Start lifelong learning in the garden with pea shoots

Long-time friends of the Vegetable Project know we get a kick out of sharing the art (ha!) of growing pea shoots with everyone we meet. It’s the closest thing we know of to instant gratification in the world of growing edibles. Start seeds today and you’ll be pinching stems and popping them in your mouth in 10 or 12 days. And they’re delicious.

So please indulge us as we revisit the subject: In this time of social isolation, we want to encourage the idea nothing can beat starting a garden for parents who are looking for healthy, educational activities to do with the kids while school is closed. And starting pea shoots is a great indoor subset of gardening.

First, please understand that we mean a pea plant’s earliest growth when we speak of pea shoots. Stems and leaves taste just like the more familiar peas when they are very young. And they’re so versatile: Just pinch and eat when they reach about six inches tall. Or add them to a salad. Or make them the central green of a salad. Or toss them in a stirfry or on top of a roast. Or whatever else you come up with. Then, please understand that you’re unlikely to produce peas – the plant’s seed – on plants grown indoors. Seeds arrive late in a plant’s life cycle or not at all without sufficient light, room for root growth and pollination. These are difficult to provide indoors.

There’s almost nothing to growing pea shoots. Place pea seeds – any might do, but one’s marketed specifically for growing pea shoots, rather than mature pea plants, might work better – in a potting mix in a container, add water generously and place near a window or other light source.

The bigger challenge, on April 13, 2020, will be acquiring seeds. Catalog seed companies are overwhelmed right now. The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted thoughts of gardening far and wide. Some companies have announced they will not be shipping anything for the next week or two or three. Here, however, are links to places to try.

We have enough seeds and other supplies to make maybe 10 or 20 small pea shoot kits.  Please let us know if we can make one for you and arrange a contactless handoff in Albany. Email at or message us at

–Bill Stoneman






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