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Jul 6, 2009 05:04 PM

Snow pea problem -- help, please?

I've been having a frustrating time with snow peas this year. The seeds sprout and grow well, put out flowers, produce a couple of pods and then start to die. The foliage slowly turns white, most of the flowers dry up and the pods that do develop are stunted. I've been growing them in large black plastic pots and large clay pots both in the sun and also in light shade. I've grown snow peas successfully in the past -- what is happening? It's driving me crazy because the plants are fine for weeks, then they fade away. I haven't been fertilizing, but the potting soil is fresh. I don't think water is an issue. I'm growing Oregon Sugar Pod II, in the S.F. Bay Area. Any thoughts?

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    1. re: dfrostnh

      That's what it sounds like to me too. You might try looking for a resistant variety. Also, make sure that there's plenty of air circulation around the plants, and don't get the plants wet when you water.

      (And it's a little late now to start snow peas, even in the SF Bay. Too warm. Wait until late August to plant again.)

    2. Sorry, I should have been clear: it's not powdery mildew. I can see why my use of the word "white" would make you think that it was. The plants seem to wither away just as they are starting to produce. Well, I'm out of seeds now anyway. When I try again in the fall I'll seed into the ground instead of into pots and see if that makes a difference.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Glencora

        Now it sounds like plain old die-off, probably from heat.

        I think your plan of waiting until fall and direct seeding is a good one. (One problem with fall plantings, at least up here, an hour north of you -- once the sparrows and juncos roll into town, you'll need to protect the seedlings from them. Anything below 8" tall they'll eat right down to the ground. Around here, they show up in mid-September or so. Something to keep in mind.)

      2. Could be pea enation virus. We have that up here in the Pacific NW and I always have to (1) plant early and (2) use resistant varieties. Does it look like this:


        4 Replies
          1. re: PAO

            It does seem to be some sort of virus. My plants look more like figure 5. (clover yellow vein virus). This is the first year I've had the problem. I guess I'll do more investigation and try to buy resistant seed. And since it's probably not weather-related, I won't keep moving my pots around as I have been for the last 4 months. Phooey. Thanks for the link.

            1. re: Glencora

              I don't think that's the problem, mainly because Oregon Sugar Pod II is one of the varieties resistant to pea enation virus:


              Of course, resistant doesn't mean immune, but I've had great success with that pea, and I'm in San Francisco. But I've only grown them in the ground. If you used a different potting mix than in the past, that would be my prime suspect.

              1. re: Zeldog

                That's a thought. It could be the cheap Home Depot potting soil.