grow peas in pots

How to Grow Peas in Pots [ Homegrow Peas in Containers]

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In the same way that there is nothing like the taste of a homegrown tomato, there is absolutely nothing as sweet as a homegrown pea and you don’t even need a garden or an allotment to grow them in either.    The roots of pea plants are relatively shallow, do you don’t need a huge big deep garden, they’re the perfect vegetable to grow in containers.  It is easy to grow peas in pots on terraces, in your back yard or even on a small balcony.

How to grow peas in pots

Peas don’t have an elaborate deep root system, so in a lot of ways, they’re the perfect vegetable to grow in pots.  You will need to stake them with a pea support system, in order that when they start to grow and develop they won’t fall over and snap their delicate structure.  One of the benefits of growing peas in pots is that if you start one pot a couple of weeks after the first one then you’ll get a steady supply of peas throughout the season.  So, definitely put peas on your succession planting plan!  You sow 8 seeds in a 20 cm pot quite easily.

If you want quicker results from growing peas in a pot, then start from seedlings rather than seeds ad you’ll get a 21-28 day head start.

When you’re growing peas in tubs you don’t need a huge amount of effort to get them to produce.  A little sun (but not too much), keep them out of the wind, keep the compost moist and make sure they have support.

The best pots to grow peas in

Pots don’t need a whole lot of space.  The best pots for peas only need to accommodation a small root system.  The root system of a pea isn’t huge, so you can get away with putting 6-8 seeds in a 20-centimetre pot.  Pea plants need support for their delicate structure, so you will need to put a pea support system in – if you have trellis and garden wire, then this will work, just stand the pot up against the wall.  Alternatively, go upside down and plant smaller varieties in a hanging basket and harvest your peas from the bottom up!

peas in containers

Why grow peas

We rarely see fresh peas in the grocery or supermarket.  Most peas in the UK are garden peas and most of them that are consumed are frozen, with tinned peas coming second.  The UK produces 150,000 tonnes of peas for freezing alone.  One of the reasons that so many peas are grown for freezing is that a quick freeze locks in the taste and nutrients of the pea, which very quickly disappear if not eaten.

And while frozen peas retain a lot of the goodness of the vegetable, they taste NOTHING like peas that you’ve grown yourself.  And picked and eaten directly off the plant.

The primary reason to grow peas yourself is for the taste.

When to plant peas

Peas are a great cool-season vegetable – they can be sown from seed from March to June, but you’ll need to make sure that your compost or soil is about 10 centigrade.  Peas grow best when the air temperature is about 13 to 18 degrees.

We recommend planting peas in containers in succession – a new pot or a new batch every 2 weeks, will keep your peas cropping regularly.

Planting peas in pots is a great way of being able to control their growing conditions and the temperature, you can plant them a little earlier and keep them inside (our back porch worked wonders), then move them to a sheltered area of the garden if you have a mini greenhouse or a cloche.

growing peas in pots

How to grow peas from seed in a pot

Growing garden peas in a pot from seed is easy.   Sow your seeds about 5 centimetres apart.  Push them into the compost in your pots about 5 centimetres deep.  Peas can transplant quite easily, so you can start them off in seed starter trays and transplant them if you have the room.  You’ll need to keep the compost moist, but not soggy.  Once the seeds germinate, try and keep your peas in at least a partly sunny environment.

How to store peas

The best answer to this is that you can’t effectively store fresh peas.  The best way to store peas is to freeze them as soon as possible, as peas have the best taste if they’re picked and then use immediately.  You can keep them for maybe a week in the salad compartment of our fridge, but the taste starts to go very quickly.

Tips for Growing peas

Peas really are both an easy vegetable to grow, but also a very satisfying vegetable to grow.  Want other easy vegetables to grow?  Here you go.  There is nothing better than eating the peas directly off the plant, they’re so fresh, tasty and sweet.  They are nothing like the peas you buy frozen or (shudder) in tins.  (Actually, tinned peas are ok but they’re nothing like fresh peas!).

