The peas (Pisum) belongs to the family of the fullerfruit (Fabaceae). There are more than 250 varieties, but of economic importance is only the garden pea (Pisum sativum) used as a food plant. There are plants of the same name-pea, e.g. The chick pea. These are not botanical relatives of the peas. The pea originally comes from Asia Minor and has been an important crop for thousands of years. It was once an important protein supplier for human nutrition. Today it is mainly used as a vegetable and animal feed. The pea is one of the world’s ten most important vegetables. It is grown in almost all countries of the world. The largest cultivation areas are in Europe, the USA; China and India. 95% of the peas that people consume are processed in the food industry and finally find their way to the table as a frozen or baked product. The pea was voted “Vegetable of the Year” in Germany by the Association for the Conservation of Crop Varieties (VEN). History of the use of peas: From about 8000 BC, the cultivation of peas is documented by archaeological findings from the fertile half-moon of the Middle East, making it one of the oldest cultivated plants. The earliest finds date from Aswad in Syria and are about 10,500 to 10,200 years old, findings from Çayönü in Anatolia and Jericho in the Jordan Valley are only a little younger. In Germany the pea, as well as the lentil, was the basic food of the oldest farmers, the band ceramists, besides grain (Einhorn, Emmer, barley). (Note: The mixture of grain and pod fruits is nutritionally physiologically very favorable – the amino acid patterns complement each other – link to protein value – Kofranyi). At every second crop site peas are also found, the northern boundary being the northern edge of the Central Mountains. From the Middle Neolithic period there are considerably fewer pea findings, the cause of which is unclear, but may have been increased in livestock farming. In the Bronze Age, from about 1800 BC, the share of the legumes and thus the peas increased again. In ancient times the pea was widely cultivated in Europe. Until the 17th century the pea was used as a dry vegetable and generally served as a mus. It was only from the 16th century onwards that varieties were cultivated which could be eaten immature, green and with a pod. At the beginning these peas were very expensive and very popular in court kitchens. The dried peas were, however, replaced by the modern preservation techniques (canned, frozen), but they are again experiencing a small renaissance within the framework of the full-value kitchen.
On biology and agriculture of peas The peas grow as one-year-old, herbaceous plants usually climbing with leafy limbs. The long elliptical, flattened pod fruit contains many globular seeds – the peas. The best known variety is the garden pea (Pisum sativum), cultivated around the world in the temperate zones. The root system is highly branched in the upper soil layer and can reach a depth of 1 meter in suitable soils. The stemming or climbing stems are 0.5 to 2 meters long and are simple or branched, hollow, angular, bald and bluish-green. The flowering period ranges from May to June, with a flower blooming for about three days and a specimen of 10 to 21 days. The pods are 3-12 cm long, 1-2,5 cm thick and depending on the species green, yellow or brownish, rarely black. The pod fruits contain four to ten seeds, which are called peas like the plant. They have a diameter of 3-9mm and are differently colored according to the variety. On the side roots are the root nodules. The pea is symbiosis only with the nitrogen-binding nodal bacteria type Rhizobium leguminosarum symbiovar viciae. This symbiosis was already described in 1675. The pea cultivars are cultivated around the world in temperate climates, up to 67 ° N in Scandinavia. In the Alps it climbs to heights of 2000 meters. The pea thrives best on clay soils with sufficient humus and lime, balanced water supply and good aeration, such as loess and profound lime soils. The pea has a strong intolerance to itself, so it must be kept for six to eight years. It is considered a good pre-crop for rape and winter cereals due to the early harvesting date and the positive influence on the soil structure. As nitrogen-fixing leguminosis, little or no nitrogen fertilization is necessary. Peas are quite sensitive to weeds, so herbicides are usually used.