How Deep to Plant Peas in Your Garden

Plant peas 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Grow your peas in garden beds with at least 18 inches (45 cm) of soil. Five-gallon containers can work for growing peas, too. Most peas need good soil coverage to germinate well. Winter field peas are the exception. You can broadcast these peas on top of the soil instead. It’s possible to plant peas too deep. If that happens, they will either fail to germinate or they will grow poorly. Always plant at least two peas per hole to fill out your garden.

How deep to plant peas?

How Deep Does Soil Need to Be to Grow Peas?

Peas grow best in soil that is at least 18 inches deep (45 cm). You can get away with growing peas in a 12-inch tall (30 cm), five-gallon container. Always use high-quality, well-draining soil to maximize your yields.

  • Peas prefer at least 18 inches (45 cm) of soil.
  • Pea plants can grow in five-gallon pots, too.
  • Use the best soil possible to get excellent harvests.
  • Prepare your soil by tilling to a depth of 10 inches (25 cm) before planting.
  • Add 3 inches (7.5 cm) of compost while tilling.

Prepare the soil for peas by tilling to a depth of 10 inches (25 cm) before planting. As you do that, add 3 inches (7.5 cm) of compost or the best fertilizer for peas. Do not add more fertilizer during the rest of the growing season. Properly prepared soil will allow you to enjoy a wonderful harvest of peas.

Do You Cover Peas with Soil?

Most varieties of peas need a 1-inch (2.5 cm) layer of soil over the top to ensure proper germination. Otherwise, they will either fail to germinate or get picked up by birds and other wildlife. For best results, poke holes 1 inch (2.5 cm) down and put at least two seeds inside. Then, cover the hole back up with soil.

  • Plant peas 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in the soil.
  • A covering of soil helps protect the seeds and encourages them to germinate.
  • Poke holes 1 inch (2.5) into the soil, add two peas, and then cover with soil.
  • Peas germinate slowly at the beginning of the growing season.
  • Speed up germination by covering the area with plastic before planting and soaking your seeds.

Expect slow germination times when planting peas immediately after the last frost. Speed things up by covering the planting area with plastic about two weeks ahead of time. Also, put the pea seeds in water the night before planting to help soften the seed coat.

Can You Plant Peas on Top of Soil?

You can only plant field peas on top of the soil. Edible varieties of peas do not germinate well when left uncovered. Field peas are planted in winter and are one of the best winter cover crops. Planting field peas in winter protects and nourishes the soil. Then, in the spring, you’ll have healthy, nutrient-rich soil ready for your next planting.

  • Field peas are the only variety you can plant on top of the soil.
  • Edible pea varieties do not germinate well at all when left uncovered.
  • Planting field peas in fall or winter helps protect and replenish the soil.
  • Broadcast field peas and till lightly to get reasonable germinate rates.
  • Spread many more peas that you want to sprout to cover the area with plants.

Planting field peas is as easy as broadcasting them across the top of the soil. After that, lightly till the soil and water generously. The germination rate will not be as high as it is when planting beneath the surface. So, add many more seeds than is necessary.

Can You Plant Peas Too Deep?

It’s definitely possible to plant peas too deep. They prefer about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil over top. The max planting depth for peas is 2 inches (5 cm). Seeds planted too deep often fail to germinate.

  • Peas can get planted too deep if you’re not careful.
  • Pea seeds need to be covered with only 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil.
  • Anything more than 2 inches (5 cm) of soil may prevent the peas from germinating.
  • If deeply planted seeds germinate, they often suffer from poor growth.
  • You may have to wait a long time for the plants to grow or end up without a good harvest.

If the deeply planted seeds do germinate, they use up a lot of their energy to sprout through the surface. Their growth rate suffers as a result. You may end up with slow-growing plants. Or may even go without a big harvest.

How Many Pea Seeds Do You Plant Per Hole?

Always add at least 2 pea seeds per hole. Even 3–4 seeds per hole is fine. Planting just one seed could leave you without any peas growing in that spot. Peas only have a 60 to 80% germinate rate, after all.

  • Add two pea seeds or more per hole for the best results.
  • Planting one seed per hole often leaves your garden bare.
  • Peas have a 60 to 80% germination rate in ideal conditions.
  • Although you can thin your pea plants out, you don’t have to do that.
  • Instead, guide pea vines up this trellis so they can spread out.

You can thin your pea plants out if you get too many growing from one hole. But you don’t have to. If you prefer to keep them growing, just guide your pea vines up a trellis. They will spread out naturally across that space and grow quite well.

How Deep Should You Plant Pea Seeds?

When planting peas, follow these rules:

  • Plant peas 1 inch deep (2.5 cm).
  • Grow peas in beds with at least 18 inches (45 cm) of soil.
  • You can also grow peas in five-gallon pots.
  • Cover edible peas with soil, but feel free to broadcast plant field peas.
  • Don’t plant your peas more than 2 inches (5 cm) under the soil or they won’t grow properly.
  • Add at least 2 peas per hole to get the best germinate rates in your garden.

By taking the time to correctly plant your peas, you’ll get a garden full of healthy, green plants. Then, as the pretty flowers start to appear, you’ll be able to look forward to bountiful harvests of delicious peas.

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