This snowy, never ending winter had me looking for some horticultural therapy these past couple of months. Combing through seed catalogs back when the snow was over the picnic table, I came across some peas for sprouting. In the past, I had tried alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts, bean sprouts, wheatgrass sprouts and even lentil sprouts but never peas. So, on to my order form they went and came in the mail a few weeks later.

Anyone who has grown peas knows they sprout and grow quite readily. I filled a few flats with moistened soilless growing mix. No fertilizer is necessary as the plants will be harvested a couple of weeks after they germinate and all the nutrition they need for that short of a time period is in the seed. Some sources suggested soaking the seeds overnight, which would probably speed germination by a few days, but I just planted them rather thickly and then covered the seeds with a half inch or so of growing mix. Then the flat got a light watering so that the seeds would be surrounded by moist but not saturated media.

Pea seeds for sprouting. DMP

Pea seeds for sprouting. DMP

I put my flat in a clear plastic bag in an east facing window to keep the moisture in and also to keep the temperature a bit on the cool side – just the way peas like it. Within less than a week the seeds sprouted. Remove the flat from the bag as soon as you see about half the seeds germinating. Water when the media starts to dry out. While I used a plastic flat (which I will was and reuse) I noticed one enterprising pea shoot grower on the web was using those crates that clementines come in.

Pea seeds sprouting. DMP

Pea seeds sprouting. DMP

That they got less that one half a day’s worth of sun (less with all the cloudy days we had) did not really matter since they were going to be harvested when only 3 or 4 inches tall. If you were growing them for profit, the pea seedlings would be grown in brighter light to keep them from being leggy.

 In about 3 weeks, I harvested my green pea shoots and had them on my salad last week. So while I could not plant my peas outdoors on St. Patrick’s Day, I could plant them indoors and give myself a small dose of spring in a pot.

Pea sprouts for a healthy, nutritious salad. DMP

Pea sprouts for a healthy, nutritious salad. DMP

Not only are pea shoots easy to grow but surprisingly nutritious. They contain vitamins C and A, and 4 times the amount of folic acid as is found in bean sprouts. And they taste good too! Just planted a second batch!

Dawn P.