How to grow pea shoots

Pea shoots are great for small spaces – they grow fast, taste delicious and are rich in Vitamin C, A and protein. Growing pea shoots is easy. They are perfect to try if you’re starting out. Seeing (and eating!) the fruits of your labour in just in two or three weeks is rewarding and motivating.

Plus, pea shoots are also a good choice for shady spaces (they only need one or two hours sun a day) or to grow inside over winter  – just sow a stray or two and keep next to your brightest bright window.

Here, in eight steps (with video below), is how to grow them.

How to grow pea shoots

1. Soak

Soak the peas in water for 24 hours (dried peas sold for cooking will normally grow fine and are much cheaper than buying seed packets).

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After 24 hours the peas have expanded - and are already looking more alive! They're now ready for sowing
After 24 hours the peas have expanded – and are already looking more alive! They’re now ready for sowing.

2. Select a container

Chose one 2- 3 inches (6-9 cm) deep. An old tray from a market stall will do fine – just make sure it has holes in the bottom to allow water to drain out. The trays sold in gardening stores for seed growing are about the right size, too.

This tray came from a fruit stall. It used to hold cherries. But any tray 2 - 3 inches deep (deeper is also fine) will do the job. Make sure it has a few holes in the bottom for water to drain out of.
This tray came from a fruit stall. Any tray 2 – 3 inches deep (deeper is also fine) will do the job. Make sure it has a few holes in the bottom for water to drain out of – drill some if needed.

3. Fill container, then water

Fill your container with compost, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the top. It’s always a good idea to use the best quality compost you can find. But having said that, pea shoots are pretty unfussy – and almost any compost seems to be OK. Then give the compost a good water.

4.Sow

Sow the seeds on top of the compost. You can sow them very closer together – I try to leave a gap the size of a pea between each seed. (If you wanted to grow full sized pea plants, you’d sow the seeds further apart. But as we’re only growing shoots, we can get away with close spacing).

Sow the seeds close together - you might want to arrange them more neatly than this! The darker seeds in this picture are ful medames - an Egyptian bean that can be grown in the same way
Sow the seeds close together – you might want to arrange them more neatly than this! The darker seeds in this picture are fava beans (small broad beans) that can be grown in the same way.

 

5. Cover

Cover the seeds with a layer of compost – about the thickness of a pea. Water the surface lightly again.

6. Check daily for watering

That’s it! All you need to do now is keep the compost moist – check it every day in hot weather, every couple of days in cooler weather, and water when needed.

After about a week (longer in cold weather) the pea shoots will begin to emerge!
After about a week (longer in cold weather) the pea shoots will begin to emerge!

7. Harvest and enjoy!

In two to three weeks (a bit longer in cold weather) your crop will have grown 3 – 4 inches tall. YOUR PEA SHOOTS ARE NOW READY TO EAT! Harvest by pinching off each shoot just above the bottom leaves. Some of the pea shoots may regrow to give you a second harvest.

And after two or three weeks they'll be ready to eat! You can normally harvest pea shoots off a box like this over a week or two. And you'll get about half a pound (quarter of a kilo) off each box!
And after two or three weeks they’ll be ready to eat! You can normally harvest pea shoots off a box like this over a week or two. And you’ll get about half a pound (quarter of a kilo) off each box!

 

8. Recycle your compost

When the crop has finished, put the roots in your wormery or compost heap if you have one. Worms seem to like them very much!

 

Here’s a video on how to do it.

 

As well as tasting delicious pea shoots are highly nutritious, containing seven times more Vitamin C than blueberries. Read some of the other health benefits of the Supercharge Foods website.

If you enjoy growing pea shoots, why not try growing fava bean shoots? They are just as easy and tasty with a nice bean flavour. Or take a look at some of the other best crops to grow in containers and small spaces.

163 thoughts on “How to grow pea shoots”

  1. Thank you for your video and instruction on growing peashoots. (Looks easy-peasy. Not heard that before I bet.) I’m looking forward to giving it a go. I’ve seen marrowfat peas in my local shop – are these what I should be buying? They look the same as your picture presoaking so I’m hoping so!

