Pea plants stopped developing peas

Asked August 2, 2018, 2:24 PM EDT

My Sugar Daddy Pea plants started producing great, but have completely stopped. The plants were producing normally, and I was gathering 30 to 40 fully developed pods every other day. Now the flowers are brown and falling off, the top sprouts are either naked stems or stunted wads of leaves, and the couple of new pea pods I found are very small and underdeveloped. I have seen finches eating the top sprouts in past years, but the damage they do is minimal, and production was not affected. Even if finches or grasshoppers were responsible for the bare stems, that doesn't explain the flowers withering and dying without producing peas, and also doesn't explain the stunted and smashed looking new growth.
I garden organically, rotate crops, make my own compost, irrigate the rows with ditch water, have tons of pollinators. I have never seen this happen before, and any insight you have for me is much appreciated!
Thank you in advance,

Jefferson County Colorado

2 Responses

Robin, From the pictures the plants appear healthy. No obvious disease issues. There are a couple of possibilities. First is environmental, too hot. Peas are generally cool season crops and stop producing when temperatures get hot. A second is that if you are composting the pea plants, the compost is not hot enough to kill all pathogens and pests and you are getting something from the compost. It appears from the pictures that the fruits are aborting and that could be heat related. Here is some information on the sugar daddy pea and a couple of links that might help. Some environmental factors that can peas stop producing flowers and pods; they also turn brown, wilt and die. Hail damage can cause damage to pea pods by bruising them, which causes brown spots.

Thank you for your reply Bruce.
I had an amazing pea crop last year, the plants grew up my 7 foot tall trellis then fell over the other side, and produced all summer until the first frost! The crop was never effected by the heat, nor has it ever been any year. We have a relatively short growing season, so my peas are always growing while it's hot.
But, I realized I planted a different pea variety last year, and maybe sugar daddy is just more sensitive to the heat, although I didn't find anything about that in the links you sent. I'm still looking for the seed packets from last year because they did so well here. My garden has thankfully dodged the hail storms this year, so that's not the culprit. I do compost the plants, and I won't this year, just in case it's a pathogen.
Thanks again for your time,