Growing pea shoots indoors not only gives gardeners an excellent addition to salads. It also helps to grow other leafy greens successfully.
Pea shoots are one of the easiest and quickest vegetables to grow indoors. But to grow them successfully you do need to give some thought to:
- Where to grow pea shoots indoors.
- Which peas to grow.
- How and when to sow pea seeds.
- How to care for pea shoots indoors
- And when and how to harvest from peas growing in your indoor garden.
Read on to learn how you can successfully grow pea shoots indoors by looking at each of the above.
Where to Grow Pea Shoots Indoors
Think about where to grow pea shoots in terms of other plants. It is a good idea to grow pea shoots alongside plants with relatively high nitrogen needs in containers in your indoor garden.
Peas, as legumes, are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means they cooperate with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules to transform nitrogen from the atmosphere. Nitrogen is an essential plant nutrient. Many leafy plants need lots of it to thrive.
Some nitrogen is used by the peas themselves but some remains available for the uptake of other plants close by. If you choose the right soil-based growing medium, this nitrogen fixation can also happen in pots indoors.
Peas can be grown in a wide range of different containers. As long as they have plenty of sun or light from grow lights where this is not available, sufficient moisture, and a suitable growing medium pea shoots will grow well.
You might grow pea shoots in:
- Seed trays or old-fashioned but useful wooden seed flats.
- Small pots (or recycled food containers like yogurt pots with holes in the base).
- Hanging baskets, or other hanging containers.
- The planting pockets in a vertical garden.
- Planting towers (such as those made from plastic bottles, for example.
By thinking about unique pea planters or container ideas you can make the most of even the smallest of spaces when creating an indoor garden.
Types of Peas to Grow
Once you know where you will be growing peas you should also spend time deciding which peas to grow. There are several different types of peas that you might consider.
When we talk about pea shoots, sometimes also referred to as pea tendrils, we are usually talking about the fresh, young green shoots of Pisum sativum, the common garden pea.
There are many different varieties of Pisum sativum. Commonly these are grouped according to their main use, and the timing and properties of the harvest they provide.
- Snow peas, also known as mange tout. These provide flat pods that can be eaten raw or cooked lightly in a range of recipes.
- Sugar snap peas. These are eaten when the pods flesh out, and both the pods and the pea seeds inside are eaten while fresh and green.
- Garden peas. These peas are shelled when more mature and the pods are typically discarded.
- Drying peas. Used as a pulse, these peas are harvested when dried and can be removed from the dried pods and stored over long periods when fully dried.
Pea shoots can also be harvested young from any of these types of pea. Though of course if you harvest the pea shoots completely while they are small, then the main harvests won’t come to fruition.
Growing peas to get these further harvests is possible indoors with the right strategies and support in place.
If you do not want to do so, note that there are also particular varieties bred to provide pea shoots rather than other harvests.
Peas for other harvests are typically sown in the spring and through to early summer. But when you only want pea shoots, you can sow peas indoors at any time of the year.
The peas should germinate quickly, within a week or so at standard indoor temperatures. And they should be ready to harvest in just 2-4 weeks, depending on the size you want the shoots to be at harvest.
Peas can be sown on the surface of a typical seed-starting potting mix, then covered over lightly with the same growing medium. You can also sprout them on a kitchen towel or another substrate if you want to harvest them while they are small.
Caring for Pea Shoots Growing Indoors
Care is very easy when growing peas only for young shoots. You just need to make sure that the pea shoots do not dry out. As long as they get water, the pea shoots won’t require much more from you during this early stage of their growth.
Of course, if you want to grow on your peas to reach different harvests, a little more care will be required to do so successfully. You will also need to think about:
- Thinning seedlings.
- Pricking out seedlings and potting them up as needed to give them space.
- Providing support for your growing peas (such as bamboo canes, twigs, or other supports inserted into pots).
You will need to choose which harvest you want from pea plants early on to provide them with the right care.
Harvesting Pea Shoots
Pea shoots are harvested while they are still very small. This means that they can be grown in even the smallest of spaces. To harvest them, all you need to do is take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip them off at the base. The best time to harvest is when they reach around 10-15cm tall.
If you decide to harvest pods or peas and grow on peas you have sown – don’t harvest shoots. While they will regrow, the harvesting will stunt their growth, which reduces yields down the line. So have some pea seeds sown for shoots, and leave the ones you want to grow on indoors alone.
Pea shoots are a delicious and easy addition to a homegrown diet.