Pea Shoots

We keep our cravings for fresh greens satisfied with pea shoots, while we wait for the warmer temperatures of spring and can again harvest fresh veggies from the garden.  What are pea shoots you ask? 2015-03-23 08.53.03They are very young pea plants. Shoots are started the same way as sprouts, but instead of eating them right away, we put the sprouted peas into some medium(seed starting mix, peat moss, or coconut coir) and allow them to grow until they are 3-4 inches tall.  Sam would declare them his favorite snack, well maybe second to carrots.

Here is what you need to grow your own pea shoots:

  • dried peas or pea seeds
  • quart mason jar
  • water/spray bottle
  • seed starting mix, peat moss, or coconut coir
  • seed starting flat or other water tight container
  • a  sunny window

I think the hardest part is sourcing the dried peas.  If you are lucky your grocery store will carry them, just make sure they are whole dry peas, split peas will not germinate.  I found some online and ordered 10 pounds from a bulk food site. You can also order from a seed company but I think the price is higher.2015-03-23 10.34.52 2015-03-23 10.36.47For my 21″x 10 1/2″ black plastic seed starting tray, I use 1 cup dried peas.  Place the dried peas in the quart mason jar and fill with water until one inch for top.  Allow the pea seeds to soak for 12 hours. During that time the peas will soak up most of the water.2015-02-16 08.44.40After the peas have soaked, strain off the water and return them to the jar.  I then rinse the peas twice a day until they sprout, it usually takes two to three days. You will see the root emerging from the seed,  they are now ready for the tray.2015-02-17 15.33.52Fill the tray with 1/2 to 1 inch of medium, you don’t need much just enough to cover the bottom of the tray.  Then evenly spread the pea seeds on top in a single layer.  If you wish you can cover the seeds with more growing medium.  The top covering will just help keep the seeds from drying out.2015-02-17 15.22.27Place the tray in a sunny window and don’t allow them to dry out.  But remember the container does not have any drainage so the peas don’t what to be flooded or they might mold.  I use a spray bottle to mist them.  After a week or two when the shoots are about 3 inches tall, we use scissors to cut our shoots for salads, stir fry’s, and snacks. When you are harvesting leave a leaf or two on the plant and you can get a second harvest.  After the second harvest we feed what is left to our chickens.2015-03-23 08.54.302015-03-23 08.54.39I hope you give pea shoots a try, they taste like fresh sugar snap peas from the garden.  Enjoy!

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