Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Should You Fertilize Your Pea Plants?

Pea seed being planted in fertilized soil.

Pea seed being planted in fertilized soil.

Peas need less fertilizer than most plants. They produce nitrogen on their own—a boon to nearby plants—so go easy on that nutrient. Peas do need phosphorus and potassium to grow. If you haven’t prepared the soil with organic materials like compost or well-rotted manure, bone meal, and ash, you should spread a layer of chemical fertilizer over the pea plot before planting. The best way to know what your pea crop soil needs is to have your soil tested. If you can’t have the soil tested, choose a fertilizer with low nitrogen and a higher concentration of phosphorus and potassium, such as 5-10-10.

Too much nitrogen will give you lush, green pea vines, but very little fruit. If your soil is already high in nitrogen, using straight-up phosphorus, and not a complete, mixed fertilizer, can solve this problem by minimizing the effects of too much nitrogen in the soil.

Do you fertilize your pea plants? What type of fertilizer do you use? How often do you fertilize? Please tell us exactly how and when you fertilize your pea plants.


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