Do you want to grow your own peas but lack the space? Growing peas in a pot is the perfect solution!
With the right conditions and care, you can have a plentiful harvest of fresh, tasty peas right on your balcony or patio.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of growing peas in a pot. You’ll learn about ideal growing conditions, pot and support options, and the best pea varieties for container gardening.
1. Pick a suitable variety for the pot
When selecting a pea variety for container gardening, it’s important to consider the size and growth habit of the plant.
Compact varieties like Little Marvel are ideal for pots as they don’t require as much space to grow. These varieties typically reach a height of around 2 feet, making them perfect for small containers.
Other suitable options include dwarf snap peas and bush types. These varieties have shorter vines and can be easily supported with a trellis or tomato cage in the pot.
2. Choose the best time to grow peas
The optimal time to plant peas in a pot is determined by the climate and the region you’re in. To choose the best time for growing peas, consider the following factors:
- Temperature: Peas prefer cool weather and can tolerate light frost. Plant them when the soil temperature reaches around 45°F (7°C).
- Frost dates: Check the average last frost date in your region to determine when it’s safe to plant peas.
- Spring planting: In most regions, peas are typically planted in early spring.
- Fall planting: In cooler regions, fall planting is possible. Plant peas about 10 weeks before the first expected fall frost.
3. Find out how long it will take to grow peas
The duration for pea growth can vary depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.
On average, peas take about 60-70 days to reach maturity from the time of planting. However, this timeframe can be influenced by factors, such as temperature, sunlight exposure, and soil quality. In cooler climates, peas may take longer to grow.
4. Pick the right pot to grow peas
Choose a container with sufficient depth and width to accommodate the pea plants’ root system. A 12-inch pot is a good choice to grow peas.
Ensure that the container has good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
5. Prepare the pot for planting
Peas prefer loose and well-draining soil, so it’s important to provide the right conditions for their growth. Here are some steps to prepare your pot:
|Choose a pot with good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
|Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix or a mixture of garden soil, compost, and perlite.
|Add organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.
|Mix in some slow-release fertilizer to provide nutrients throughout the growing season.
6. Add support for the plant
Here are some important points to keep in mind when adding support for your pea plant:
- Choose a trellis or tomato cage that’s sturdy and tall enough to accommodate the height of your pea plant.
- Position the support in the center of the pot, ensuring that it’s firmly anchored in the soil.
- As your pea plant grows, gently guide the vines towards the support and secure them using soft ties or twine.
- Regularly check and adjust the support as needed to ensure that the plant has enough room to climb and thrive.
Providing proper support won’t only help your pea plant reach its full potential, but it will also make harvesting easier and prevent the plant from sprawling or becoming tangled.
7. Plant the peas seeds in the pot
- Choose a pot that’s at least 10 or 15 gallons or 12-inches in size, with good drainage.
- Fill the pot with well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter.
- Soak the pea seeds overnight to speed up germination.
- Space the seeds about 2 inches apart and make a 1-inch deep trench.
- Loosely cover the seeds with soil and gently pat it down.
- Peas prefer moist but well-draining soil, so be careful not to overwater them.
- Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid letting it become too wet.
- Place the pot in a sunny spot, as peas need about 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
8. Provide the required sunlight
Peas thrive in full sun, so it’s important to choose a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Peas can tolerate some shade, although this may result in a smaller harvest.
In hot climates, morning sun is preferable to protect the plants from scorching. If you’re growing peas in containers, you have the advantage of being able to move them around to optimize their exposure to sunlight.
To help you understand the sunlight requirements of peas, refer to the table below:
|Hours of Sunlight per Day
|Morning Sun (Hot climates)
9. Provide the required water to the plant
Here are some key tips to help you provide the required water to your pea plants:
- Water your pea plants consistently: Peas prefer moist soil, so water them regularly. Aim to provide about 1 inch of water per week to keep the soil consistently moist.
- Avoid overwatering: While pea plants need moisture, be careful not to overwater them. Overly-soggy soil can reduce oxygen to the seeds or seedlings and may lead to fungal rot.
- Check the soil moisture: Before watering, check the soil moisture by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your plants.
- Use well-draining soil: Peas thrive in soil that’s loose and well-draining. This will help prevent waterlogged conditions and promote healthy root growth.
10. Thin the peas seedlings
To thin the pea seedlings in your pot, carefully remove any overcrowded or weak plants to promote healthy growth and ensure optimal spacing.
Thinning is an important step in the growth of peas as it allows the remaining plants to receive adequate sunlight, nutrients, and space to develop properly.
Here is a helpful table that outlines the recommended spacing for pea seedlings:
|Spacing Between Plants
When thinning the seedlings, gently grasp the base of the plant and carefully lift it out of the soil, being mindful not to disturb the surrounding roots.
Dispose of the removed seedlings or consider transplanting them to another location if desired.
11. Provide nutrients to the peas plant
Providing the right nutrients will promote strong root development, vigorous growth, and abundant pea production. Here are some tips to help you provide the necessary nutrients for your pea plants:
- Use a balanced fertilizer: Apply a slow-release fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This will provide the nutrients for overall plant health and productivity.
- Incorporate organic matter: Mix compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting. This will enrich the soil with organic nutrients and improve its fertility.
- Add micronutrients: Peas benefit from micronutrients like iron, manganese, and zinc. You can apply a micronutrient fertilizer or foliar spray to ensure that your plants have access to these essential nutrients.
12. Tie the plant to the support
Peas are climbing plants that need a strong support system to grow properly. When the pea plants reach a height of about 6 inches, gently guide the main stem towards the support structure.
Use garden twine or plant clips to secure the stem to the support, ensuring that it isn’t constricted or damaged. As the plants continue to grow, regularly check and adjust the ties to accommodate their growth.
This will help the plants to climb and prevent them from sprawling on the ground, allowing for better air circulation and easier harvesting of the peas.
13. Prune the peas plant
Pruning your pea plants isn’t necessary, but it can help promote better airflow and prevent the plants from becoming too dense. If you choose to prune your pea plants, it’s best to do so when they reach about 6-8 inches in height.
Here are a few tips for pruning your pea plants:
- Remove any dead or yellowing leaves to improve the overall appearance of the plant.
- Pinch off the tips of the plants to encourage branching and bushier growth.
- Remove any tendrils that are growing in unwanted directions or becoming tangled.
- Cut back any long, leggy stems to maintain a compact and tidy plant.
Remember to use clean and sharp pruners when pruning your pea plants to avoid damaging the stems.
14. Help the plant to pollinate
Pea plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. However, if pollinators are scarce in your area or if your plants are indoors, you can take matters into your own hands.
Hold on to the main stem of the plant and give it a gentle shake. This will help the pollen dislodge from the male flowers and reach the female flowers, increasing the chances of successful fertilization and fruit development.
Remember to do this shaking in the morning when the flowers are open and the pollen is most abundant.
15. Harvest and store the peas
For snap and shelling peas, harvest them when they’re large and plump. For snow peas, harvest them while they’re still flat and tender.
Preserve any excess peas by freezing them. Blanch the peas in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath before freezing.
Store the harvested peas in an airtight container or freezer bags in the freezer. They can last for several months when properly stored.