Plant Lovers’ Almanac: Here’s how to sow peas in a bucket

Akron Beacon Journal
By Heather Neikirk, For the Beacon JournalPosted Mar 19, 2020  –

Wow, did March come in like a lion, or what?

I am sure that many of you, much like me, were not expecting to be dealing with a viral pandemic as part of our welcome-to-spring garden rituals. However, my message to you this week is to keep calm, keep in touch (at the appropriate social distance, of course), plant peas (pun intended) and garden on!

In the spirit of my message, I wanted to share with you a fun, family, small-space gardening project that aligns perfectly with our Northeast Ohio spring food gardening season.

Cue planting peas in bucket, please.

Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. I am going share a quick “how-to” on planting spring peas in a 3- to 5-gallon bucket.

While peas are not the only crop that you can plant using this method, they are one of the few crops that can be planted in early spring and do well in a container environment.

Here are the materials that you will need to get started:

‒ A 3- or 5-gallon plastic bucket with a handle or other suitable container.

‒ A small- to medium-size bag of container vegetable garden soil mix.

‒ One small roll of landscape fabric.

‒ Trellis or stakes.

‒ Pea seeds.

‒ Power drill with a quarter-inch bit or a hammer and a nail.

Begin by making sure to clean and sanitize the container you will use for your plants. If you are using a recycled container, one that is of food grade is best. The container should be a minimum of 12 inches in diameter and 18 to 24 inches deep.

Next, place your container on a solid surface. Use a power drill or a hammer and a nail to create quarter-inch holes every 3 to 5 inches along the side near the bottom of the bucket/container. DO NOT drill holes in the bottom of the bucket or container for drainage.

Once you have completed placing the holes in your container, turn it right-side up. Cut a piece of landscape fabric to place in the bottom of the container. This will help to keep the soil mix in the container and still allow for drainage.

Fill the bucket to within about 1 inch of the top with a soil mix suitable for growing container vegetables.

Plant pea seeds according to the directions on the seed packet. A general rule of thumb is to plant pea seeds 1 inch deep, spacing them roughly 2 inches apart. Cover the seeds lightly with soil mix and water thoroughly.

Some pea seeds may require you to soak them in water before planting. Follow the instructions provided on your seed packet for the variety you have selected.

Place bamboo poles, stakes or a trellis to provide support for the growing peas into the bucket or container.

Place it in a lightly shaded area until the seeds have germinated. Germination rates vary with different pea varieties; generally, one to two weeks for most peas.

Once the seeds have germinated and seedlings are visible, move the container to an area of full sun.

Monitor your seedlings daily for moisture, sunlight and temperature. Your bucket or container can be placed outdoors in full sun during the daylight of early spring and brought indoors at night until the fear of frost has passed.

Enjoy your harvest and remember to succession plant additional peas in a bucket to ensure a crop all spring long.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.