  2. Hi, thanks for the great instructions!
    I sometimes shoot peas and lentils without soil in a steamer or sieve. The roots are often longer than the shoot itself…are the roots edible? Seems a shame to waste them.
    Many thanks!

  3. Hi! I’m growing mine in water and having a persistent issue: the tops keep becoming mushy and rotten and I’ve had to pick through and throw about half of them out. Now I’m worried there is something (a bacteria?) wrong? I specifically purchased whole peas meant for sprouting. Not sure what’s going on.

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  5. My indoor shoots look completely different to yours. Unfortunately they have long stems and tiny heads. I am trying to solve the problem. Do you have any dea why this is happening, please? They are 16cm tall and the top leaves start at about 13cm. Could this be due to lack of sunlight now in October?compost too rich? Many thanks
    Michele

    1. Most probably lack of sunlight. Also, the warmer your room is, the more light they need. Have you got a cooler, brighter space inside – or any outdoor space? In the uk they’ll grow slow but well outside for a few weeks yet.

  6. I have sprouted my peas in a sprouter – please can you tell me if the first shoot to appear is a root or a stem?? I have just planted them (to grow for peas) with their first sprout pointing upwards but just thought that it might be a root and I have planted them upside down?

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  53. Hi Danny I thought you should see this from the website
    Pea Shoots, The Tender New Sprouting Green
    https://www.superfoodevolution.com/pea-shoots.html

    It would interesting to view your comments.. I did not know about Lathyrism until seeing this today

    Pea shoots are primarily grown from the pea species Pisum sativum, specifically of the cultivar groups arvense, saccharatu or macrocarpon, referred to as field pea, snow pea or sugar snap pea.

    It is important to avoid using other pea species especially coming from the Genus Lathyrus, which may include Lathyrus sativus, L. cicera and L. clymenum. These types contain a toxin called lathyrogen causing a condition called lathyrism with side-effects that may include paralysis, hyperesthesia, and paresthesia when the peas or their shoots are consumed for prolonged periods.

  54. I have just set some frozen peas out of the freezer for an experiment and 4 out of 5 of them are shooting, it’s amazing. You should all try.

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  56. Hi Mark
    Thank you for a great website, such good ideas and clear instruction. Yesterday I planted a larger and smaller tray of Marrowfat dried peas just as you described. I don’t have any fresh compost, so added in a few chicken manure pellets to old compost as you had suggested. The birds went for the small tray, making a terrible mess within 30 minutes! They didn’t seem to eat the peas, do you think it was the pellets they were after?

    1. A wise man once said that if you feed your chickens the end greens ,like the tops off of carrots, wasted lettuce, etc your chicken will produce non cholesterol eggs.

  57. Hi Mark..Many many thanks for your tips and straightforward guidance without the waffle. Do most seeds require light or dark (growing to microgreens/ sprouting/germinating). Many thanks…all the best.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I asked this question before and would love to get your advice on whether seeds (grown for micro greens) require light or shade to get them started. Many thanks.

    2. Hi Bernie, most seeds do not need light to germinate (although there are a few exceptions – lettuce is a noticeable one), but they do need light to green up or grow into microgreens. In general, you can germinate seeds in the dark but best to move them into good light as soon as they come up. Mark

    3. Hi Mark, so glad I found your site! I want to try growing pea shoots. My question is after you harvest them can you re-use the soil material to grow another batch or do you have to start with new soil?

      1. Yes you can certainly re-use it. Often the soil will be thick with roots after growing so you will probably need to let these rot down first. You can add them to a wormery or compost if you have one – or simply put the soil in a bag with air holes and keep damp and it should rot down after a few months.
        When reusing old soil, you need to add fertiliser, for shoots something like chicken manure pellets or rapeseed meal (both high in nitrogen) work well.

    4. My pea shoots love the light. I used my mid day grow lights and the tendrils grew too fast I thought. So no black out. We blackout exclusively for sprouts and beginning some microgreens to keep them level as they grow.

  58. I am soaking my first attempt at pea shoots. Does anyone know if split peas work? I might just try them anyway. I have some dried split peas in the freezer. They take forever to cook so they’ve just been sitting there.

    1. My guess is that you will only get poor if any germination from split peas – but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. Someone else might be able to confirm?

      Have you tried soaking the split peas for 24 hours before cooking? That makes them much quicker to cook.

