Those who live in frost-prone areas seed and harvest their crops in the spring, while those who live in the warmest parts of this range plant their crops in the fall for a winter harvest. Lets talk on tips for growing peas indoors.
Our guide to growing peas in containers has all you need to know to raise a crop outdoors without a garden.
This article takes container gardening a step further and brings pea cultivation indoors.
Let’s jump in!
Peas belong to the Fabaceae plant family, which also contains beans. In terms of biology, a pea is a pulse, or edible seed, and the entire pod is referred to as a legume.
P. sativum is an annual that grows for only one season, completing its entire life cycle in this time.
We consume the seeds or, in the case of some species, the seeds and pods, as vegetables.
These plants are referred to as “nitrogen fixers” in gardens because rhizobia bacteria live in symbiotic relationships with their roots.
The bacteria settle in nodules on the roots and “fix” atmospheric nitrogen so that the pea plant and nearby plants may consume it.
Peas are also self-fertile, meaning they can pollinate themselves without the aid of bees or other insects, instead using the wind to move the pollen into place.
We shell the garden or English varieties before we eat them. They produce stiff, inedible pods.
Inside their flat, delicious pods, snow peas contain tiny, immature seeds.
Additionally, the sugar snap variant features tasty pods encasing plump round seeds.
Some cultivars have lengthy vines that need to be staked. Others are bushier and more compact and require little to no support.
Compact plants take up less space and require little to no staking, making them the greatest option for container gardening.
Before we jump into growing, please note that there is a flowering ornamental plant you may also be familiar with called the sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus.
It is an inedible and toxic species. Read seed packets carefully, and do not mistake sweet peas for edible peas.
Read also: 8 Tips for Growing The Sweet Melons
Getting Ready to Plant
It’s crucial to offer enough light—at least eight hours of sunlight every day—when growing your crop inside.
Try putting pots near any windows that face south if you have any. Keep an eye on them to prevent leaf scorching from strong sunlight coming through the glass. Move the plants back up to three feet from the window if this happens.
60 to 70°F is the recommended room temperature. Keep plants away from HVAC registers and doorways because they can lead to temperature changes and drafts.
Use an LED grow light as addition to, alternatively, or both. The full sun conditions these plants require to thrive outdoors are simulated for roughly 10 to 12 hours each day by spending time under a grow light.
As the plants grow, move the grow light up to a height of six to twelve inches from the soil’s surface.
A container with good drainage is required. It doesn’t have to be deep because the roots of these plants are shallow. This ranges from eight to twelve inches.
A shallow pan with holes in the bottom that is about three inches high is sufficient if you are cultivating pea sprouts, also known as shoots or microgreens, as opposed to letting them develop pods.
To avoid moving delicate shoots, it is recommended to put seeds in a container that can accommodate mature dimensions.
You might prefer several round pots arranged on a table beneath a grow light or a window box-style planter for a south-facing windowsill. Make sure there is space between pots for airflow.
After selecting your container, you can fill it with premium, moisture-retentive, all-purpose potting soil to within one inch of the rim.
Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix, available via Amazon, is a rich blend that contains fungal mycorrhizae that support disease resistance.
The optimal pH range for garden soil is 5.8 to 7.0. This amount of acidity is replicated by potting soil for both indoor and outdoor container planting.
In general, “soil builders” like peas don’t need fertilizer because they add nitrogen to the soil around them.
However, a low-nitrogen granular product, such as one with an NPK ratio of 5-10-10, is advantageous when growing in a container indoors. When the blooms start to bud, use it sparingly.
Alternately, use a liquid houseplant food that is all-purpose and has been diluted with water to a quarter strength.
Now, let’s get planting!
How to Grow
Sanitize your new pot(s) with a 10-percent bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water), rinse well, and dry.
Because these plants don’t take transplanting well, it’s best to sow seeds in a pot large enough to accommodate mature dimensions.
To make watering easier, fill the pot with potting soil up to one inch below the rim.
Before the seeds are inserted and the roots start to grow, this is the ideal opportunity to add a trellis or other support structure to the pot. Check the seed packet’s description to see if this is required. Typically, bush types won’t need staking.
Prep the dry seeds by soaking them overnight in enough water to cover them completely.
Lay the sopped seeds out on paper towels the following day to dry before planting. Some may already be sprouting.
The seeds should be sown one to one and a half inches deep. Any sprouts should have their shoots facing upward.
One and a half to three inches should separate the seeds. The airflow will be better as the plants mature and the likelihood of developing a fungus disease will be decreased as the distance increases.
You can seed tightly by pressing the seeds up against one another and adding more till the tray is full, but only if you’re growing microgreens.
You won’t need to thin the seedlings if you use the suggested spacing, unless you wish to remove any poor ones.
Maintain even moisture, but avoid oversaturation. A moisture meter can help you monitor watering needs.
Place in a sunny window or under a grow light.
Let’s recap. When you remember the following, you’re on the road to successful indoor cultivation:
- Provide bright natural or LED light for up to 12 hours daily to replicate full sun outdoors.
- Use a well-draining pot(s) 8 to 12 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate mature dimensions.
- Fill the pot to within 1 inch of the rim with high-quality, moisture-retentive, organically-rich potting soil.
- Soak the seeds overnight and sow 1 to 1.5 inches deep and 1.5 to 3 inches apart.
- Maintain even moisture without oversaturating the soil.
And here’s one final tip for success:
Rotate the pot(s) a quarter turn every few days to allow all foliage to be exposed to light, prevent the stems from bending, and provide movement to support pollination.
