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Breeding a new cold-frame pea

To combine the genetics of extra dwarf peas with those of the very cold hardy Austrian winter peas to breed a new short stature and cold hardy pea suitable for growing in the winter months. Adding other various genetics for nice edible qualities.

Multiple pea crosses will need to be made between extra dwarf peas and 'Lynx', 'Blaze', or 'Windham' Austrian winter peas. Backcrosses back to 'Lynx', 'Blaze', or 'Windham' will need to be made in order to maintain the cold hardy genetics while introducing the extra dwarf growth habit. Semi-leafless (af) trait may also be useful to increase airflow and thus potentially further reduce frost damage when condensation occurs in cold temperatures.

Various other edible qualities would ideally also be included. Perhaps by making crosses first to the extra dwarf peas and stabilizing those crosses. Favorable edible qualities include: wrinkled seeds (r, rb, rug3, bsg), low fiber genes for pods, shoots, & leaves (p,v), snap pods (n), parsley foliage (tl), and high production genetics (ion, det, fn, fna).

Starting with the best pea varieties with the most stacked genetics will help speed this project along and reduce needed crosses and back-crosses.

Researcher background
I have between 12 and 15 years of amateur and independent plant breeding. This year I hope to finally finish my attempt at breeding a red-podded pea (that tastes good). I've worked on many crop species including corn, teosinte, corn-teosinte hybrids, watermelon, watermelon-citron melon hybrids, squash, interspecies squash hybrids, wild tomato species, domestic-wild tomato hybrids, and more. Though I have had success (and failures) in many areas I've attempted, peas are what I'm best at. I've grown an extensive pea collection with a wide range of rare and unique genetic traits.
Are you seeking volunteer growers or other types of volunteers?
Yes, seeking volunteer growers
How many volunteers do you need?
What will you ask volunteers to do?
Grow out hybrid pea lines. Possibly attempt backcrosses or new crosses using hand techniques. Observe and select in F2 generations. Save seeds and share seeds.
Other requirements of volunteers?
Ideally medium-level volunteers who have experience with plant breeding. But beginners can learn easily. Gardening ability and space to grow peas. Any experience with winter growing and cold-frames a plus (I currently have none!).
Is this a multi-year project?
Can volunteers expect to be able to keep some germplasm (seeds, bulbs, cuttings, spores, etc) at the close of the project?
Yes, of course
Anything else?
I am found most often on the OSSI plant breeding forum. I have a website called Rabbit Mountain Research and am debating whether to start my own seed shop / plant breeding business.
Researcher Location

United States

Project Updates

Interested in participating

project update by
Saturday, June 15, 2024 - 09:58

Hello Andrew and crew,

This sounds like a very valuable project. I live in BC on the coast and having a culinary pea that could be planted in the fall for harvest the next year would be great.

I would love to participate if there is an opportunity to do so.

Kind regards, Skye Larmour

Crossing Time!

project update by
Sunday, June 9, 2024 - 02:49

Hi all, I just wanted to share that I made some crosses for this project today. I was unable to cross my "Large Podded" mix with Tom Thumb, but I was able to make some crosses of the pink flowered version of my "large podded" strain with what I think is petite snap greens, a snap podded version of parsley pea. It is also a very dwarf pea. So hopefully these crosses take and we have at least one good cross to move forward with for this project!

Happy crosses everyone! Check out my website rabbitmountainresearch or my old blog keen101 on WordPress for some pea crossing tips!

Last call for seeds for Spring 2024?

project update by
Saturday, March 23, 2024 - 05:23

Hi all,

If anyone needs any last min. pea seeds for 2024, let me know. I'd like to get any remaining seed packets together this weekend or next.

A quick reminder of the basic goals: Enough people trying to cross extra dwarf peas like Tom Thumb, orange-pod, and others with superior edible peas such as my "large podded" strain, or any other edible pod types with low fiber. Or any superior shelling types like Canoe or any that have 3-4 pods per node. Or any crosses with 'Lynx', an AWP type that is hardy to -5F.

I'm hoping enough of the group can accomplish some crosses and then can continue to grow out seed and share with the rest of the group. If enough of us are crossing and growing out F1 and F2 crosses and backcrossing then eventually we will get something interesting and useful that we can all eat and use faster than if one person did it by themselves.

Disorganized mess

project update by
Friday, December 9, 2022 - 01:02

Hi all,

Sorry for the late reply. I have been very busy with life changes and juggling everything. New baby (now 6 months old), New job, and many other things! Sorry for the lack of reply's and failure to take the lead in awhile. I will try to send an email out with the same info and you can reply to me directly.

I know I sent at least two people some seeds for this project that I had in limited supply. Can those people provide any updates?!

I thought I had some seed left for 'Mighty Midget', but can now not find it. Admittedly my pea seeds (and other seeds) are scattered and not all in one place or organized. Working on it! If I sent you seed of this and you still have some or grew it out please grow it out again so you can share back with me / others.

Who needs seeds? Who is already working on this project on their own? Who all has cold frames and/or hoop houses? I have a partially designed cold frame drafted up on the computer. I would love to share what I have and have others collaborate to refine it or complete it. I know it is already mid winter here for most of us, but better late than never right?

I'm also thinking of starting a plant breeding podcast. Let me know if you would be interested in that.


Portugal participation

project update by
Friday, November 18, 2022 - 07:15

Hello , I’m a plant breeding student from Portugal and this looks like an interesting project. I am available to try out the seeds and spread them around here. Let me know if you are interested (my brother is in the US for a month and can receive the seeds, then bring them here)

New To Project

project update by
Sunday, October 2, 2022 - 11:50

New to these EFN projects. Whom do I contact to get seed? I just built a cold frame and am excited to grow this winter. Thanks