Growing Peas in Containers | Step by Step Guide to Get it Right
Last updated: 1/11/19
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to grow peas in a container? You may not have the necessary real estate or the space to grow a huge traditional garden.
Well, you are in luck because in this guide you will learn how simple growing peas in a container is and you may find that you want to grow other vegetables in containers as well.
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Growing peas in containers come down to these simple steps that we will go over in much more detail:
- Pea Plant Seed Selection
- Select your container or pot that is ideal for peas and your location
- Fill your container or pot with optimal soil & nutrients
- Inoculate your pea seeds with bacteria (optional)
- Plant your pea seeds in the soil of your container
- Add a trellis
Peas are one of those vegetables that signal to me that the start of the spring growing season is beginning.
Planting peas are very cold hardy, so the ideal time to plant is early Spring or in the fall season.
You do get an advantage with planting them in a container because you can start them indoors and move the containers outdoors when the temperatures are warmer. Check out this post here if you want more information about jump-starting your peas indoors.
Peas are also one of those vegetables that I love to eat right off of the vine. Sometimes the peas never make it into the house during harvesting. You will find that growing peas in a container will enable you to place these close to your kitchen so they have a better chance of making it in there.
Step 1- Pea Plant Seed Selection
Pea Plant seed selection is your first step in growing peas in a container. You can really grow most varieties of peas in a container, but you want to be mindful of how tall this plant will grow.
Most varieties of peas will grow to a maximum height of 3 feet, so stick with bush or dwarf varieties like Kelvedon Wonder Garden Pea.
You want to look at the back of the package of seeds to get an idea of how tall your pea plant will grow. This will give you an idea of how large of a trellis you will need.
You will also want to ensure that this crop does not shade out other plants that may be growing around them as it grows. Keep this in mind as the sun position does shift as the seasons mature.
Step 2 – Select a container to grow your peas
Selecting a container for your peas to grow in will depend on a few different factors. Are you planting this on your porch? Is this plant going in your garden area where other plants may surround it? How often do you want to water them?
Ideally, this plant needs a depth of at least 12-15 inches for the root to grow. It is always better to plant in the biggest container you can to lessen the amount of watering you need to do.
Fortunately, the pea plant is a cooler vegetable that is typically grown during the spring and fall times, so watering needs may be less than the summer.
A good cheap easy bucket that you can use is a 5-gallon bucket that may see in the major hardware stores. You can get food grade ones (probably don’t leech any chemicals if that is a concern) for free if you ask a restaurant for any extra that you have.
Just make sure you drill some holes on the bottom of them to properly drain the water.
Step 3- Ideal Soil for your Peas
Planting peas in a container will require soil that does hold some water but is not soggy. Peas are one of those plants that have low nutrient needs as it produces its own nitrogen through a process called nitrogen fixation.
The only nutrient that you may want to add to your soil if you don’t inoculate (Step 4) is bonemeal as this is high in Phosphorus (P).
Here is a good soil recipe:
- 2 parts peat moss, or potting soil. You can also use coco coir (it is expensive though)
- 2 parts compost or composted manure
- 1 part perlite. These are those little white balls you see in most potting soil (can omit if using potting soil)
- 1/4 – 1/2 parts vermiculite
- Bonemeal – check your package to see what recommended amounts needed for the amount of soil.
Just be mindful about selecting the right potting soil you find at your garden store. Some of them contain chemical fertilizers in them which is not necessarily bad.
Remember that pea plants don’t need many nutrients and pretty much no nitrogen as it creates its own.
Stick with organic or make your own with peat moss, compost, vermiculite, and perlite.
Step 4 – Inoculate your Pea Seeds (optional)
Peas will produce their own nitrogen through a process called nitrogen fixation. Its a really cool process that pulls nitrogen out of thin air and puts it into the soil in its simplest terms.
The bacteria inoculate helps speed up this process.
The bacteria in this inoculate form a symbiotic relationship with the pea plant. Ideally, it helps the plant grow much better. This is optional because it may not be needed in soil that is rich in good bacteria or good compost.
You may want to use it though if you are just starting out.
It is recommended to follow the directions on the bacteria inoculate package to help determine the needed amount per area. Generally, you dust the pea plant seeds with it or put a little in the soil where you will actually insert the seed in.
We have grown with and without this step and have not had any problems. Experiment and see if your pea plant grows better with or without it.
Check out the latest prices of a good inoculate here.
Step 5 – Plant your Pea Seeds in the container
Pea Plant seeds should be planted at a depth of about 1 inch. You can plant about 3-5 pea seeds in a container that about the size of the 5 gallons in circumference (about 12 to 14 inches).
Your bush variety of pea plants will require more space so you may only want to plant 2-3 seeds in this same container if you selected this pea variety.
Keep in mind that the more pea seeds you plant in your container the denser the plant foliage will be. This can fluctuate your pea plant yields, so experiment with planting more or less in your container to see what pea pod yields you may get.
We tend to plant more densely because you never know what mother nature throws at you.
Note: You also want to be aware that most seed packet information will assume you are planting them in a traditional garden bed. The spacing requirement may not jive with container gardening. Follow them a little loosely, but still try to work within those confines.
Step 6 – Trellis for your Pea Plants
Growing peas in a container garden do require that you have some sort of trellis. The pea plants will be much healthier if they are allowed to grow vertically. Most pea plants will grow to a maximum height of about 3 feet. Check your seed variety for the plant height.
A good overall trellis that you can find at your garden center is the tomato cage trellis you may see everywhere. You may need to cut the bottom of it if your container depth is shallow. You can also make your own with some bamboo rods. You can use 3 or 4 and have them form a cone shape and tie them at the top.
Just make sure that the trellis that you use will support the weight of the pea plants when they fully mature. Those that grow on your porch can also use the railing if you want to manually assist the plant in finding it. Just be careful if you have to move the plant as it is a hollow stem and can break easily if tugged.
Pea Plant Container Machine
By now, you will hopefully have a good idea of what it takes to start growing peas in a container. It really is easy to get started and can be done with less space than in a traditional garden bed. Start with planting peas in one container to get a good idea of how to care for it throughout its growing cycle.
Check out our mega insider secret guide to growing peas here if you want more in-depth information on growing peas. Let me know in the comments below what types of peas you are growing or any other questions you want to be answered.
Related Questions about Growing Peas in a Container
- What is the best time to plant peas in a container? – Peas germinate in soil temperatures of between 60-65°F. The benefit of growing in a container means you can start earlier than in the garden ground soil as it is warmer. The best time is usually in early spring around February/March.
- Do peas need sun or shade? – Pea Plants need full sun for the best yields, but they will tolerate partial sunlight.
- How much water should you give a pea plant? – Pea Plants require moderate water until flowers appear, then low. Pea plants grown in containers may need to be checked more often than if in the garden when the temperatures warm up.
Check out our super 7 tips here for Growing Peas in your garden.