Those of you who have followed our microgreen series know how to grow plants small scale, but today we’re going to discuss how to grow pea microgreens step by step, which are in contrast to most of the rules. It is still easy to grow pea shoots – and they are delicious!
They taste much like full-grown peas and have a natural sweetness that reminds one of snow peas. Pea shoot microgreens are rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins that help maintain a healthy heart. It is also believed that pea microgreens are associated with weight loss in part because of their high fiber content (fiber has been found to help you stay full for longer).
While growing micro greens, we have to pay attention to the growth of pea seeds in stages. Often pea greens are harvested as they emerge from the ground, but we are after the first stage of development. A sprout anchors roots and sends up a long stem with cotyledons. These true leaves are what we want in microgreens.
If you want, you can let peas grow past the microgreen stages to become pea shoots. Pea shoot production is quick and keeps the health benefits intact. Pea micro greens may have a different flavor, but they have a texture microgreens don’t have – the tendrils.
Whether you plan to grow pea shoots or microgreens, we’ll make sure to get you there. Here you’ll find our guide on growing pea shoots and the kind.
Despite not following the classic method of growing microgreens, the supplies remain the same. Once you have gathered these supplies, you can use them again to grow pea shoots (you should not reuse the soil though).
- A misting bottle
- Containers: plant pea shoots in shallow trays
- Growing medium: fine-grained soil, such as seed starting mix or coconut coir.
- Light: use natural light or a grow light
- One large bowl
- Scissors or shears: For pea shoots, kitchen shears are excellent.
- Seeds: pick seed packets of high quality
The following varieties of pea are among our favorites:
- Dun Peas
- Dwarf Sugar Grey Snow Peas
- Early Frosty Peas
- Green Arrow Peas
- Lincoln Peas
- Little Marvel Peas
- Mammoth Melting Sugar Pod Snow Peas
- Organic Dundale Dun Peas
- Organic Green Peas
- Organic Speckled Peas
- Organic Yellow Peas
- Tendril Peas
- Thomas Laxton Peas
Usually, pea seeds come in a variety of colors, but when grown as pea microgreens they all look the same. Snow, sweet, or snap are all varieties you can choose from.
There are a few things to look out for when choosing growing trays. You will need at least three, one with drainage holes and two without. Drainage holes in one tray will be filled with soil and seed, while the others will be used to water and germinate.
Besides being more efficient, artificial lighting for the pea microgreens is better, too. Not only will the pea microgreens be more uniform and compact, but artificial light leaves the pea microgreens more fragrant.
Growing microgreens doesn’t always follow conventional wisdom, because the seeds are so small that they don’t need soaking before planting. However, pea seeds are much bigger and require absorbing cold water before they germinate and grow.
You will need at least 6-12 hours in water with the seeds. This guarantees that the seeds will germinate more evenly if you leave them in for longer than 24 hours.
Usually, you’ll need to refill the water at least once, and you may even need to remove some of the seeds to a separate bowl once they’re completely plumped! Once you’ve done this, drain the bowl and give them a good rinse.
After you have soaked and rinsed your pea seeds, it is time to grow pea shoots. Fill your grow tray with potting soil and organic compost, and you are ready to grow pea pods! Tamp down the soil surface so it’s as smooth as possible. Now, spread the pea seeds evenly across the top of the soil level (it’ll look like a little green pebble garden!).
It is very common for peas to sprout deep roots, though if they fail to be properly grounded, they will be pushed out of the soil, causing a problem for microgreen growing. The pea seeds will not bare so we’ll cover them with a thin layer of soil. The soil layer will also be lightly firmed. We will mist the soil and seeds with the spray bottle to keep them moist.
The pea seeds may be covered with organic potting soil, but a cover is still a necessity for optimal germination lighting. This is also important because the weight will prevent rotting roots. If the baby greens grow at a rapid rate, they will collectively grow and push up the cover, up to about 5 pounds of weight.
After a couple of days, remove the cover and look closely. Your pea seeds should have grown into pea sprouts a half-inch long. They may seem pale at first, but the green will show through once they receive lots of sunlight from a window sill.
Start watering the pea sprouts by misting them to wash off any soil and fill in the watering tray whenever the growing medium is dry. When the tray is full, simply set the microgreens tray inside the watering tray. Remove the tray from the soil after it has taken its fill – we don’t want the pea microgreens to get waterlogged. Do this every few days or even every second day until the soil feels light.
The pea sprouts with the light turned on should receive 12 hours of light a day. You are best off growing them directly in front of the light for the best results.
In this step, you can receive a little bit of free rein over the pea microgreens. You can either harvest them as microgreens or allow the growing plants to grow shoots a few days later. It is recommendable to let the first leaves and tendrils appear before harvesting pea microgreens. However, there is always the option for harvesting pea microgreens and letting the rest grow pea shoots.
Harvest the pea microgreens when they have reached a height of 3-4 inches and have grown cotyledons (about 3-5 days after sprouting). Use kitchen shears to trim the microgreens just above the soil line. Simple pea shoots can be harvested by cutting off the top portion but leaving behind a couple of leaves. This will make it much easier for the pea shoot to regrow.
Do not wash the pea microgreens until you are ready to use them. They need to be as dry as possible for good storage. The peas need to be stored in a tightly sealed box with a simple paper towel folded inside. The pieces of paper towel will absorb any excess moisture. With this method, your pea microgreens should last for at least a week – maybe more!
Microgreen peas make an excellent raw garnish for salads, sandwiches, and other dishes that need a sweet-tart taste. When added to stir fry dishes, the pea microgreens take on a great crunch to enhance the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to eat pea microgreens?
Eat pea microgreens raw as an addition to sandwiches, salads, stir-fries, and anything else you’ve got in mind!
What does pea microgreen taste like?
Pea microgreens are sweet and taste somewhat like peas. Pea shoots taste somewhat different but are similar.
Are pea sprouts healthy for you?
Yes, peas, whether sprouted, microgreens, or pea shoots, offer plenty of vitamins and nutrients (iron, protein, vitamin C, A, and more!). Studies have shown that their health benefits may also include cardiovascular benefits, reduction of inflammation, and weight loss.