If you are looking for the correct way to grow pea microgreens (PISUM SATIVUM), you are at the right place. This step-by-step guide will help you understand how to grow these healthy microgreens with ease. And soon you will be able to have a year-long supply of them.
‘Microgreens’ literally denotes the growth of a plant till its first leaves can be seen. The plant can achieve this in a matter of weeks. What makes microgreens special is that they are more nutritious than mature plants.
Also, if left to grow for a longer duration, pea microgreens develop pea shoots. This eventually leads to the growth of the second set of leaves to grow, causing the plant to grow in height yet retaining the same nutritional value.
When it comes to growing pea microgreens, we need to be aware that pea seeds are grown in phases. The first of which comes post-germination, once the pea seeds sprout. These sprouts develop roots and grow thin and tall stem which is covered by cotyledons. These cotyledons or baby leaves play the most important role when growing pea micro greens.
Since you can grow microgreens at home, you can have a say in its environment and adjust it for optimum growth. This makes them a viable organic plant choice.
What Are Pea Microgreens?
In layman’s terms, Pea microgreens are nothing but mini peas. In fact, they have a mild, sweet taste similar to peas and have a beany texture in the microgreen stage. You can consume pea microgreens raw, or use them as a garnish to salads, sandwiches, stir fry, salads, and a variety of other dishes.
Known by several names, pea microgreens, pea greens, or pea sprouts are the young shoots and leaves that grow from legume pods’ seeds. In essence, each pea is a sprouting seed and can be used to grow new legume plants. But it is not practical to sprout every pea due to the neurotoxins present in most of these legumes.
These mini veggies are highly nutritious. The leaves and tendrils are tender and sweet and are fairly easy to grow. In general, they have a growing period of 9 to 14 days.
Benefits And Nutrition Value
Pea microgreens have been grown for ages, thanks to their flavor, nutrients, and health benefits. Let’s have a look at some of its Health Benefits and Nutritional Value.
Shoots growing pea contain several beneficial compounds that help improve our health. These are as follows.
The phytonutrients and antioxidants present inside pea microgreens boost the immune system and even reduce inflammation. Besides, they are loaded with Vitamins A, C, D, and K, ensuring that your body functions optimally.
2. Blood Sugar Regulation
Pea microgreens contain several nutrients that are known to reduce blood sugar levels. Consequently, they form an essential part in fulfilling one’s diet requirements, especially for those struggling with diabetes.
3. Cardiovascular Health
Its rich antioxidants not only boost your immune system and reduce inflammation but play a significant role in bettering your cardiovascular health.
The exact linkage between pea microgreens and heart health is unknown, but they have been shown to protect against possible heart ailments.
4. Weight Loss
The high fiber content of pea microgreens will make you feel fuller for a long time, reducing your desire and frequency to snack. Thereby including pea shoot in your caloric deficient die will allow you to shed the excess weight.
All microgreens including pea shoots are filled with vitamins and minerals. They consist of beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A, C, and folate (body’s building block), and fiber by our body.
Sugar snaps and snow peas are among those most commonly used to grow microgreens. This is because they have low levels of harmful neurotoxins. Moreover, they often produce sweeter microgreens that are easier to incorporate in recipes or smoothies.
One cup of pea microgreens contains good levels of protein with fewer calories. Following is the nutritional profile of 1 cup pea microgreens (approximately 100 grams)
- Total Fat (including saturated and trans fat) 0g
- Cholesterol 0g
- Sodium 0g
- Sugars 0g
- Protein 2g
- Calcium 4% RDA
- Iron 10% RDA
- Carbohydrates 8g
- Dietary Fiber 3g / 16% RDA
- Vitamin A 2% RDA
- Vitamin C 50% RDA
RDA values are based on an average 2,000 calorie diet. Briefly, pea microgreens provide sufficient protein and fiber and are a rich source of Vitamin C and Iron while having low carbohydrate levels. Vitamin C helps protect your immune system and reduces the risk of pneumonia and infections.
They are also a significant source of iron which helps prevent anemia. Iron helps transport oxygen in the bloodstream and aids in enzyme reactions. This is especially beneficial if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet since eating pea microgreens makes up for the lack of iron from red meat.
Another interesting compound found in pea shoots is phytoestrogens. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties help prevent cancer. The plant-based compound helps decrease the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
How To Grow Pea Microgreens?
Similar to most microgreens are also found pea shoots growing quickly. They can be harvested after reaching three or four inches in length. Alternatively, you can allow them to grow a bit larger in size before harvesting. Interestingly, pea shoots regrow after they are harvested. You can let them be for a maximum of three weeks before they harden and lose their palatability.
- Soak: Soak the seeds for 8 hours
- Rinse/drain: Rinse until germination begins
- Time taken to germinate: 2-3 days
- Harvest time: 8-14 days
- Pea seed: Take care in choosing good quality pea seeds. You can choose from any pea seed from the many varieties – Snow pea seed, snap, sweet, or any other seed.
