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How to Grow Pea Shoot Hydroponic Microgreens

By: Chris | Last Updated: December 22, 2021

If you’re interested in soilless gardening, hydroponic microgreens are a great way to get started. Pea shoot hydroponic microgreens are a great first experiment because they grow fast, and you don’t need much in the way of supplies to get started.

This is a cool project for classrooms too. Kids love watching these fast-growing shoots develop in 7 to 10 days. They’re really excited by how simple the process is.

Note: This is not a production model for growing microgreens. Instead, this guide is intended to show you a simple, cost-effective way to try your hand at hydroponics.

 

Pea Shoot Microgreens Supplies

There’s a good chance that you already have all the supplies you need to get started. The only exceptions may be peas and a mesh container.

That’s it. No nutrients, no meters, just some containers, and water.

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The kit above is ideal for growing small batches of microgreens without soil, but you can make do with a normal container if that’s all you have.

Keep in mind that if you use a normal (flat-bottom) container, the roots won’t be able to “grab” onto anything, so your pea shoots will easily fall over. You’ll also need to monitor the water level, you only want to add enough water to cover the bottom of the peas. If you submerge the whole pea, it can eventually “drown”.

If you decide to start growing pea shoots regularly, I’d recommend buying them from High Mowing Seed Company. Their pea shoot seeds are excellent, and they’re non-GMO.

Pea Shoot Seeds - High Mowing Seed Co.
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Alternatively, you can buy dried peas from the grocery store. The downside is that they may not germinate very well, and you often don’t know where they came from or what kind of pesticides/herbicides they’ve been exposed to.

No Nutrients? How Does This Work?

Pea seeds are packed with enough energy to grow into awesome pea shoots without additional nutrients.

Does that mean I never add nutrients? No, when I grow pea shoots I normally use nutrients and an aerated tray, but you don’t have to do that when you’re growing small batches for personal use.

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How to Grow Pea Shoot Microgreens Hydroponically

These 5 steps will have you growing pea shoots in no time. Don’t miss the growing tips a little further down. They’ll help you get the most out of your pea shoots!

Step 1 – Soak Seeds

The first step is to soak seeds. Soak the seeds in a container of water for at least 6 hours, but not more than 24 hours. If you go over 24 hours the seeds will start sprouting. Once sprouted, it’s easy to damage roots while placing seeds in the tray.

Arrange pea shoot seeds

How Many Pea Seeds to Soak
Pea seeds absorb water as they soak, so they swell up quite a bit. A good guesstimate is to fill the bottom of your seed tray with a single layer of pea seeds, then remove about 20% of the seeds. This will provide room for those swollen seeds, and will help you reduce wasted seeds.

Step 2 – Arrange Seeds

Once the seeds have had a nice long bath, it’s time to arrange them in the seed tray. Do your best to arrange them into a single layer along the bottom of the tray. This keeps the seeds from growing up and around each other.

If you’re using a seed tray and a larger tray for water, put the seed tray in the large tray before adding seeds.

Step 3 – Add Water

Once you’re happy with the seed arrangement, go ahead and add water. Add enough water to fill the bottom of the seed tray just enough to keep the bottom side of the pea seeds wet.

Step 4 – Add Weight

Adding weight on top of the seeds helps prevent the roots from lifting seeds up and causing a tangled mess. The weight also helps develop stronger shoots. The shoots will actually start lifting the weight up by the 5th day.

How to Make Weight Bags
My favorite way to make weight bags is by adding playground sand to a sealable sandwich bag. Make sure the bag has a strong zipper or add a bit of tape to keep it sealed. That’s it!

Step 5 – Cover the Tray

You want to block light from the seeds for 5 to 6 days. This will improve the germination process, and help grow strong pea shoot microgreens.

Once you place the cover on the tray, don’t remove it for 2 days. On the 3rd day, remove the cover to make sure there is still plenty of water available. As soon as you’ve done this, put the cover back on.

Pea Shoot Microgreens Growing Cycle

Microgreens are low maintenance. Using this method, all you need to do is make sure there’s water in the tray.

Don’t do anything on days one and two. If you added enough water to touch the bottom of the peas when planting, there will be plenty to supply the seeds for the first two days. The best thing to do is leave them alone, and let them do their thing.

On days three and four check the water level in the tray. Leave the weights in place, unless you have to remove them to add/check the water.

On days five and six, the pea shoots are going to be a yucky translucent yellow color. That’s normal. They haven’t received any sunlight yet, so they aren’t producing much chlorophyll. On day six, remove the cover and weight for good. It’s time for those microgreens to get some sun. Place the tray under a grow light, or by a sunny window and they’ll look amazing in no time.

Continue to check the water level in the tray every day.

Around day ten the microgreens are ready to harvest.

Pea shoot hydroponic microgreens ready to harvest

Harvesting Pea Shoot Microgreens

Once pea shoots reach 3 to 4 inches in length, they’re ready to harvest as microgreens. After they’ve developed the first set of true leaves and tendrils (the wispy things) they’re ready to harvest as pea shoots.

There is a slight difference in flavor and texture between pea shoot microgreens, and pea shoots. I think the smaller microgreens are sweeter. When to harvest is based on your own personal preference.

To harvest pea shoots, cut the shoot close to the base with a pair of clean scissors. Containers with short sides make it easier to harvest more of the pea shoot.

It’s up to you, but I only cut what I want to use and let the rest continue growing. Pea shoots will continue to grow and stay fresh for several days.

Why I Like this Hydroponic Microgreens Method

My whole mission here at Happy Hydro Farm is to get people interested in growing their own food. One of the biggest barriers to that is the cost of supplies and equipment.

Methods like this make it easy for people to “dip their toes” in hydroponic gardening with minimal cost. Check it out for yourself, see how fun and easy growing your own food can be.

If you enjoy hydroponics, you can start picking up a few supplies here and there. Don’t think you need to have a cabinet full of equipment in order to get started.

This method illustrates that point.

Will the “Water Only” Method Work for Other Hydroponic Microgreens?

Yes, this method works well with “fast-growing” microgreens like:

These plants work well because they grow so fast. Any plant that can hit microgreen size in under 14 days can be grown using this method.

If you plan on experimenting with other types of plants, pay attention to the size of the seeds in relation to the size of the holes in the mesh tray. Pea shoots work well because the seeds are large.

For smaller seeds, you’ll need a tighter mesh or a hydroponic seed pad that goes in the bottom of the tray. This pad absorbs moisture but also keeps the smaller seeds from falling down out of the tray and into the water.

Chris Cook started Happy Hydro Farm to share his passion for hydroponic gardening! Growing your own food is incredibly rewarding both physically and mentally. His mantra - "Take excellent care of your plants, and your plants will take excellent care of you."
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