Winter is a lonely time for a gardener. I miss spending my days, afternoons and nights covered in dirt and making things grow.
It’s not quite the same but I have figured out how to get my gardening fix when the snow flies. One of my favorite things to do under the grow light is grow pea shoots.
Pea shoots or pea sprouts sit somewhere past micro-greens but nowhere near a full crop. Your goal is to get 3-4 inch pea shoots. It’s fast, it only takes a few weeks from start to finish. Pea shoots are gardening fast food.
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 then 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.
Growing pea shoots doesn’t require much in the way of equipment. I use my grow light and 10×20 trays but you can easily grow a smaller batch in a pot on the windowsill. I am trying to start another batch of alpine strawberries so I had the light on anyway.
Supplies for Growing Pea Shoots:
? Pea seeds– I buy mine in bulk from either Johnny’s Seeds or Botanical Interests.
? Large Jar
? Something to cover the seeds (I use another tray)
? Seed Starting Mix
? 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
I’ve only grown pea shoots from seeds that were specifically packaged for that purpose but I have quite a few packets of half full seeds left over from years past. I will be experimenting with them soon.
I use a grow light because I have one. I have grown them in a sunny window, they get a little leggy but they still taste good.
How to Grow Pea Shoots:
1. Pour 1/2 cup of peas into a jar and fill with water. Let sit over night. I keep mine in the cabinet with the coffee cups, I never forget to check that cabinet in the morning 😉
2. Spread about an inch of seed starting mix in the bottom of the tray. I use shallow trays so I can keep the light closer but use whatever you have.
3. Drain the water off the peas, scatter over the soil mix.
4. Water lightly. Place another tray on top and gently press down (day 2 after planting)
5. Move to a warm place and leave until the seeds germinate and start to push the tray up. Check daily and don’t let the soil dry out.
6. When you see the plants pushing the tray up remove it and start turning on the light in the morning. I have a timer somewhere, but until I find it I turn the light on around 7 when I leave for work and off around 9 or 10 when I go to bed (day 4 after planting). The plants will look very yellow at first but will turn green quickly with the light.
7. Lights, water, keep the cat away. Whiskers has it out for the peas, if I don’t get the door closed perfectly he can force it open and he gnaws on the plants and rips them out of the soil.
8. You can start snacking at any time, I usually wait for them to get to about 4 inches tall. Clip them off near the roots.
9. When the tray is done toss it in the compost or out to the chickens.
How to Eat Pea Shoots:
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.
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 Garden page for more ideas or start here: