27 October 2012

Red Podded Pea Project

Inspired by Rebsie Fairholm's discoveries of a few years ago, I thought I would set out to intentionally create some red podded lines of peas. I crossed 'Golden Podded', a not very nice yellow podded 'snow' pea, with 'Purple Podded'. I've quotation marked Golden Podded, since it doesn't make a very nice snow pea, and I'm not convinced it carries both of the genes for low fibre.
Anyway, the F1 seeds of the cross were sown in late summer, and I grew them out over autumn and winter. I went away for holidays in winter, and when I got back the peas of this cross - and a few others - had matured, and the pods were hanging in the drying plants. But when I removed them, lots of them had shrivelled roots and shoots curled up in the dry pods. They had sprouted in the pod, probably following some damp weather while I was away.
Rather than throw the lot out, I salvaged what I could, and anything that looked like it had sprouted was sown into a seedling flat. To my surprise, lots of these sprouted into healthy plants.

Since this wasn't one of my core projects, and I wasn't sure how they would grow, I made a new bed along my fence with the next door playground.

They have been growing for a couple of months, and just started to flower. The F2's are segregating for pod colour
Purple and green

half purple,

and half red!
Note the pale bracts.
A couple of weeks until I can be sure if any of the low fibre genes have carried over.
There are still a few plants I'm waiting on to set flowers, so there might even be a full red lurking in here.
But this red blush is a most exciting development.


  1. Red! How did the color develop as it matured? Did the redness fill in more fully, as it did with Rebsie's peas, or was it always only a blush? Tell me more!

    1. Linda,
      This plant stayed with the red blush, tho I must confess I wasn't keeping a close eye on it. We had a very dry spring, and since this was a side project, and out of my usual garden, I didn't water it enough or pay it enough attention. I'll probably wait until I've got some nice stable purple podded snows and yellow snows, since the red is relatively easy to pull out of a purple/yellow cross.

    2. I'm sorry to hear it didn't make it, but I have certainly had similar experiences in my own garden. I'm also pretty excited about the idea of breeding a red-podded pea (isn't everyone?), so I've ordered some seeds to use as parents. I've got some "Golden Sweet" snow peas, an unstable (which I hope means "not yet stabilized") purple-podded snap pea called "Wolfpeach Purple-Podded," which is supposed to be a "Victorian variety Purple Podded x Oregon Sugar Pod II" cross. I'm hoping to get my hands on some "Shiraz" snow peas out of the UK, but we'll have to see if I'm successful at that, so the Wolfpeach hedges my bets.

      Someone suggested to me that Alan Kapuler's "Opal Creek" might be a better yellow snow to start with, but I'm not sure it's worth ordering yet more seeds.

      As I mentioned in another post, I'm planning to work on edible-podded "extreme dwarf" peas, suitable for containers and/or cold frames. It's tempting to use the yellows and/or purples to make those crosses, since that will still produce plenty of greens, and I would be that much closer to producing extreme dwarfs with colorful pods and blossoms -- because hey, if you're short on space and growing edibles in a container, they might as well be pretty, right?

    3. Sorry for the late reply, Linda, but I've been off-line for 3 weeks. Good luck with the super dwarfs - I'm going to try for semi-leafless dwarf snows, using some field peas as the semi-leafless parent. I think this is probably the same trait as Kapuler's hyper tendril trait. But too many lines to grow out at the moment.