- Containers: use shallow grow trays. You would need 3 trays, 1 with drainage holes for soil and seed and 2 without germination and watering.
- Potting medium: any fine-grained soil should work
- Light: these will be best grown under sunlight but you can make use of artificial plant light too
- Shears or scissors: you can use kitchen shears
- Misting spray bottle
- Big bowl
Step By Step Guide To Grow Pea Microgreens
You can grow pea microgreens or pea shoots from pea seed at home by the following 3 easy steps. Follow the instructions below.
Step 1- Soaking The Seed
Rinse the pea seeds of your choice before placing them in a cold water bowl for about 8-12 hours. Use a large bowl to dump your seeds in water and take care to remove them before 24 hours. This will help in germination and speed up the growth process.
Owing to their small size, most microgreen seeds need not be soaked before planting. However, since pea seeds are larger in size, they need to absorb water before germinating and growing.
Once you soak the pea seeds, you will notice that they expand almost to double their previous size. As a result, you may need to refill the water container in between. You may as well have to shift some seeds to a bigger bowl. Once the soaking time is up, drain water from the bowl and rinse the seeds.
Next, you can go ahead and plant your seeds in a tray.
Step 2- Plantation
You need to plant your soaked seeds in a tray with drainage holes. Put a water tray below the tray to be able to control your plant’s moisture levels. Next, you must choose an appropriate potting soil. You would need roughly an inch of your preferred mix or coconut coir.
Spread the growing medium loosely in your tray. This step is important to prevent packing the soil down, which will cause trouble for the roots to get properly established.
It is also a good idea to lightly soak your growing medium before planting your seeds. Peas develop deep roots and may come out of the soil not grounded properly. This is why you must cover them instead of just leaving them bare. Occasionally mist your seeds and soil for ideal moisture conditions. You can also sprinkle some mix over the scattered seeds.
Cover the seeds for a period of 2-3 days after you are done planting them. You must water the soil daily during this period. After 3 days, you could be able to notice germination signs. After a few days, they would form their first leaves. Once they are at least 2 inches tall, remove their cover and allow them to soak up in the light.
Step 3- Maintenance And Growth
Once your sprouts develop into pea microgreens, you can remove their cover and switch on the grow lights. Alternatively, you can also use natural sunlight, but artificial lighting is often more effective in this case. Plus, you could grow your pea microgreens inside your home.
Your microgreens would require a minimum of 12 hours of light per day. For best results, grow pea shoots directly under the light. It will help you reap uniform and healthy pea microgreens.
During growing pea shoots, you can taste the pea microgreens and harvest them when you like them. This should be between days 8-14. Don’t forget your first time is a learning curve; you can always tweak the procedures on your next attempt at growing microgreens at home.
What To Use For Harvest?
You can harvest pea shoots within a period of 8 to 14 days. In case you are doubtful whether your peas are ready or not, cut some each day to taste. On the day your peas taste ripe, you can harvest the entire produce.
Like most microgreens, pea microgreens, too, are delicate and need to be handled with care. To harvest them, start cutting the plant from one inch above the soil. Avoid getting dirt and soil residue on your pea microgreens.
It’s up to you whether you want to harvest pea as microgreens or hold on a couple of days for your plant to form shoots. If you are trying to grow pea shoots, wait for the first couple of tendrils to appear. You can get the best of both worlds by harvesting some pea microgreens while leaving the remaining portion to grow into pea shoots.
To harvest pea microgreens, let them grow up to a height of 3-4 inches, and wait till they develop cotyledons. This would take roughly 3-5 days post sprouting. Next, you can use your kitchen shears to cut the microgreens off from just above their topsoil. You need to remove the top portion of the plant while leaving some leaves behind. This will allow the shoots to regrow after the harvest.
Storing Pea Microgreens
Storing Pea microgreens is comparatively simple. For best results, make sure to dry your microgreens before storing them. Consequently, you need to stop watering the plant at least 8-12 hours before the harvest. Once they are dry, you can put them inside an airtight plastic container or bag and refrigerate them. This should allow them to last for roughly a week.
In case they are not dry, to begin with, you would be required to place them in between two pieces of paper towel. Just dab your pea shoot microgreens until all water gets absorbed, making them fit for storage.
To Sum Up
Pea microgreens are the mini version of the mature pea plants, just more nutritious. In fact, they taste sweet just like normal-sized peas but are beany and milder in flavor. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that help improve heart health and are anti-inflammatory.
Pea shoot microgreens are best consumed raw and natural. You can top any of your dishes, whether it is a sandwich, salad, or pasta, with these healthy peas. If you are buying them from a farmers’ market, it is best to go for the organic version. If you grow them yourself, you can be 100% assured of their health benefits and quality.
Growing pea microgreens is relatively simple. In three simple steps, this brief guide helps you understand how to grow pea microgreens. These include soaking your microgreens seeds, planting them, and maintaining them during their growing stage. After this, you are all set to harvest, store, and use these healthy microgreens as and when you need.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.