Is growing peas and beans in containers challenging for you? Have you always wanted to grow peas and beans but have no idea where to start? Peas and beans have always been rather popular among container vegetable gardening enthusiasts. In this article, we will show you how you can have your own home-grown peas and beans right in the comfort of your home.
Peas and beans are usually planted from seed; in most cases, they are usually grown in large quantity and close to each other. It is recommended to plant peas and beans in a window box with a minimum width of 30cm and depth of 20cm. You may plant a few rows of the plant; keeping each plant apart by about 10cm. Different species of peas or beans may have different growth habits. At maturity, the height of your vegetable plant can be quite different. Knowing which species of peas or beans you are planting will help you to decide the type of support you should use for your plant.
There are two varieties of peas – shelling and mangetout (snap peas and snow peas). Shelling peas mature at different times; it may take 12 to 14 weeks. Shelling peas come in round and wrinkle-seeded varieties. Round seeds are for hardiness and early sowings; wrinkled seeds for sweetness and summer sowings.
Growing peas require plenty of sunlight and a nutrient-rich, moisture-retentive environment. It is recommended to add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil used for growing peas. This helps to improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture, especially in hot and dry summers.
The planting mixture used for growing peas should be rich in minerals and have the ability to retain moisture for long periods of time. You may use the same fertilizers as those meant for growing tomatoes. Adding calcium is essential to aid the flowering process, which in turn gives you a good harvest.
For most of the bush beans and most peas, they will grow to a height of approximately 90cm. An appropriate support for such height is essential so that the plant can rest upon the support to reach its maximum growth height. You may fabricate a simple supporting structure for your bean plant by using strings between bamboo or posts. Alternatively, you may also use shrubs or branches to construct the support.
If you are planting pole beans, take note that this plant can reach a height of 2m or higher. Ensure that you have a robust support, preferably in the form of a wooden frame, to provide good support for your bean plant. An alternative solution is to use sturdy poles with strong strings to attach and support each plant.
Planting Mixture for Peas and Beans
Good quality planting mixture provides the nutrients needed for growing healthy pea and bean plants. You may refer to the planting mixture recommendation below for your gardening efforts.
- compost: 2 parts;
- potting soil: 4 parts;
- coir/ peat: 1 part;
- perlite: 2 parts;
- vermiculite: 2 parts;
- flowering fertilizer: one handful per plant.
How to Sow Seeds
Peas are best planted in warm soil instead of wet and cold soil. In early spring, cover the soil with polythene before sowing and then protect seedlings with a fleece. Sow shorter varieties in a flat trench, 5cm (2in) deep and 25cm (10in) wide or a window box.
Water the soil first, then sow the seeds 5-7cm (2in) apart in three rows along the bottom of the trench or container (if you are using one). Cover up the seeds with soil and firm it gently. For a succession of peas, sow at two-week intervals.
Peas are an early crop, traditionally planted in the early spring when it’s still quite cool outside. They are usually harvested by the early summer, but there are some longer season varieties available nowadays.
Beans are traditionally planted in late spring or early summer, once the soil has warmed up, but in containers this is not a problem. They are harvested from mid to late summer, with pole bean crops lasting much longer.
When crops of peas or beans have been harvested, you can remove them and use the same container to plant another crop of beans.
Here are some tips on harvesting your peas and beans. For a harvest of truly fresh peas, regular picking is an essential activity. Harvesting should be done from the bottom of the plant working upwards.
Upon harvest, refrain from pulling the plant as the roots are full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Instead, cut off the stems at ground level, allowing the roots to rot down and release nitrogen back into the soil for the next crop to use.
Like other vegetable plants, growing peas and beans is not that difficult if only you know how to do it. We hope the vegetable gardening tips in this article will give you some confidence to get started in growing peas and beans. Feel free to check out other gardening tips on our site. We have gardening guides and tips on growing tomatoes, onions and other vegetables too.