Growing Peas crop nutrition advice

Everything you need to know about fertilising peas, best practice, suitable products, field trials and more.

Crop nutrition advice for growing peas

  • Pea crops thrive best in soil with a pH level between 6.0 to 7.5.

  • Pea crops prefer well-drained, loamy soil with good fertility.

  • Pea crops thrive best in cool temperatures, with an optimal range of 13°C to 21°C.

  • Pea crops thrive best in full sun to partial shade, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

  • Pea crops require consistently moist soil for optimal growth and development.

  • Pea crops require a balanced intake of nutrients to ensure healthy growth, robust fruit development, and disease resistance.

Pea plants with healthy leaves
Peas harvested in optimum condition


The Significance of Peas

Peas hold a significant position in the agricultural landscape of the United Kingdom, valued for their nutritional content, versatility, and contribution to sustainable farming practices. As a staple legume crop, peas play a vital role in both human consumption and animal feed industries. They offer a rich source of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins, making them a valuable component of a balanced diet. Additionally, peas are known for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, enhancing soil fertility, and supporting crop rotation strategies, thereby promoting long-term soil health and productivity.


Pea Cultivation in the UK

The UK cultivates a substantial area of land dedicated to pea farming, with hundreds of hectares under cultivation annually. This extensive cultivation underscores the importance of peas in meeting the demands of various sectors, including food processing companies and animal feed manufacturers, which rely heavily on peas as a primary ingredient in their products, ensuring a reliable supply chain for the agricultural industry.Cucumbers, scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, are one of the most versatile and widely cultivated crops globally. Belonging to the gourd family, cucumbers are renowned for their crisp texture, refreshing flavour, and culinary versatility. With origins dating back thousands of years to the ancient civilizations of India and China, cucumbers have transcended cultural boundaries to become a staple in cuisines worldwide.


What are the Nutrient Requirements of a pea crop?

Pea crops have relatively modest nutrient requirements, primarily needing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for optimal growth and yield. Nitrogen fixation by pea plants helps meet a significant portion of their nitrogen needs. Phosphorus is essential for early root development, while potassium supports overall plant vigour and stress tolerance.


What are the roles of nutrients in peas?

  • Nitrogen: Essential for overall plant growth and development, nitrogen is crucial for the formation of proteins, enzymes, and chlorophyll in pea plants.
  • Phosphorus: Promotes root development, flowering, and fruit set in pea plants. Phosphorus is vital for energy transfer and the formation of DNA and RNA.
  • Potassium: Facilitates nutrient uptake, water regulation, and disease resistance in pea plants. It also contributes to enzyme activation and photosynthesis.
  • Calcium: Enhances cell wall strength and structure, reducing the risk of disorders like blossom end rot in pea plants. Calcium also plays a role in membrane permeability and signaling pathways.
  • Magnesium: Essential component of chlorophyll, magnesium is vital for photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in pea plants. It also regulates enzyme activity and contributes to nutrient uptake and utilisation.


Estimated nutrient uptake (kg/t) by: 


Nutrient uptake by seeds55-6515-2030-405-917-25


What are the common deficiencies & Issues found in a pea crop?

When cultivating pea crops, several common nutrient deficiencies and issues may arise, impacting plant health and yield potential. Nitrogen deficiency is a prevalent concern, particularly in soils lacking organic matter or nitrogen-fixing bacteria, leading to stunted growth and reduced vigour. Phosphorus deficiency can inhibit early root development and limit flowering and pod formation, affecting overall yield. Potassium deficiency may manifest as weak stems and susceptibility to diseases, compromising plant resilience. Additionally, pea crops are susceptible to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, which can spread rapidly under humid conditions, affecting foliage and pod quality. Adequate soil fertility management and disease prevention strategies, coupled with proper irrigation and cultural practices, are essential for mitigating these nutrient deficiencies and issues, ensuring healthy pea crop growth and optimal yield.


Nitrogen DeficiencySymptoms include stunted growth, yellowing of older leaves (chlorosis), and reduced yield.
Phosphorous DeficiencyManifests as slow or stunted growth, purplish discoloration of leaves, and poor root development.
Potassium DeficiencyLeads to yellowing or browning of leaf margins (necrosis), weak stems, and increased susceptibility to diseases.
Calcium DeficiencyLeads to blossom end rot in pea crops, characterized by dark, sunken spots on the fruit's blossom end, ultimately reducing overall yield and fruit quality.
Magnesium DeficiencyCauses interveinal chlorosis in pea plants, where yellowing occurs between leaf veins while the veins remain green. This deficiency can impair photosynthesis and overall plant growth.
Sulphur DeficiencyResults in overall chlorosis, particularly in younger leaves, and stunted growth in pea crops.


Powdery Mildew: Fungal disease characterized by white powdery growth on leaves, affecting photosynthesis and reducing yield.

Root Rot: Caused by fungal pathogens in poorly drained soils, resulting in root decay, wilting, and plant death.

Pea Aphids: Common pests that feed on sap, causing stunted growth, curled leaves, and reduced yield.


How can I spot Nutrient Deficiencies in Peas?

Detecting nutrient deficiencies in pea crops requires careful observation of plant symptoms and understanding their underlying causes. For nitrogen deficiency, early signs include pale green or yellowing leaves, starting from the older bottom leaves, and progressing upwards. Stunted growth and reduced leaf size may also indicate nitrogen deficiency. Phosphorus deficiency manifests as purplish discoloration on leaves, particularly along the leaf margins or between veins, along with delayed maturity and poor root development. Potassium deficiency presents as yellowing or browning of leaf edges, followed by necrosis and leaf curling. Fungal diseases like powdery mildew are identifiable by the presence of white, powdery spots on leaves and stems, progressing to yellowing and distortion of affected tissues. Regular scouting of pea crops, coupled with soil testing and nutrient monitoring, aids in early detection and intervention, allowing growers to implement appropriate corrective measures to mitigate deficiencies and ensure optimal pea crop health and productivity.


Use of ICL’s Products such as Polysulphate in Pea Cultivation

ICL’s products, like Polysulphate, play a crucial role in optimising pea cultivation. Polysulphate, with its balanced composition of essential nutrients, including sulphur, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, supports healthy pea growth and development. The controlled release of nutrients ensures a steady supply throughout the growing season, promoting robust plant growth, improved disease resistance, and enhanced yield potential. Integrating Polysulphate into pea cultivation practices can lead to increased productivity, better quality peas, and sustainable agricultural practices, aligning with the goals of modern farming operations.


Here are some frequently asked questions we received from farmers regarding growing peas.

  • Pea seeds should be planted about 1 to 1.5 inches deep in the soil. Planting too shallow may expose seeds to drying out, while planting too deep can delay germination.

  • Pea plants require consistent moisture, especially during flowering and pod development. Water deeply whenever the soil feels dry to the touch, aiming to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

  • To prevent pests like pea aphids and diseases like powdery mildew, practice good garden hygiene, rotate crops, and avoid planting peas in the same location year after year. Additionally, monitoring plants regularly and addressing issues promptly can help minimize damage.

  • Apply fertiliser before planting or during early growth stages to ensure nutrients are available when the plants need them most. Side-dress additional fertiliser as needed during the growing season, particularly if plants show signs of nutrient deficiency.

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