How To Grow Pea Shoots Step-By-Step

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.

how to grow pea shoots or pea microgreens

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 is not necessary.

However 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

home microgreens sells seeds

FREE Home Microgreens Grow course that teaches you the basics of growing microgreens in your home! There are 12 video lessons (over 120 minutes), downloads, and more written information and tips!

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 processes produced the best pea shoot microgreens over and over again.

Growing Pea Shoots – Step 1

Soak the appropriate amount of pea seeds in tap 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 may get damaged when planted.

Soaking for less time will work. However, the seeds will germinate at different times, and this can cause problems.

soaking pea seed

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 calculators in the posts linked below. 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 these articles with an embedded easy-to-use microgreen seed calculator. One gives results in weight, the other in volume.

Hang On Though

If you’re using a Home Microgreens Tray or 10 by 10 tray, the Home Microgreens Store sells pre-weighed packages of pea seed! If you’re using different size trays the calculator will show how much seed you need.

We also sell pea seeds in quarter-pound, one-pound, and 2-1/2 pound bags. Buying in larger bags is the more economical way to buy pea seeds.

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.

soil for pea shoots

Growing Pea Shoots – Step 3

Using a strainer, dump out the soaking water and rinse the seeds with fresh 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. 

pea seeds planted

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.

covering pea seeds with soil
covered pea seeds for pea shoots

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. I use 10 pounds of weight on a 1010 tray and up to 20 pounds on a 1020 tray.

pea shoot seeds with weight on them

We Use These Microgreen Trays

We use Bootstrap Farmer Shallow Heavy-duty trays when we plant 1010 or 1020 trays. We also use their deeper trays to plant peas or other uses.

These trays will never be damaged with normal use.

Heavy-duty Trays

When we grow microgreens for ourselves we use the Home Microgreens Trays & Soil. We like the amount of microgreens these trays grow and we find we can either stagger plantings or double up trays to fit our microgreen needs.

Home Microgreens Trays

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.

how to grow pea shoots day 3
how to grow pea shoots day 4

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. 

Spraying 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 the water for hours. If it hasn’t soaked up all the water within an hour, pour off the extra and let the tray drain.

settle the soil down into the plant roots

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.

how to grow pea shoots or pea microgreens

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. 

harvesting pea shoots

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.

I have a helpful article on how I store my microgreens so they stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Click here to see how I store microgreens once I harvest them.

Pea shoots have a longer shelf life than most other microgreens. 

pea shoots after harvest

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, a third harvest.

Pea Nutrition & Health Benefits

I have an article and even a Microgreen Nutritional Resource that provides all of the nutritional benefits of microgreens and leafy greens.

Are You 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 a Question?

If you have any questions about the information in this post or microgreens in general, please reach out to me using the Ask a Question page

Add and Share This Image to Your Pinterest Microgreen Board!

how to grow pea shoots or pea microgreens


  • Todd

    Todd is the founder of Home Microgreens & the Home Microgreens store. He also writes for several other websites, including MyViewFromTheWoods.com. Todd worked at a large farm market, garden & nursery center for 20 years. Somehow he snuck off to become a geologist and professor before coming back to his senses to write & lecture about microgreens and gardening. When not at the computer, he can be found in the garden, trout stream, or mountain trail with his new Springer Spaniel Caden.

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1 thought on “How To Grow Pea Shoots Step-By-Step”

  1. I like the pea microgreen tips but not sunflower I never soak and just cover thin layer of soil it sprout in 3 to 4 days never have fungus

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