How to Plant Peas Indoors


Garden peas (green, snap and snow peas) are cool-weather vegetables grown on trellises or vertical nettings. Southern peas or field peas are warmer weather legumes grown as nitrogen-fixing cover crops or for dried peas for soups and stews. Garden peas and field peas prefer to be started outdoors, but with care they can be started indoors and transplanted for a jump on the planting season. Pea shoots and dwarf varieties of garden peas also can be grown indoors year-round for a delicious salad addition.

Step 1

Mix one part of well-aged compost with three parts of a seed-starting medium five weeks before the average last frost date for garden peas or two weeks before the average last frost date for field peas. Moisten the mixture with rain water until it is the texture of fresh chocolate cake. Fill the peat pots lightly with the compost mixture. Let them settle overnight and top off the peat pots with the mixture. Do not compact them.

Step 2

Poke holes 1-1/2 inches deep in the compost mix of each peat pot and drop a garden pea seed in each hole. Sprinkle additional compost over the holes to cover the peas. Place the peat pots in a seed tray and set in a sunny location.

Step 3

Water lightly on a twice-daily basis, as peat pots tend to dry out quickly. As pea shoots emerge, cut watering back to once a day. Rotate the trays so the peas get sunlight more evenly.

Step 4

Hoe a trench in the garden the width and depth of your peat pots one week before the average last frost date for garden peas or two weeks after the average last frost date for field peas. Water the trench and sprinkle compost in the bottom.

Step 5

Transplant the peas to the trench by slicing open the sides and removing the bottom of the peat pot with a utility knife so as to disturb the roots as little as possible. Place the transplant and its block of soil gently in the trench and pull soil in around the transplant blocks. Water lightly. Mulch with additional compost or straw.

Step 6

Mix compost and seed-starting medium, dampen with rain water, and add about a tablespoon of kelp powder per gallon of mixture in mid-autumn. Fill the decorative pots and aluminum loaf trays with compost mixture, leveling off the surface but not compacting the medium.

Step 7

Poke holes 1-1/2 inches deep about 2 inches apart in the mixture in the decorative pot with a pencil or a dowel. Drop in seeds from a dwarf variety of snow pea, such as the heirloom "Tom Thumb", and cover the peas with additional compost mixture. Water daily and keep in a sunny location, turning for even distribution of light.

Step 8

Soak sugar pea seeds such as Dwarf Gray Sugar in water overnight, then sprinkle them in a solid layer on top of the compost-mixture filled loaf pans. Fold a single sheet of newspaper to the size of the loaf pan, saturate it with water and place it over the peas on top of the tray. Place the tray in a dark cabinet or drawer for four days.

Step 9

Remove the newspaper and place the tray in indirect sunlight for an additional four days, watering lightly if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat pots or cow pots, 4 inches square or larger
  • Tray
  • Decorative pot at least 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches high, with saucer
  • Aluminum mini-loaf pans, 3 inches by 6 inches
  • Seed germination mix
  • Compost
  • Kelp powder
  • Rain water
  • Pencil or dowel
  • Flat bladed hoe
  • Utility knife
  • Mulch straw
  • Newspaper


  • How to Grow Southern Peas, Harvest Wizard
  • The Daily Gardener
  • Tom Thumb Pea, U. Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Who Can Help

  • Peas, U. Illinois Extension
Keywords: plant peas, sweet peas, garden peas

About this Author

Cindy Hill has practiced law since 1987 and maintained a career in freelance writing since 1978. Hill has won numerous fiction and poetry awards and has published widely in the field of law and politics. She is an adjunct instructor of ethics and communications.