Winter is usually thought to be the time to hunker down on the allotment, to eat root vegetables carefully stored, preserves or the rugged green brassicas, the only green vegetables to survive the cold.
What you might not realise is that with the help of some protection or a sunny windowsill, in winter you can grow fresh salads including one of my favourites, pea shoots. Pea shoots have a light fresh pea flavour, reminiscent of sugar snap or mangtout but are delicate enough to eat raw.
You can use any pea seeds to sprout; dried marrowfat peas from the supermarket, peas left over from this years sowings or specialist sprouting peas which are the more expensive version.
There are two ways to grow pea shoots. In soil/compost or using a sprouting tray or another soil less container.
For both methods you should soak the peas overnight to swell.
If you are using a sprouting tray, lay the peas on the tray. They can be touching. You will need to mist them twice a day. The peas in the photo were grown in a hydroponic tray so I stop misting them as soon as the roots hit the water.
To grow them in soil, line a seed tray with a couple of centimetres of a proprietary multipurpose compost. Lay the peas on top and cover with another couple of centimetres of compost. Keep moist.
You can also, in the spring and summer months take the tops off you edible peas as an alternative and there are several varieties of peas that have been bred for cut and come again pea shoots.
The shoots will start to appear after about eight to ten days. You might get a resprout after you have harvested but sow twice a month, all year round for a continuous supply.
In the kitchen:
When small use in salads. Longer shoots can be used in stir fries.
Yield and plant health:
You will get one shoot per seed so they are very low yielding. You shouldn’t get any pests or diseases but if you peas fail too shoot you may have kept them either too cold, too dry or too wet and they have rotted. Throw out any seeds that haven’t germinated in two weeks and start again.
Grow again: Absolutely.