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  60. Militza Mccarthy

    Hi
    My shoots are a bit long and stalky ,not much leaf at the top ,I have been stir frying
    I would like smaller shoots for salads any advice please

    1. I guess you are growing them inside? If so, it sounds like they could benefit from more light. Put them in the brightest place you can – and you could put them outside for the day on warmer days if you can (just remember to bring at night). If you have outdoor space, you can grow them outside at this time of year – that should give you shorter, leafier shoots.

  61. Lizzie Butterworth

    Out of interest, why do they need soaking when you’d never soak peas grown for pods? I forgot to soak one lot, grown from marrowfats from the supermarket, and they’re doing fine.

    1. I didn’t soak mine (marrow fat peas) and they grew quickly. 22 Germinated out of 24
      I’ll sow them closer together in fuuture and give them better light but they stir fry well

  62. Fantastic clear instruction. I followed this and result-perfect pea shoots for pennies. Downside is i soaked far too many (beginners error) and have tons so going to plant a few on the allotment and see what happens!
    Thanks
    Kyla

      1. Just finishing our second tray of pea shhots and will set another in the greenhouse
        I used peas from a kilo pack of dried peas from ASDA. (Walmart?)
        Thanks from me and the famiky
        Also thanks from
        The Ladies Wot Lunch
        My Char lady
        5 odd blokes from “Compost Corner”
        And sundry other friends.
        xx

  63. I just tried marrowfat peas. They grew quite quickly. I ended up with mostly shoot rather than leaf and a pretty mild taste but still nice.

  64. Hi. What quality or brand of pea do you recommend? I’m very short of space indoors but think could grow a small crop. Thanks for the info and your video.

    1. You can use any dried peas really Gracie. Different varieties do taste a bit different but most are good. My favourite are Marrowfat (don’t be put off by the name!), which I get from our local market or online from Hodmedod. Good luck!

      1. I’m going g to try grow peas and beans from supermarket (food peas/beans as I’ve just goat a small plot at the local allotment am I to late if I put them in now I know I’m a little late for things (well I thi k it’s all new to me) but at least I’ve probably missed the frosts (I k ow u can still get frosts in may) hopefully it’s the 5th today will be up there around the 8th so shall I just put them straight in the ground or in pots on sills 1st and should I stagger them say sow 1 lot then say 2-4 weeks after and so on would that work I need all the tips I can get as my 1st year there I’ve done the hars work as was very wild now I have 3 small plots all ready for filling

        1. I’m guessing you are growing these as full sized peas and beans rather than shoots? If that’s the case, peas are often sown a bit earlier in the year but you’ll be fine sowing them now. You don’t say what sort of beans – it is on the late side for broad beans but they will also be fine if sown soon. French beans don’t like cold or frost so are often started inside now and moved outside in a few weeks time. The peas and broad beans can be started inside or direct in the ground – at this time of year I’d probably start them in the ground unless slugs and snails are a major problem. Good luck.

  65. How much heat do you need for growing micro veg? I’m not allowed to grow stuff indoors. I have an unheated greenhouse but think that might be too cold. On the subject of greenhouse heaters – can anyone recommend a reasonably priced one. Mine broke the other winter and I have yet to find an electric heater like my old one – it could be set to come on at 1-2 degrees; all the ones I’ve seen come on at 7 (far too high for me, I just want to stop the freeze)

    1. HI Lyn, I think the hardy shoots would grow in a greenhouse at this time, albeit slowly – eg pea shoots, fava shoots and mustards. Worth a try I would have thought (I’m picking pea shoots from outside at the moment – sown about 4 weeks ago.

    1. Hi Brian, great question. I am not a nutritionist but as far as I understand there is. In a dried seed a lot of the nutrients are ‘locked up’ in storage – many seeds can survive dormancy for several years. However, once the plant starts growing, chemical changes make the nutrients available to the plant – and more available to you when you eat them. Marrow fat peas (which are commonly used to grow pea shoots from) actually have more nutrients than the frozen green peas sold by supermarkets – this is because they are mature, which frozen peas are not. Someone who is a nutritionist can probably comment further.

  66. elizabeth meers

    once you have soaked them and put on them on the soil, do you need to cover them with more soil so you can seen them or just leave them on top of the soil?

