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Growing Pea Shoots for a Quick, Healthy & Tasty Snack

Pea shoots are a great way to get in some winter gardening and add some fresh food to your diet when the days are cold and short. You don’t have to be an experienced or patient gardener to grow your own and they’re ready to eat in only a week.

pea shoots under grow light in black tray with text overlay How to grow pea shoots

Pea shoots are one of my favorite gardening ‘fast foods’. They’re eaten just past the baby stage, maybe we can call it the tweens?

That short-term commitment makes them perfect for people who are just getting started with gardening or anyone looking to jump into growing food with zero patience.

What are Pea Shoots?

Pea shoots or pea sprouts are the legume equivalent of baby greens. They’re not like traditional sprouts that are germinated and ‘grown’ in water then eaten roots and all before any true leaves form.

Read more about Growing Sprouts for Fresh Food Anytime

Instead, pea shoots are grown in a soil or soil-less mix and grow true leaves. You don’t eat the roots instead you clip them off with scissors and toss the root/soil leftovers to the chickens or in the compost.

The idea time to eat pea shoots is at 3-4 inches tall, they’ll have a delicious, snappy pea flavor with a tender texture.

If you let them go a bit longer they’ll get stringy and tough.

If you miss the perfect harvest window, it’s not hard to try again! It’s a fast process, only taking a few weeks from seed to table.

Supplies for Growing Pea Shoots Indoors

To get started you will need:

black seed starting trays, seed starting mix and a clear cup full of soaked pea seeds
  • Pea seeds– I buy mine in bulk from True Leaf Market
  • Large Jar
  • Water
  • 1020 tray, 1010 tray or 5×5 tray with no holes
  • Something to cover the seeds (I use another tray)
  • Seed Starting Mix or Minute Soil
  • Watering jug (I use a milk jug with holes popped in the top, it works really well for the sturdy peas)
  • Space under a grow light or in a sunny window

Growing pea shoots doesn’t require much in the way of equipment. I use my grow light and seed starting trays (everywhere from 5×5 to 1020) but you can easily grow a smaller batch in a pot on the windowsill.

A 10 x 20 tray gives you a lot of pea shoots so unless you’re planning to share them or you really, really like pea shoots I recommend starting with a smaller container like a 5×5 tray.

I’ve only grown pea shoots from seeds that were specifically packaged for that purpose.

With sprouts you should only use sprouting seeds due to potential contamination, I’m not sure you’d have the same problems with pea shoots because you aren’t eating the actual seed but I’m good living life on the safer non-e coli side.

When it comes to light I use a grow light because I have one. I have grown pea shoots in a sunny window and they get a little leggy but still taste good.

If you don’t have room for a giant 2×4 foot grow light hanging from the ceiling you can get good results from a small clip-on grow light with a built-in timer. I picked up one from Amazon for my 2024 Microgreens rabbit hole and had pretty good results.

Learn How to Grow Hydroponic Microgreens at Home

How to Grow Pea Shoots:

Start by adding your peas to a jar and filling it with water. For a 5×5 tray I use about an 1/8 of a cup of seeds, you want them to be close but not overlapping.

Keep in mind that they will swell up a lot and grow in size once they’ve been soaked.

pea seeds soaking in a mason jar cup in a cabinet

Let them sit for a few hours or overnight to soak up the water and get plump. I keep mine in the cabinet with the coffee cups, I never forget to check that cabinet in the morning!

Get your trays ready buy spreading about an 1-1.5 inches of seed starting mix in the bottom of the tray. Make sure it’s moist but not soggy, you also don’t want dry, hydrophobic soil so it’s a balance.

pea seeds starting to grow

Next you need to drain the water off the peas, and scatter them over the soil mix. I like to use my sprouting lids for this but you can use a regular kitchen strainer or even your hands.

Place an empty tray on top of your peas and gently press down to squish the seeds into the soil. Then you can just leave it there to block out the light and apply a tiny bit of pressure to the seeds to inspire growth.

Move your tray to a warmish place and leave it until the seeds germinate and start to push the tray up.

I keep my house around 65 degrees and they germinate perfectly fine with no additional heat, peas are a cool season crop and love the lower temps that would make basil faint.

pea shoots starting to grow between two trays

Exactly how long this takes will depend on the temperature in the room and the peas themselves. As long as you’re checking daily to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out you won’t miss anything important.

When you see the plants pushing the tray up, remove it and start turning on the grow light in the morning or move the peas into a window.

If you have a grow light set it up on a timer aiming for about 12-14 hours of light. The plants will look very yellow at first but will turn green quickly with the light.

From here on it’s pretty hands-off until harvest time, just keep the lights going, water when things dry out, and try to keep the cat from chomping on your hard work.

I usually wait for the pea shoots to get to about 4 inches tall but you can start snacking at any time. The easiest way to harvest is with sharp scissors by clipping them off near the roots.

You can also gently gnaw on them if you’re looking to cultivate a quirky and unhinged personality.

When the tray is done toss the roots and soil it in the compost bin or out to the chickens.

How to Eat Pea Shoots

Chances are you’ve never eaten a pea shoot and let me tell you, you are missing out. Pea shoots are tender, sweet, and juicy. They taste like snow peas and if you cut them young enough they aren’t stringy.

Everyone I’ve shared them with has been skeptical and then immediately won over. It doesn’t seem like they’d be anything good to eat but they really are full of flavor.

peas shoots on wooden cutting board

Put them in your mouth. Really that’s all I do, they’re a great snack.  I think they would make a really nice salad topper or a whole salad if you grew enough.

I put them in sandwiches and add them to veggie stir-fries at the very end.

You can toss them in a blender if you’re into green smoothies. I believe fancy restaurants are using them as a garnish but I think they’re too pretty to just be decoration.

Check out my Vegetable Garden page for more ideas or start here:

freshy cut sunflower microgreens on a cutting board with a black plastic 5x5 tray filled with sunflower shoots in the background with text overlay "how to grow sunflower microgreens"
tipped over mason jar filled with green alfalfa sprouts, sprouts spilling onto a wooden cutting board with text overlay "how to grow sprouts for fresh food anytime"
large green snow pea


Thursday 19th of March 2020

Pea shoots are also really good added to a stir fry. Add them at the last, just for a couple minutes to wilt (just like spinach).


Saturday 12th of January 2019

A good post with something new that I should try. I know of pea shoots but I never thought they can be used as salad!! I am going to try this hack. Nice tutorials on how to go about it as well.


Monica (NYCTechMommy)

Tuesday 6th of February 2018

I’ve never heard of these before but I’d love to try growing pea shoots. It would be something cool to do with the kids!


Monday 5th of February 2018

I need to try this. I have some grow lights gathering dust and a noticeable dearth of fresh veggies available. I mean, the store has them - but not usually pea shoots - and I love them. I haven't had them in years.


Monday 5th of February 2018

I would love to try and grow some! We have a grow light as my son likes taking pits and parts of veggies to see if he can grow more!