Growing pea shoots with children
Pea shoots are possibly the best thing to grow with your children! The peas are big and easy for little hands to handle, cheap to buy in large quantities, grow very quickly and taste delicious!
Gather some trays together and let your child choose which one to use. If you haven’t got any trays to hand, have a look through your recycling! If you find something good, give it a clean and cut the corners off for drainage. Let your child write their name on it and maybe draw a picture of what they think the pea shoots will look like!
Go outside so that you don’t need to worry about the mess when your child fills the tray with compost. Now it’s time to sow the peas! This can be done by either, pouring straight from the packet into the tray or placing the peas in the tray one by one. The one by one method is really good for training fine motor skills for younger children. Which method will suit your child? Sometimes they start one by one and then get fed up and pour it all in! The peas should be close to each other to get the most out of your tray but preferably not on top of each other.
Let your child put a layer of compost on top of the peas – how much doesn’t really matter! They will grow without any compost on top, but will dry out quicker.
Time for the best part, watering! Children love to water and it’s best to let them do it by themselves. It doesn’t matter if they pour it all in one place, as long as the peas get moisture – they will germinate. You can talk to your child about how dried peas must have water to wake up and grow.
The peas must be protected from mice and your Harvst mini greenhouse is the perfect place for protection. Let your child carry the tray and open the greenhouse. Talk about how quickly they will grow and that you will harvest in a few weeks! Remember to check on them and keep the compost moist. Who’s responsibility will this be?
When they have grown 10cm tall they are ready to be eaten! It’s best to eat them when they’re young as they can go a bit stringy when taller. Harvest by pinching or cutting off each shoot just above the bottom leaves -some of the pea shoots will regrow and give you a second harvest. Let your child do this and teach them how to use both hands if they can’t pinch. One hand on the shoot and one hand holding the plant before they pull. If they rip the whole plant up, it’s no big deal as you can sow again!
Pea shoots grow very quickly, and if you miss the ideal harvest time and they have gone slightly stringy then you can make a pesto. It’s delicious!
We hope that you will enjoy this activity with your child and let us know how it goes!