How to: Grow Peas Hydroponically

By: Chris | Last Updated: November 23, 2020

Known for their squishy texture and very green color, peas are the quintessential vegetable that children at dinner tables across America push around their plates instead of eating. 

Peas are part of the legume family. Interestingly, the inner pea or seed is actually considered a fruit though I would not recommend adding them to a fruit salad! 

Many youngsters have been known to hide them in mashed potatoes or even feed them to the dog! But what peas lack in child enjoyment, they certainly make up for in adult crunch and deliciousness, not to mention health benefits.  

Peas are Nutrient Superstars

Peas — whether you consider them vegetable, fruit, or legume — certainly pack a nutritional punch! One serving of peas, a full half-cup, will only set you back 62 calories, but will offer 11 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. 

Nutrient wise, peas really shine with their 34 percent of recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, along with being a good source of VitaminK, Vitamin C, and thiamine, among others.  Fresh is best, but not everyone has the climate or yard space to grow a plot of peas. 

Growing peas hydroponically is a great way to get the nutrition and taste you love, all in a great little pod! Hydroponic gardens grow vegetables in water rather than soil. In hydroponic gardening, the nutrients are infused into the water itself since the vegetables are not grown in nutrient-rich soil. 

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Fast Facts about Growing Peas

Learning to grow peas hydroponically is surprisingly easy. Of course there are many levels of hydroponics that you can immerse yourselves in (pun intended), from the simple to the profound. 

You can buy a ritzy hydroponic system designed for gardening, or make your own from PVC. No matter which system you choose, consider the following technical elements of growing peas:

Hydroponic Pea Shoots
Don’t want to wait for peas? Grow pea shoot microgreens in 7 days!

How to Germinate Peas Indoors

Germinating peas indoors is really simple, especially using this paper towel seed germination method. Pre-soak the seeds for 2-3 hours, then use the linked method.

If you’ve grown peas outdoors before, you know the weather plays a huge factor in how well your plants perform. Cold, rainy climates will often waterlog pea seeds and result in failed germination or poor producing plants.

The biggest advantage of indoor germination is that you control the climate AND the water. Using the paper towel germination method above, pea seeds will sprout in 7-10 days!

Even if you plan to sow peas outside, germinate them inside to make sure they produce at their peak all season!

Time to Germinate: 7-10 days | Special Requirements: 55-65°F | Difficulty: Easy

Hydroponic Peas Fact Sheet

How to Grow Peas

Growing peas hydroponically is something that home gardeners can do and enjoy. Although it might sound difficult at first, there are many ways to do this yourself. Peas will grow well in most hydroponic systems.

If you don’t already have a system, a basic deep water culture (DWC) system can be setup quickly and inexpensively. All you need are the following:

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The plants grow best at temperatures around 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the growing conditions are too warm, this will mitigate the growth of the peas and lessen the harvest. 

Snow peas, snap peas and pea shoots are best for hydroponic growing, as fresh shell peas take up too much room.

If you plant tall varieties of peas, you will definitely need some form of support. 

The good news for short varieties is that if you plant them in double rows they can support each other and you will not need to add trellises to the system. Plant the peas in double rows, but avoid overcrowding because of the need for space in order to grow, as well as the propensity for fungal growth if peas are planted too closely together. 

New varieties of “dwarf” or “container” peas work nicely with a hydroponic system because they have less tendency to overrun their containers. In addition to choosing an easy-to-grow variety,  make sure to keep your eye out to look for healthy, white roots as the peas grow. 

Grow Peas Hydroponically

Special Growing Facts

Many plants grow well hydroponically, and you are able to save space and take advantage of vertical growing, and a variety of peas are on this list.  

If you have a green thumb but live in the Midwest, for instance, hydroponic gardening gives you a chance to enjoy your hobby year round. You are also able to extend the growing season by bringing the party indoors, and many times the pea plants will yield multiple harvests. 