Cultivars to Select
When purchasing seeds, look for grown kinds with small, container-friendly dimensions.
Products with pretreatment for improved disease resistance and those with fewer than usual days to maturity are both available.
Here are three cultivars to whet your appetite:
Oregon Sugar Pod II
If snow peas are your favorite, check out P. sativum ‘Oregon Sugar Pod II.’
Flat, crisp pods are stringless and measure four inches long. Expect maturity in 60 days.
‘Oregon Sugar Pod II’ seeds are available from Botanical Interests.
P. sativum ‘Patio Pride’ is a sugar snap type with a height of 18 to 24 inches.
Two to three inches long, edible pods. It’s one of the earliest varieties to produce a crop, maturing in just 40 days.
‘Patio Pride’ seeds are available from True Leaf Market.
One of the most compact cultivars is P. sativum ‘Tom Thumb,’ topping out at approximately 12 inches tall.
You might also discover the pods to be soft enough to enjoy even though it is a garden type that is generally shelled before eating. In 50 to 55 days, maturity is expected.
Organic seeds are available from True Leaf Market.
Managing Pests and Disease
When growing peas indoors, you are less likely to experience the following pest and disease issues, provided you avoid both under- and overwatering.
However, it’s best to be aware of common issues, especially if you grow them outdoors when the time is right as well.
Common pests that you may encounter include:
- Pea Weevils
- Spider Mites
Diseases to be aware of include:
- Damping Off
- Powdery Mildew
A substance like organic fungicidal and insecticidal neem oil can frequently be used to successfully treat pest and disease problems, with the exception of damping off, a fungus that destroys seedlings.
Its potent, garlicky odor, however, may be extremely overbearing within the home.
The best method for growing vegetables indoors is to keep an eye out for insects, insect eggs on the undersides of leaves, and broken, deformed, or discolored leaves.
It might only take the swift removal of pests and harmed foliage to solve a problem.
Use the seed packet as a guide to the approximate number of days to maturity. Though some varieties produce a harvest more quickly, 50 to 70 days is the norm.
Pods are ready to harvest when they are two to three inches long. Some cultivated varieties grow longer, but take care not to let them get too long, or edible pods may be tough.
To harvest, take the stem in one hand with your thumb and index finger, and the pod in the other with your thumb and middle finger. To extract the pod without harming the plant stem, gently twist the plant.
Alternately, you can cut the stem directly above the pod with sterile garden shears. Recall the 10% bleach solution we used to clean the pots earlier.
It’s as easy as that!
In addition to seeds and edible pods, the flowers, foliage, and tender sprouts are all edible.
Some folks harvest seedlings at about four inches tall for tender microgreens. And the blossoms, foliage, and tendrils make elegant garnishes.
Store the shelled garden variety for up to one week in the fridge. Use snow and sugar snap pods within three days.
Place the unwashed peas or pods in a vented produce bag in the crisper bin for best results.
You can also freeze some or all of your crop. Here’s how:
- Wash shelled peas or whole edible pods in cold tap water.
- Pull the stem ends and strings off the pods.
- Plunge the shelled peas or pods into boiling water for a minute and a half.
- Remove and place them in ice water for two minutes.
- Take them out and lay them on paper towels or a clean cloth, turning as needed to dry them.
- When dry, place the shelled peas or whole pods in zippered plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air and zip.
- Freeze and use within one year.
Consume microgreens, flowers, leaves, and tendrils immediately upon harvest.
Recipes and Cooking Ideas
Peas can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, stir-fries, salads, and more. They can also be used as a standalone side dish.
Snow types that are crisp are equally excellent when eaten raw off the hand.
Here are some recipes you may prepare at home:
Asparagus and Snow Pea Salad with Black-Eyed Peas from our sister site, Foodal, pairs snow pods’ crunch with the creaminess of black-eyed peas for a luscious dish.
Gluten-free Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Dried Cranberries, and Peas, also from Foodal, is an easy make-ahead dish dotted with sweet, shelled garden peas.
Veg-up your penne with Foodal’s Fresh Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas. This light entree features shelled garden and snap or snow pods, basil, and garlic.
Quick Reference Growing Guide
|Plant Type:||Annual legume||Flower/Foliage Color:||Pink, purple, white/green|
|Native to:||Asia, Europe||Water Needs:||Moderate|
|Hardiness (USDA Zone):||3-11 (outdoors)||Maintenance:||Moderate|
|Exposure:||Bright direct to indirect sunlight, grow light||Soil Type:||Moisture-retentive potting soil|
|Time to Maturity:||50-70 days||Soil pH:||5.8-7.0|
|Spacing:||1.5-3 inches (seeds)||Soil Drainage:||Well-draining|
|Planting Depth:||1-1.5 inches (seeds)||Order:||Fabales|
|Height:||18-30 inches (bush type), pole type (vining) 4 to 6 feet||Family:||Fabaceae|
|Common Pests and Diseases:||Aphids, armyworms, cutworms, leafhoppers, pea weevils, spider mites; damping off, powdery mildew||Species:||Sativum|
The Peas Are in the House
Imagine coming home from work, kicking off your winter boots, and heading to your indoor garden, where a fresh crop is ready for harvest.
Gardening is a relaxing activity that can be done both inside and outside. And it’s even better if the renewing efforts result in edible produce. A handful of sweet fresh peas will always be preferable to commercially bought..
Are you growing peas indoors? Let us know in the comments section below!