Why not start growing a few peas in a pot to see how you get on, I guarantee that next season you’ll plant more!  Growing peas at home won’t save you a huge amount of money, as frozen peas are generally seriously cheap, but once you’ve tasted fresh out of the pod peas you’ll be spoiled for life!

how to grow peas in pots

Where to grow peas

Peas don’t need a huge amount of space, so growing peas in containers is an excellent solution for them.  Peas do need a bit of sunshine, but they’re also ok in cool weather, so they don’t need sunshine all day.  Peas need shelter from the wind as they’re delicate creatures and they need moist but not waterlogged compost.  A 20-centimetre pot will easily grow 6-8 pea plants.

If you’ve got no more space on the ground why not try growing peas in hanging baskets?  Growing dwarf peas in pots works really well in hanging baskets and it’s a novel way of using all the available space in your garden, yard or balcony.

So what are you waiting for?

How to harvest peas

Harvest your peas from the bottom of the plant first.  The peas at the bottom of the plant are the most mature.  If you’re growing peas in hanging baskets, then this advice is all upside down!

Hold the plan and snap the pod off, otherwise, you’ll damage the plant.  Your peas will be ready to harvest about 3 months after sowing seeds.  You’ll see with regular garden peas that they’re ready when the pods are swollen with peas.

You should harvest your peas regularly as this encourages the plant to produce more pods.

What variety of peas to grow in pots

Shelling peas are those peas that are grown for the peas inside.  You pop the peas out of the pod and discard the pod (a great addition to your compost bin!).  You’ll want to look at two types of peas to grow in containers.  Early season peas and maincrop peas.   Favourite early season peas are Pea Misty and  Kelvedon wonder.  Sow these seeds and you’ll be harvesting them 3 months later.  Kelvedon wonder peas in pots work really well.

Maincrop peas such as Pea Oasis will take 15-16 weeks from sowing to harvest.

When to plant peas in pots

Plant peas from March to late June. Read about what else to plant in June here.  If the weather is a little cold, then start your peas in containers inside or in a mini greenhouse and move them outside when it warms up.

How to Grow Peas in Containers FAQS

Here are the most asked questions about growing peas.  Got a question about how to grow pea plants in pots?  Use the comments or email us and we’ll add your question and the answer to our sowing peas in pots frequently asked questions!

Can you grow peas in pots?

Yes.  Growing pea plants in containers or pots is an easy way to be able to control their environment and it is easy to manage in small spaces.  Starting peas in pots and then transplanting them could also be a way to go, although growing peas in containers UK wide means that its just easier to move the entire pot around the garden as your garden and weather conditions change.

How tall do pea plants grow?

The average pea variety grows to about 1 to 1.2 metres.  You’ll find some dwarf varieties of peas that only grow to 60 centimetres tall!

How long do peas produce for?

If you don’t pick the pea pods, then the pea plant won’t produce any more.  Keep picking and the pods will keep coming.   If after you’ve harvested all the pods keep an eye out for flowers.  If you see the plant still producing flowers, then continue (and the weather is good), then you’re likely to see more pods.

Once you’ve picked all the pods if the plant turns brown with yellow leaves then it’s likely too hot for the pea plant and its time to dig it up.

How many pea plants should I have?

The answer to this depends on how many peas you want to grow!  In your first season, we recommend 2-3 pots of peas.  With 6 to 8 plants in each pot, this will give you a good idea as to how many peas you’re likely to want in future years.

What yield do pea plants give?

If you are growing peas directly into the ground you can expect a yield of 1 kilo of peas per 10 plants.  Assume slightly less in a pot.  If you’re growing on average 7 plants in a pot, then expect to get 500-600 grams of peas from your pot of peas.

What other fruit and vegetables can I grow in pots?

Try these other guides to growing in pots and containers

Final Words on growing peas in pots UK

Growing your own peas isn’t going to save you a huge amount of money, a huge percentage of the garden peas that we buy here in the UK are bought frozen and that’s for the nutritional value and taste.  The reason to grow your own peas in pots is for the taste.  Why not try growing a pot of peas, drop 6-8 seeds in a small pot, pop in a small pea support frame and see how you go.  Once you’ve tasted homegrown peas you won’t go back!

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