  67. I was wondering if they could be grown into a fully fledged pea plant with peas? If so how do you do it? Thanks, Helen

    1. Hi Helen, yes, they will grow into fully fledged peas if you leave them – you’d need to put them in a bigger pot and put in fewer plants – say 10 plants in a 40cm pot. However, you might not want to use store bought dried peas for this, as these varieties tend to be bred for harvesting late when fully mature, not as the sweet tasting peas we are used to. Mark

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    1. I’ve not tried it Brett, but I’m fairly sure the seed is killed by freezing and so it wouldn’t work. Also, frozen peas are not normally fully mature when they are harvested (that’s because baby peas are sweeter than mature peas). So I think it is very unlikely – but as I say I haven’t tried it so I might be wrong!

  70. I soaked & sprouted marrowfat dried peas, just in a sprouting jar, rinsing, draining etc etc. Many sprouted, but were fragile and disintegrated – fail. However, at the stage of just sprouting, I then sowed (much as you describe) and they are growing well! Result! I guess they need to be undisturbed, unlike some others (such as alfalfa etc etc sprouting procedures).

  71. Pauline Jones. UK

    Absolutely was amazed at what I can grow for healthy eating at home! Can’t wait to get started on growing pea-shoots! Thanks SO much!

    1. Hi Fey, do you mean fresh green peas in pods? If so, usually these won’t germinate as normally they are picked before they have fully matured into a viable pea / bean. (Having said that I haven’t actually tried it – so it might be a interesting experiment!).

  72. Hi Mark,

    Question for you about the variety of pea you are using. I grow pea shoots and had a variety for the longest time that I loved, and I believe they are the ones that you have photographed above (thick, with lots of “fingers” coming off of them). Unfortunately, I lost the seed tag to that bag and can’t seem to find that variety anymore. Any idea what type of pea that is? Thank you!!

    1. Almost any sort of pea works well. Marrow fat peas are widely available dried and are good – and this is what I’ve used most in the past. This year I’ve also been using Carlin Peas – very nice when small, although the tendrils can get a bit tough when larger. Apologies for my slow reply, Justin.

  73. Thanks for this. Had a few peas left from the veg patch. Am trying shots by planting peas in guttering in the greenhouse.

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  75. I have been unsuccessful 2 times now for growing pea shoots. I bought dr. mercola’s grow kit with brocooli sprouts, sunflower seeds and pea shoots. So far broccoli sprouts have turned out “Ok” but 1/3 of the seeds don’t sprout which is baffling to me. I follow the directions to the tee. Can anyone help me with the pea shoots, not pea seeds. Please email me. thx

    1. pea shoots are normally one of the most reliable. Without knowing more about what the instruction are that you are following it is hard to know what is going wrong. One possibility: if the peas are old then they might not germinate very well – but if you have recently purchased them from a reliable source then this shouldn’t usually be a problem.

      1. When I sowed my seeds in the soil too early, I find they often rot. I soak the seeds, then keep them in a ziplock with damp towel for an extra day or two until a visible root shows up. Every seed I planted this way grew with no problems.

    2. I bought Mercola’s pea shoots and sunflower seeds and they grew fantastic. I even got a fast growing second harvest! Maybe the soil? The first time I tried growing them, I used the wrong soil and got gnats! When I got the recommended soil is when I had success!

  76. Hi, I can’t stop reading your blog, this has really piqued my interest and I’m excited to try!
    Sorry if you mentioned this elsewhere but what sort of peas are suitable? I presume the split varieties are no good?
    Also in another article you also talk about fava beans. Are there any other varieties that are tasty?
    Thanks!
    Dave

    1. Hi Dave, almost any whole (as you say, not split) dried peas are suitable as long as they haven’t been sitting in a shop or a warehouse for months. I often use ‘marrow fat’ peas which don’t sound very promising, but taste good as shoots. Also kabuki peas, carlin peas – pretty much any dried pea will do. This is a great project to get started I hope you have fun with it and enjoy the harvest.

