Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

How—and When—to Water Your Pea Plants

Watering peas in the garden.

Watering peas in the garden.

Peas aren’t too needy when it comes to water. They require about an inch of water a week, including rainwater. Water early in the day so that by the time the sun goes down the plants will have dried, helping to prevent mildew and diseases. One deep watering a week is better for your pea plants than frequent light watering. Make sure the water has reached a depth of 3 to 6 inches—check the soil to see. If you don’t have the time or patience to do it yourself, consider a drip hose or some other drip-irrigation method that will deliver water slowly and deeply into the soil for your pea plants.

How often you water your pea plants depends on how hot it is and how often they receive water naturally from the rain. Don’t overwater. If you’ve watered—or it has rained—recently and you pea plants look droopy in the afternoon, hold off watering until the next day: the plants may perk up overnight. If you want to be sure your pea plants are thirsty, dig down about 3 inches; if the soil feels dry at that depth, then go ahead and water.

Watering becomes a priority once the plants are blossoming and producing pods. Never allow the soil to dry out or you’ll stunt pea production. When pods are maturing in hot weather, water daily if needed to maintain pod quality.

Tip: Avoid watering during the hottest time of the day as much of the water will evaporate before being absorbed.

When watering pea plants, direct the water straight to the soil and the roots. Don’t spray the plants from above. Spraying the plants from above can cause disease and pests to thrive on your plants. Also, watering pea plants from above leads to premature water evaporation, unnecessarily wasting water. Using mulch can help keep water where the plants need it and also slow down evaporation.

When you properly water your peas, you’ll have healthy plants and a good harvest. Improper watering can lead to the following problems that you want to avoid:

  • Mildew
  • Stunted growth
  • Susceptibility to pests and disease
  • Reduced harvests and lesser-quality peas

How often do you water your pea plants? And what time of day do you water? Please tell us how you ensure that your pea plants get the right amount of water.

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