Indoor gardening does not have to be complicated. This article tells you everything you need to know to grow high-yielding pea shoot microgreens like an expert.
Microgreens are not just about smoothies, garnish or flavour enhancers. Pea shoots will give you meal-sized harvests, and it costs next to nothing to get started.
In my zone 7 home, pea shoot microgreens have become my winter indoor garden heroes. Not only do they add fresh, leafy veggies to meals, but they are easy to grow and even regrow after cutting!
If you want to grow microgreens for food, here are my top 7 tips for maximizing your pea shoot microgreens yield.
1. Soak the Seeds for at Least 12 Hours
Ok, so you may have known about this one. Still, I had to include it as it is important to soak larger seeds like peas.
- speeds up germination
- helps identify non-viable seeds
Submerge seeds in room-temperature water for 12-24 hours to give your microgreens the best start.
Also, soaking helps you use seeds better. When you plant the seeds you want to cover the entire surface with seeds. As the seeds swell when they absorb water, soaking the seeds before planting creates a cleaner and more organised container.
2. Use Soil For Maximum Yield
It is fun to grow microgreens on paper towels, cotton buds, coco-coir or bamboo grow mats or even mediums like peat and perlite mixes.
But for yield, nothing beats soil. If you want strong pea shoots, stick to the basics: soil.
You do not need high-end, speciality soils; any regular potting soil works wonders.
I have found that soil supports stronger and healthier growth and is essential for robust re-growth when you snip off the shoots above the first pair of true leaves.
But do not bring soil in from your garden. You are almost guaranteed to bring in pests, flies, and bugs that can be tricky to get rid of.
3. Cover Seeds with a Thin Layer of Soil
After sowing, sprinkle a fine layer of soil over the seeds.
This isn’t just for aesthetics; I have found that this layer of soil promotes better root development, leading to much stronger plants – and a second harvest worth talking about.
4. Place a Cover on the Seeds to Aid in Rooting
Pea seeds are large and can easily “lift” or “stand up” as they geminate and sprout roots.
Placing a lid or tray on top of the seeds helps in the rooting process.
It is as easy as 1-2-3.
- I start with two reused food-safe containers of the same size.
- Pea shoot seeds are planted in one container.
- The other container is used as a lid, gently weighed down, and placed on top of the seeds.
Dry rice or a glass of water is enough to help keep the “covering lid” in place. When you create a slight counterweight, the lid helps keep the seeds in place as they germinate and try to push up.
5. Use Grow Lights for Higher Yield
In the darker months, grow lights are your secret weapon.
Full spectrum grow lights make a dramatic difference in yield, especially here in zone 7, where sunlight is scarce in fall, winter, and early spring.
Full spectrum grow lights mimic natural sunlight, helping your pea shoots grow fuller and faster.
But any type of grow light will work. You can find several inexpensive options to fit all budgets. I like using grow lights with clips as they are easy to use anywhere in my home.
6. Avoid Direct Contact with Cold Surfaces
Microgreens are sensitive to temperature.
Placing your trays on a cold surface will stunt growth and development.
If you don’t have heat mats, no worries! Simply elevating your containers off the surface using a cloth or wire rack will protect them from the cold and encourage steady growth.
7. Opt for Many Small Containers
Small containers offer flexibility and better portion control.
My best tip is to reuse food-safe containers of all forms, shapes and sizes. One of my favourites is to reuse the containers for tofu. Each container is a perfect size for a stir-fry for me and my wife.
Also, small containers are more manageable than larger trays and can be strategically placed around your home. Plus, it is a great way to upcycle, be eco-friendly and promote sustainable gardening habits.
Conclusion and Key Takeaways
And there you have it – my tried, tested and true tips for growing pea shoot microgreens right in your own home.
Pea shoot microgreens are a fast and easy way to add substance, color, freshness and texture to any meal.
- Simple and Rewarding: With these tips, growing pea shoots is both easy and gratifying.
- Cost-Effective: No need for expensive setups or materials.
- Cut and regrow: Harvest above the first pair of leaves for a second harvest
- Freshness and Taste: Enjoy greens that are as fresh as they come, with a flavor that beats store-bought any day.
- Health Benefits Galore: These shoots are not just tasty; they’re packed with nutrients.