How to Grow Pea Shoots or Pea Microgreens
Pea shoots, not to be confused with pea sprouts (sprouts are grown in water) are very popular and this isn't surprising if you've tasted them.
These curly green tendrils when chopped up add that just picked from the garden freshness to salads or any other dish. Imagine the taste of fresh shelled peas without going through the tedious task of removing them from the pod.
Pea shoots, or microgreens, are easy to grow (once you know a couple of tricks) and often you get more than one harvest from a tray!
Let me show you the best method we've found to grow these beautiful tasting pea microgreens. Click on any image to expand it.
The Best Method to Grow Pea Shoots or Microgreens
We had to break a lot of our microgreen growing rules to find this method. If you've read our other how to grow microgreen articles, you know that we've found that soaking and covering seeds with soil are not necessary.
But because pea seeds are planted tight together, and the roots have the tendency to lift the plants out of the tray, we had to modify our methods.
If you'd rather watch how to grow pea shoots, we've created a video showing exactly how we start, grow, and harvest pea microgreens. You can play the video, and then see better images and a more in-depth explanation of the process in the article below the video.
Our Method to Grow Pea Shoots
We grow pea microgreens differently than other microgreens.
That isn't to say other methods won't work, because they do, even for us. However, after many trials, we found that the following steps and process produced the best pea shoot microgreens over and over again.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 1
Soak the appropriate amount of pea seeds in non-chlorinated water for between 6- and 12-hours. Soaking for longer is okay if time gets away from you, but don't go longer than 24-hours as the peas will start to sprout and the radicle many get damaged when planted.
Soaking for less time will work. However, the seeds will germinate at different times, and this can cause problems.
How Much Pea Seed to Soak
Maybe this should be Step 0.5, but we need to tell you how many pea seeds to soak.
Our First Mistake!
The first time we grew peas, we knew that the tray surface had to be almost completely covered with seeds.
Simple right, cover the bottom of a tray with seed, then put the seeds in water. Well, that was the first mistake because pea seeds swell when put into water. So when we planted the seeds we had way too many and had to put the extras in another tray.
Figuring Out the Right Amount of Seed
For you, this task is now simple!
Use the calculator in this post. Adjust the sliders to your tray's planting dimensions and scroll down to "peas," and this will get you close to the amount of pea seed to use for your trays.
Want to Know the Ideal Seeding Density?
Go to this article with an embedded easy to use microgreen seed calculator.
Hang On Though
We also sell pea seeds by the half and full-pound, so if you're using different size trays the calculator will show how much seed you need.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 2
Fill your planting tray with a professional soil mix about half an inch from the top of the tray and level the surface.
If you're using the New Home Microgreens Tray, fill the planting tray up to the first ridge from the bottom. Slightly compact the soil and wet the top of the soil with a spray bottle. Don't soak all of the soil, only the upper surface.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 3
Using a strainer, dump out the soaking water and rinse the seeds with fresh non-chlorinated water.
Dump the seeds onto the soil surface and spread them out by gently rolling them around. The pea seeds should take up most, if not all, of the planting surface in the tray.
You can gently pack them down into the soil but don't force them.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 4
Here's where we deviate from what we usually do again.
Cover the seeds with more soil.
First, we soak seeds, and now we're covering them with soil? Yep, different strokes for different seeds.
The video shows how to work the soil down between the seeds. The top of the soil level doesn't want to be above the top of the tray. In fact, the soil will lift once the peas grow, so just cover the seeds.
Use a spray bottle to wet this covering soil thoroughly. Let the water settle the soil down between the seeds. If you need to add more soil go ahead. Continue to add and wet the soil.
The key points to remember are not to bring the soil level above the top of the tray and to wet this soil thoroughly.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 5
Even though the seeds are covered in soil, we still will place a cover over the top of the soil, place a weight on the cover and put them in the dark.
From our experience, the radicle and first primary roots of peas are long and thick. They have a tendency to push the seed upward.
Adding the weight, in fact, a heavy weight helps force the roots to spread outward and not push the seed up out of the soil. As you can see, we've added 5-pounds to the cover. Even adding 7.5-pounds wouldn't be out of the question.
Would Deeper Trays Be Better For Pea Shoots?
We think so! The 5-by-5 or 10-by-10 inch trays are deeper and would work great for pea shoots. Plant the seeds the same way and the deeper tray will produce better roots and plants!
Growing Pea Shoots - Steps 6 & 7
The next step might be the hardest.
Leave the tray alone for 3-days! Let the seeds germinate and set deep roots by leaving the weight on the seeds.
In fact, as you saw in the video. You did watch the video, didn't you? The pea shoots or microgreens weren't ready to place under the lights until the fourth day. Below are the pea shoots on Day 3 and Day 4.
When the pea sprouts are over an inch long, it's time to place them under lights.
Growing Pea Shoots - Steps 8
Next, settle the soil around the growing plants by spraying water on them using a spray bottle.
Even with the weight on the tray, the seeds have pushed up, and the soil is loose.
Spray the microgreens with water will settle the soil back down into the root zone and make it easier when it comes to harvest time.
Now is also the time to bottom water the tray. Place them either in the Home Microgreens watering tray or some other tray that will hold water. Pour in some water and let the planting tray soak up water for a few minutes.
Don't let the tray sit in water for hours. If it hasn't soaked up all the water within an hour, pour off the extra and let the tray drain.
Growing Pea Shoots - Steps 9
Let the pea shoots grow for several more days.
Harvest the pea shoots when the plants have developed tendrils and are 3- to 5-inches tall.
Be sure to check the moisture level often, peas use quite a bit of water as they grow a lot of leaves quickly.
Growing Pea Shoots - Step 10
It's harvest time!
When the pea shoots look like the tray below, they're ready to harvest.
To harvest your pea shoots, slightly tilt your pea shoot tray over a cutting board or other receptacle and use a pair of stainless steel scissors to cut off the pea tendrils and the upper couple whirls of leaves.
I'm sure you watched the video, you did, right? Well, in the video I cut the peas a bit too low. Some of the peas regrew, but not all of them.
If I cut them higher, the yield on the second cutting would've been higher.
Remember you only have to harvest the amount of pea shoots that you're going to use at the time. Put the tray back and let the others grow larger while the cut portion starts to grow again.
If you want, you can harvest the whole tray and store what you don't use in a zip lock bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Pea shoots have a longer shelf life than the most other microgreens.
Using the soil to cover the seeds can cause a little mess because the soil is looser than in typical microgreen trays.
That is the advantage of cutting the shoots onto a plate. If a bit of soil comes out of the tray when the shoots are harvested, just fluff the greens and the soil will fall onto the plate and can be thrown away.
After Harvesting Pea Shoots
Once you've finished harvesting your pea shoots, you can either put the tray back under the light and water, as usual, to see if the peas will grow new tendrils for a second and sometimes, third harvest.
Are Your Ready to Start Growing Pea Shoots?
Click the buttons below to visit the Home Microgreens Store to buy your trays and pea seeds to start your own tray!
Have You Grown Pea Shoots Before?
If you have, drop us a comment and let us know how you grow your pea shoots. We are all about learning from others here at Home Microgreens.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions about the information in this post or microgreens in general, please leave a comment below, or reach out to me using the Ask a Question page.
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