Her Outdoors: Pea shooter

Jane Merrick

I know the name of this blog is “Her Outdoors”, but the continuing rain and strong winds make it very difficult to do anything other than get the gardening year started indoors. Luckily, even in the depths of winter it’s possible to sow and grow lots of stuff on the windowsill, either for eventually planting outside or, like seeds sown just for sprouting, to be chucked straight in a salad. Many of these indoor projects are great for children to get involved in because it’s on a small scale, quite self-contained, and you get relatively quick results for their impatient minds.

Sprouting seeds and cress can be sown at any time of year in a warm kitchen. And, while you can only really sow peas for podding in autumn and spring, you can grow pea shoots for salads at any time of year, even in January. You don’t get a huge amount of growth because the days aren’t long enough, but it’s enough to satisfy my seed addiction in winter. My daughter got a packet of seeds specifically for growing pea shoots in her Christmas stocking from her Grandma, so we got going quite early in the New Year. They’re from Suttons and called ‘Twinkle’.

I bought this Tupperware microwave rice steamer at a car boot sale for £3 a couple of years ago and have never used it for cooking rice. It is perfect for indoor seed planting – a sturdy container with drainage holes, placed inside a hole-free container to catch the water. I filled the container two thirds full with compost, then packed in quite a few seeds onto the surface – they don’t mind being sown close together if they’re just for shoots.

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Pea seeds in a recycled rice steamer

Then cover with an inch of compost, water well and leave on a bright windowsill or table. Our first shoots came up in about two weeks.

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The first of the pea shoots coming through

You can start cutting them once they’re about four inches tall. Here is one plonked on top of some houmous for lunch – she is normally pretty fussy with salad (OK, she refuses to eat any lettuce at all, only cucumber) – but perhaps because she helped grow these, she has been eating them non-stop!

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And she actually ate it!

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  • revoltingpensioner

    If ” Hydroponics” was taught at School, and in Community Centres there would be LESS dependency on soil crops. Even High rise Flat dwellers could grow enough VITAMIN rich produce to keep themselves HEALTHY.. Plus any of the other ‘Luxuries’ that they personally fancy ! TRY IT !

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