Here are some other important facts to keep in mind when gardening hydroponically:

Optimal Temperature: 55-65 F
Hours of Sunlight: 8-10 hours
Most Important Nutrient: Nitrogen
Time Until Flowers Form: Around 35-40 days
Time to Maturity: 55-60 days
How to Harvest Peas: Harvest as pods fill out

Best Hydroponic Pea Varieties

Author’s Pick: Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas 🏆

If you are still unsure about your hydroponic pea growing career, take the advice of experts and start with some easy to grow varieties. The best options for sugar snap peas include Dwarf Gray Sugar, Snowbird, and Snowflake. Specifically, the Dwarf Gray Sugar will be easy to manage and great for a smaller hydroponic set up. 

Additionally, the best options for snow peas, also known as Chinese peas, include Mammoth Melting Sugar and Oregon Giant Pod. These varieties of snow peas provide a tender pod which is eaten along with the peas.

Harvesting Hydroponic Peas

Harvest peas around 3 weeks after the flowers appear. Take great care in not waiting too long, as once peas “flower,” they are past their prime. Edible pea pods should be 2-3 inches long, though not yet swollen. Shelling peas are ready when shaped like a cylinder, with a bit of a bulge. 

To harvest, carefully cut ripe pods away from the vine. Be careful not to cut into the vine, and try not to disturb other flowers. Pea plants are hardy, but for optimal production try to keep them as healthy as possible and avoid beating them up while harvesting.

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If you’re growing snow peas, harvest pods as soon as they’re mature to prevent the inner seeds (peas) from flowering.

Note: Harvesting pods from the plants will actually help increase their overall yield.

Photo of open pea pod

Time to Grow

Yellow, purple, or green snow peas are delicious to eat but very expensive, unless you grow them yourself! The peas are so versatile because even the pods, flowers, leaves and tendrils can be eaten in gourmet salads or beautiful garnishes.

Being able to grow peas hydroponically year-round is both cost-efficient and fun.

Even if your children plan to push their peas around their plates, they are still a valuable legume to grow in your hydroponic wonderland. With a little ingenuity, and a whole lot of water and nutrients, you can enjoy the satisfaction of a plant that’s easy grow and harvest, and tastes great! 

FAQ

Can you grow peas hydroponically?

Yes, peas are incredibly easy to grow hydroponically. Deep Water Culture (DWC) systems work great for growing peas and can be built relatively inexpensively. Once you’ve got your system rockin’ and rollin’, you can be harvesting hydroponic peas in about 8 weeks.

Can you grow pea microgreens?

Yes, and they taste wonderful! Pea shoot microgreens are simple to grow and are ready to eat 7-10 days after first planting. Check out How To: Grow Pea Shoot Microgreens for all the details!

Can I grow peas indoors?

Yes, peas grow very well indoors. A good hydroponic grow light will help indoor pea plants thrive and produce at optimal levels. Growing peas indoors will also reduce the risk of damage from pests and disease.

How do you germinate peas indoors?

The easiest way to germinate peas indoors is the paper towel germination method using a paper towel, a container with a lid, and a spray bottle. Soak pea seeds for up to 24hrs prior to germinating. Blackout germinating tray with another tray for two days. A seed heating mat is not needed.

How long does a pea seed take to germinate?

7-10 days. At an air temperature between 65-75°F, pea seeds should germinate indoors in roughly 7-10 days. In my experience, pea seeds normally sprout within 3 days if they are pre-soaked.

What is the best fertilizer for peas?

Liquid fertilizer with an N-P-K formula around 2-1-6 or 3-2-6 is ideal for the vegetative phase of growing peas. Once pods begin to form, switch to an N-P-K formula around 2-8-4 for optimal production.

Chris Cook started Happy Hydro Farm to share his passion for hydroponic gardening! Growing your own food is incredibly rewarding both physically and mentally. His mantra - "Take excellent care of your plants, and your plants will take excellent care of you."