  77. I get about two cuttings from my pea shoots and then dump the ends into my chicken pens they love the roots and left over bits and pieces and it is good for them. every so often I do shovel a layer of chicken “yard” out into my compost to age before hitting the garden with it 🙂

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  86. I started growing sweet peas in a bucket with a tomato cage for them to grow up. When I started i didn’t know that they can be eaten, my poodles and min pin kept biting off leaves so I took a few and tried them, yumo, I use in salads and as lettuce on sandwiches and with chopped tomatoes to top tacos. I was looking for more recipes to use them today. I give the dogs some everyday, it stops the eating of grass in the yard. I’m going to grow some in my kitchen window this fall so I can have them for the dogs over the winter.

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    1. Hi Shirley
      Good question. Luckily pea shoots seem to be quite unfussy about what you grown them in. Any bag of multipurpose or general purpose compost from your local gardening store should be absolutely fine. You might find an organic mix for vegetable growing but any general purpose will be fine. Does that help? Any other questions, please drop me a line.

      Very best of luck for your pea shoot project! Do come back and let us know how it goes.
      Mark

  90. Hi mark…is sugar peas the same as the pea shoot? I was excited cuz I just had a few sprouts sugar peas and I was ready to transplant them. I thought they grow as vines so I had these tent like poles and on containers. Then I saw this post of yours about pea shoots. And timely I also just had a raised bed made which is ideal. But the problem is where do I get pea shoots seeds. I don’t think I ever seen those where I live. Unless it is the same as sugar peas. Thanks.

    Chit

  91. Hi Mark
    Can you tell me where I can the municipal compost you used in Newcastle upon Tyne
    Thanks
    Malcolm Frame

    1. Hi Malcolm, I got it from the Walbottle recycling centre: Walbottle Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 8HY. It wasn’t fantastic quality, I have to say, but worth a try. If you use it, I’d be really interested if you could let me know how you get on.

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  94. Hi Mark,
    I followed your instructions, including feeding the roots to the worms, and you are right, they do seem to love them, there are lots of healthy wriggly worms in amongst the roots! The problem is that the peas don’t seem to know they have been composted, and are determined to keep on growing. I have broken them up a couple of times, but I just came back from a couple of weeks away and they were pushing the lid up. Is there any way to stop them taking over the wormery altogether?! I have the same issue with carrot and parsnip tops but at least they don’t grow as fast.

    1. Hi Kate! Without light the peas will not be able to live for long. Perhaps bury them a bit further under a layer of worm compost – that should speed their demise – they’ll also decompose faster if sandwiched between two layers of worm compost. Pleased to hear your worms are also enjoying the roots 🙂 Mark

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  97. I’ve put peas in the tomato pots in the greenhouse after removing the tomato plants.
    They’re coming up well and I’ll be cutting them soon I hope!

  98. Pingback: Harvesting pea shoots « My little garden of Eden

    1. Great success, grew to a height of about 25cm without becoming chewy (trick of the east facing window!) and have now eaten pretty much all of them. Used some left over peas from the ones I grew this summer, originally grown from a pack of ‘Carouby de Maussane’.Thanks for the advice, gonna be doing this again!

  99. Pascal Hagner

    Thanks a lot for the tip to get dried pea and bean seeds from the food store. Now, I’m keen on growing my own pea shoots.

    Best, Pascal

    1. Yes do try them, they should work. IN my experience shop bought peas and ful medames germinate really well – but you’ll need to try a sample with an open mind! Unlike seeds you buy in seed packets there is no requirement for any minimum percentage to germinate. Experiment with a few and see what happens.

      1. Pascal Hagner

        Good point re the rate of germinating seeds. I’ll simply try and see how my current choice of peas and beans works out – and let you know 😉
        Next time I stop by an Asian food store, I’ll also have a look round for ful medames.

  100. Thank you Mark, thought the video was super useful.
    Can you tell me if you would replant in the same compost once you have harvested everything. Or what do you do with the compost used?

    1. You can re-use the compost as long as you add back in some of the nutrients the peas take out. If you’ve got a wormery, a handful or two of worm compost does wonders. Or a small handful of chicken manure pellets is good if you will be reusing the compost to grow leafy greens. It’s difficult to give a short concise answer as there are lots of variables. Experimentation and observation is really the key. (Incidentally, I did a post on re-using compost here: http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/can-you-re-use-compost/)

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