteria (looking for the stringy strands in the cut ends) I didn't see anything, and this puzzled me. Also, I have seen the yellow specks mentioned here: http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/cucs/squabug.htm. Holding my breath.

Just a bit before noon I was out and found a single squash bug and a single striped cucumber beetle, both in the soil at the base of the same melon plant. Nothing on or under any leaves of any of the cucurbits. I drowned the beetle in soapy spray and squished the squash bug after drenching it. I also fervently thanked an assassin beetle nymph that was jaws-deep into another cucumber beetle nearby--the only other one I found--from the bottom of my heart, the dear little bloodthirsty killer.

I know it only takes one bad bite, but I thought it was amazing that with such a teeny population I'm already down for the count. So again--holding my breath. Thanks for that extra bit of info to give me hope.

I'm going to try your method of spraying the leaves top-down a little later this afternoon and see what I find when I come back to spray and squish.

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