Strip the pods from the vines and
place them in a warm, dry place to finish drying. If the weather is sunny and dry, we lay them out on
nursery trays on the top shelf of our garden shed for about a week. If the wet, cool weather of autumn has already begun we put the drying pods in baskets or cardboard boxes on shelves above our woodstove. Once we are sure they are thoroughly dry, we pop
the peas out of their pods, place in freezer-bags (properly labeled
with variety of seed and date) in the freezer, way in the back (or
bottom) -- in the coldest spot. Be sure the seeds are sealed in an airtight container as if exposed, the dry freezer-air can dry out your seeds and make them less viable. Leave them there until you're ready to plant
next year's cycle.
To prevent pea weevil damage to your seeds: Here in the Pacific NW, and in many other parts of the world, varieties of an insect called the Pea Weevil (Sitona lineatus) can destroy the peas you are saving as seed crop. As the peas mature in the pod, the weevil lays an egg in each pea. If you store these pea-seeds as-is, by spring time each one will have a tiny hole bored by the larvae, from the inside out, destroying the seeds' ability to sprout and grow. A year ago, we had a whole stash of our pea seeds destroyed from these weevils and we didn't want it to happen again.
|Signs of pea weevils
|Pea weevil cycle
In early January, we conducted a germination test. We wrapped about 50 seeds in a wet paper towel and kept them moist in a dish for five days. At that time, we counted how many had begun to sprout (about 40) which means they have a germination rate of at least 80%. This is excellent!
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