We’ll start the new-look Event Gardener with a brilliant, fast crop that EVERYONE can grow. You don’t need a garden or fancy equipment, just an outside windowsill that gets a reasonable amount of sun.
This can be done NOW. Start this morning and you’ll be cropping next Thursday.
Pea shoots are served as a side dish in restaurants but frankly they’ll make a brilliant salad – they’re sweet and fresh and taste just like new-picked peas.
A shallow tray – preferably with drainage holes but I’ve done it without. A basic garden propagating tray is perfect
Some compost – a thin layer is all you need – these little shoots don’t need nutrition, just something to anchor into
A bag of the cheapest dried peas you can find in the local corner shop. There is absolutely no point in buying ‘pea seeds’ in packets or any special varieties; these shoots will never reach maturity. All you need is the basic dried pea. Marrowfat peas are good (don’t get tinned or split peas, obviously!)
Soak half a cupful in a bowl of water overnight.
Put the soil in the tray – about an inch or slightly over is fine. Make sure it’s nice and wet.
Thickly sow the soaked peas on top. This is probably the only time I’ll ever say to thickly-sow – usually the rule is less is more. Cover with a very thin layer of soil and keep moist.
Leave them on a sunny windowsill – not on the ground or the mice will get them. If you suffer from pigeons, cover the tray with something like chicken wire or hard netting (not soft, or they’ll get their feet caught, die a horrible death, and you’ll have an unpleasant disposal job on your hands).
Er, that’s it. Keep the soil moist and in 8-10 days you;ll have a thick crop of shoots. Cut them as desired. They do resprout after being harvested but I find they get tough, so I’d recommend chucking or composting them after that.
Sow another batch when you crop your first harvest in order to have a continuous supply. Happy eating!
Oh – one more thing – if you’re wondering what the orange band around the tray is, it’s copper tape – you can get this all over the place, even in the pound shop. It keeps the slugs off (basically the copper reacts with their slime and they get a little electric shock). You don’t need it, but it’s worth investing in as a one-time prevention.