Every fruit or vegetable you grow is going to have different needs and care requirements. Factors like the amount of water needed for survival and good development will be unique to each plant, and peas are no different. So, how often should you water your pea plants?
You should water your pea plants once per week with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. You can do this by pouring 0.6 gallons (2.3 liters) of water over every square foot (0.09 sq. m) of the vegetable patch that contains your pea plants.
This article will discuss why your pea plants need this specific amount of water and how to adjust it if the weather or soil requires it. We’ll talk about what can happen if your peas don’t get enough water and provide some signs of watering issues to watch out for. Lastly, we’ll explore some techniques you can use to ensure your peas develop to the best of their ability.
The Amount of Water Peas Need for Good Growth
Unlike some plants that require consistent watering to grow correctly, peas usually only need one weekly watering in order to mature well.
Peas need this amount of watering assistance for a couple of reasons. In general, peas grow during a wetter time of the year, so they receive a lot of natural moisture from rain and humidity. If it rains up to an inch (2.5 cm) or more in a week, your pea plants do not need to be watered until the following week.
Peas are also very delicate vegetables while growing, meaning that if they are overwatered, it is much easier for their leaves to wilt, their roots to rot, and the plants to die.
Scenarios Where Your Peas Need Additional Water
There are a few instances where your pea plants may need extra water to keep them developing well:
The Initial Planting
When you first put peas into your garden, you will want to start their growth process right with a proper watering routine.
Here are the early growing stages of pea plants and their corresponding water needs:
- Seed sowing: Peas are typically sown 0.5-1 inch (1.3-2.5 cm) deep. You need to water frequently (or daily) to ensure that the top inch (2.5 cm) remains moist and to encourage the roots to grow.
- Seedlings: As the plant germinates and reaches about 3 inches (7.6 cm) tall, you must water deeply and wait until the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil dries out before watering again.
Providing the plants with plenty of moisture right from the beginning will help them establish strong roots in the ground.
If their roots are able to soak up enough water at the start of their maturing process, they will be able to reach deeper into the soil to get nutrients and anchor themselves to grow sturdy vines.
The blossoming and pod production stages are a crucial time for keeping an eye on the amount of moisture your peas are getting. These periods are when the plants are using most of their stored energy, and if the soil does not have enough water in it, the roots will not be able to soak in nutrients to convert into new energy.
If your plants are able to make it past the flowering and pod production stages, you will ultimately end up with an abundant crop of peas. However, that will not happen if they are lacking in water since peas are not drought-tolerant plants.
A good rule of thumb is to water the flowering pea plants with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly. However, if the soil is drying out more quickly than usual, increase the frequency. Check the soil 3-5 days after watering if the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil is completely dry and add more moisture as needed.
Hot Growing Environment
If you do succession planting and the last few batches of peas are expected to flower when the weather is hot and dry, your peas may reach the point where they need to be watered daily to keep them from dying or pea production from stopping.
You will want to check the ground every day to ensure that it remains moist from an inch (2.5 cm) down. You can apply a 2-4 inch (5-10 cm) layer of organic mulch like straw or compost to keep the soil moist for longer.
Very Sandy or Porous Soil
Pea plants love moisture but need adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging. They can grow in any type of soil so the watering frequency can vary depending on the type of soil in your vegetable garden. That said, sandy or porous soils drain out faster and need more frequent watering.
To ensure your peas are well-hydrated, water them deeply and check how long it takes for the soil to dry out enough to warrant another watering. Make adjustments accordingly depending on the amount of rainfall in your area and whether or not you’re using mulch for better moisture retention.
The Effects of Too Little Water
Like with any other living thing, pea plants need the appropriate amount of water to be able to flourish and grow. If they do not have access to or are not able to soak in enough water, they will struggle to survive.
Some plants will even modify their appearance if they don’t receive enough water. For example, carrots will grow hairs to seek extra moisture.
The signs that your pea plants are beginning to lack hydration will be fairly easy to notice.
The leaves will start to wilt and eventually shrivel up since the plant is no longer able to produce growth pressure from within. Watering your peas as soon as you notice the leaves shriveling should be enough to help them perk up.
However, once the leaves turn brown, it can indicate that vegetable production has ceased and the plants are too damaged to be restored.
Tips for Keeping Your Pea Plants Hydrated
Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your pea plants receive enough water to grow successfully
Early Morning Watering
If you are growing your pea plants during a season that is warm for your environment—particularly if you live in a climate that is always warm—be sure to water the plants first thing in the morning.
It is essential to do this because the leaves on pea plants are very sensitive to temperature. The plants need enough water in their stems and leaves to protect themselves from the warm or hot environment.
In addition, the midday sun can heat up the water pipes and the water within. If you water your plants with very warm water (over 77 °F or 25 °C), it has the potential to scorch the plants’ leaves.
Water that is too high in temperature also has the power to affect the flowering of the pea plants. If the plant gets burned by the water, the buds that have already grown have the potential to drop off, and the plant may be unable to continue producing flowers.
To be sure that none of these problems happen, start out your day by watering your peas when the temperature is still comfortable, and the sun is not yet beating down on the garden. Moreover, ensure that the water temperature is between 62 and 72 °F (17 and 22 °C).
Type of Soil
When you are first planting your peas in the ground, be sure to pay attention to what type of soil they are going to be grown in. The kind of soil your peas are developing in will make a difference in how best to go about watering the plants.
If you have clayey soil, following the procedure of watering your pea plants weekly with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water can be quite a lot to put onto a plant all at one time.
When your peas are planted in heavier soil that does not quickly drain moisture, and you pour the entire contents in one go, the ground could become waterlogged. Too much water sitting in one portion of the soil could essentially drown your pea plants if you are not careful.
With soil that is made of clay or a denser material, it is best to water the pea plants in small increments or space the watering sessions longer, so they are not overwhelmed.
If the peas are growing in soil that drains well, it is okay for you to pour that 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water in a steady stream because the earth will be able to absorb and efficiently distribute the entire portion of water. You may also need to water the soil two or more times a week.
Avoid Watering the Vines
When you are going through the process of watering your peas, be sure to focus the stream of water directly into the soil as opposed to on top of the growing plants.
Because you are providing a large amount of hydration at one time, there is the potential for too much moisture to sit on and around the leaves and stems of the peas. If that water stays stagnant for too long, mold and other diseases could possibly appear, ruining your crop.
Watering directly into the soil allows the water to reach the roots deep in the ground, giving them the energy they need and saving the part of the plant that is above ground from rotting.
Use Organic Matter in Your Soil
The final tip for keeping your pea plants properly watered is to mix some sort of organic material into the soil.
Adding compost or mulch to your soil can be beneficial for many fruit and vegetable plants for various reasons, one of which is that it helps lock moisture into the ground and keep the roots of the plants cool.
If your peas are growing in a season that is particularly hot and dry, or you just don’t think they are receiving the amount of hydration they need, surrounding them with organic matter should help to resolve that problem.
You can work 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of compost evenly in the top 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) of the soil to improve moisture retention within the root zone. Alternatively, lay 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) of compost or straw over the soil as a mulch layer to slow down moisture evaporation.
Watering your peas once on a weekly basis should be plenty to keep them well-hydrated and growing strong. If that is not enough, the steps provided in this article will help to ensure your peas receive enough moisture.