You may have grand visions for your dream home garden already, but the reality may be that you don’t have adequate space right now for it. Perhaps you live in an apartment or townhome with limited yard space or a rental house where gardening is not permitted. If outdoor gardening is not possible at your home, not all is lost!
Indoor gardening has become increasingly popular among DIY green-thumbs, and with proper care, your veggies will taste just as delicious! Of all the vegetables suited to indoor cultivation, peas are one of the best candidates. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to grow peas in a container!
Growing big, beautiful and abundant plants is not rocket science, but it does require a bit of scientific understanding. Specifically, you need to know what type of environment will best support your plantlings. Before you rush in, consider these basics first when planning for your new pea plant baby.
- Sunlight & Location – Peas grow best in full sunlight. This means they need 6 or more hours of sunlight each day. For an indoor plant, this is an especially crucial detail to consider. Look around your home at different times of day to determine which windowsill is sunniest for the longest. If you have a balcony or south-facing window, those may be your best options.
- Soil – Pea plants grow well in all-purpose potting mix with a neutral pH level between 5.8 and 7.5. The most important aspect is that it drains well. Be careful not to add too much fertilizer, which contains nitrogen. Pea plants naturally put nitrogen from the air back into the soil, so it’s okay if your soil is a little bit nitrogen-deficient.
- Season & Temperature – Pea plants are remarkably resilient to cold temperatures, withstanding as low as 28°F. If you are growing peas outside on a balcony, plant them anytime from February through April or two weeks before the final frost. If the containers are staying indoors, be aware that their ideal growing temperature is between 55°F and 65°F.
Now that you have a better idea of the best kind of environment you can create for your pea plants, you can go ahead and buy some seeds. There are three main types of peas. Garden or green peas are probably the first variety to come to mind. This plant grows inedible seed pods that must be shelled to access the sweet peas inside. Snap peas have edible pods, making the shelling process optional. Last but not least, snow peas are generally eaten as is, pod and all.
Planting In A Container
Next, you will need to purchase containers that measure about 10 to 18 inches deep and at least 12 inches wide. Make sure the containers have drainage holes in the bottom. Add a screening or filter over the drainage hole. Next, fill the container with your potting mix and fertilizer, leaving about two inches of space at the top. Soak your seeds overnight, and then plant them at least one inch apart and one inch deep. Add another inch of soil or compost on top of the seeds, and water thoroughly.
Maintenance & Care
Keep an eye on your pea sprouts as they begin to grow. Weed out any shoots that are too close to one another, but don’t throw them away. Baby pea shoots are edible, so save them for your next salad!
Peas grown indoors especially prefer plenty of water and moist soil. Water them once a day, but be careful not to overwater them. Check the topsoil first to see how moist it still is. Soil that is completely soaked may drown your plants. On the other hand, dry topsoil may interfere with germination and production.
Most types of pea plants are vining, which means they grow long, climbing stems. Insert a trellis, stake, or arch into the surrounding soil, and allow the vines to latch onto the wire or wood.
Finally, after all your hard work of preparing containers, sowing seeds, watering and fertilizing, your pea plants will start to produce some results! Peas usually reach maturity after about 60 to 70 days, which means if you planted your seeds in the spring, they should be producing by early summer.
Snap peas are best harvested early for a sweeter crop. Green peas may require a little more time for the pods to swell up. You’ll know your snow peas are ready for harvest when they reach about two to three inches in size and have not yet turned tough. No matter what kind of pea plant you have, harvest the mature pods gently using garden shears. From here, the peas are best enjoyed that same day.
However, you can also store them in the refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days. Punch a few small holes into a plastic bag, and place your rinsed peas inside. Keep the bag of peas in the vegetable drawer until you are ready to use them.
If you won’t be able to use them until next week or even longer, it’s a better idea to freeze them. Blanching the peas first will keep them fresh and edible for longer than two months. Otherwise, simply load them into freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, and store them until you’re ready to make split pea soup or risotto.
From Indian rice and curry to Italian pasta and hearty soup, peas are one of the most versatile vegetables to use in cooking. You can never have too many peas on hand, especially because they freeze well and make a convenient source of vegan protein and fiber. Even when used fresh, garden peas add a delicious pop of green to your soups and salads. Snow peas add a sweet, earthy crunch to your stir frys. When there’s so much to love about this hearty legume, it only makes sense to add them to your list of plants to grow at home!