How To Grow Peas in Container Gardens

  • 01 of 06

    Growing Peas in Container Gardens

    Peas are the perfect vegetable to grow in container gardens. They grow quickly and don’t need much attention. They do need full sunlight and the soil needs to be kept moist. Peas prefer cool conditions, so plant them early in the season. When it gets too warm, they stop producing. Once they do stop, you can pull them up and start another vegetable in the same container.

    Some of my favorite kinds of peas for container gardens are:

    • Sugar Snap
    • English Peas, 'Little Marvel,' 'Tom Thumb'...MORE and 'Early Frosty'
    • Snow Pea, "Oregon Sugar Pod"
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  • 02 of 06

    What You'll Need to Grow Peas in Container Gardens

    container gardening picture of what you need to grow peas in container gardens
    What You'll Need to Grow Container Garden Peas. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • Large container – the bigger the better with good drainage
    • Potting soil
    • Fertilizer
    • Peas
    • Plastic screening (optional)

    I like to plant both English peas and sugar snap peas, though in separate containers. English peas also called shelling peas or garden peas are the kind of pea where you don’t eat the pod, only the peas. With sugar snap peas, you eat the whole thing - the pod as well as the small peas inside.

    Both kinds of peas are delicious raw or cooked. I like sugar snaps raw, but sometimes I like to...MORE lightly sauté them with a little olive oil, soy, and fresh rosemary.

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  • 03 of 06

    Preparing Your Container for Peas

    container gardening picture of container garden with screen covering drainage hole
    Cover Your Drainage Hole. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Cut a piece of plastic screening, big enough to cover the hole in the bottom of your pot. If you don't have screening, you can also use a coffee filter or a piece of paper towel.

    If your container is very large (and I'm talking huge), you can fill the bottom third with clean plastic containers, soda bottles or anything that will take up some space but won't impede water flow. This can save you money on potting soil and make your container lighter. If you do fill the bottom, separate...MORE your soil from your filler by cutting plastic screening and putting it over your filler before you add potting soil. This trick makes clean up at the end of the season much easier. Even though lots of people will tell you it helps drainage, don't put gravel in the bottom of your pot. 

    You can also fill the bottom of your pot with a great product called Better Than Rocks.

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  • 04 of 06

    Fill and Feed

    container gardening picture of patting down soil in pea container garden
    Gently Pat Down the Soil. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Fill your container with potting soil, making sure to leave at least 3 inches to the rim. If your potting soil doesn’t have fertilizer mix some in - though peas don’t need much. I use an organic slow release fertilizer. If you use too much fertilizer the nitrogen (a common ingredient in most fertilizers) will harm production and you will get great big pods with small or no peas. Even out the soil in your container ​and pat it down gently so that it is pretty flat, but not compacted.

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  • 05 of 06

    Planting Peas in Your Container Garden

    container gardening picture of peas on potting soil in container garden
    Sprinkle Peas Generously on Top of Soil. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Though you don't have to, inoculating peas your with a legume inoculant will give you a bigger pea yield and healthier plants. Also, for faster germination, you can soak your peas in water overnight and then while they are still wet, shake them in a bag with the inoculant. To be honest, I usually skip this step.

    Sprinkle peas generously and evenly onto surface of soil. With the flat part of your hand, press them onto the surface of the soil. Then add an additional 1- 2 inches of soil on top....MORE Make sure not to add more soil than that, or the peas might have trouble germinating.

    Water deeply with a watering can with rose attachment or a hose nozzle set for gentle.

    You'll want to keep your soil moist, not wet and be sure that your peas are getting full sun.

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  • 06 of 06

    Trellising Peas

    container gardening picture of trellis for container garden peas
    Branches Make a Great Trellis for Peas. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Most peas are climbers so you will need some type of trellis. You can buy all kinds of fancy trellises but I like to use branches, which I stick into the soil. Bamboo stakes tied together with twine, in a teepee shape, will also work well.

    As your peas start to grow, you may have to help get them started climbing on your trellis.

    Harvest peas as they ripen. For the sweetest and most tender sugar snaps, harvest them when they are young. When harvesting English peas, wait until the pods swell,...MORE letting you know that the peas inside are big and juicy. You'll want to pick snow peas before the peas get too large.