It’s been a month since I introduced the Grow Something habit. I decided to start with pea shoots. A bag of supermaket pea shoots costs at least a pound. A bag of seed peas specially bred for shoots cost me just over two quid. They contain enough peas to keep us in shoots for years. And they claim to give fast results – first harvest in just 3 weeks. (Actually, according to Vertical Veg, I didn’t even need to buy special seed peas – cooking peas are fine. When my special peas from the gardening centre finally run out, I will raid the kitchen cupboard.)
I’m going to level with you: I wasn’t full of hope. If pea shoots cost that much to buy, I figured, surely it’s because they are tricky to grow?
Tiny Tartan did all the work. We started by filling a seed tray with compost (any container a couple of inches deep will do). Tiny Tartan sprinkled peas on the surface of the compost and then covered them with a second layer. Then he watered them and put them on the not-very-sunny kitchen windowsill. In a matter of days he could see green shoots cautiously lifting the surface of the compost, then poking through, before gradually unfurling their first little seed leaves. He took great pleasure in checking their progress and watering them every day.
After three weeks the shoots were 6 inches tall and ready to eat. Tiny Tartan took a little bit of persuading at this point but eventually agreed to chop the tops off them if we left the rest behind for him to keep growing. (Which is fine: they will continue to produce tips for us to harvest for several more weeks.)
We cooked a batch of gnocchi and flaked some lemon and parsley smoked mackerel fillets from Aldi. Then we tossed the gnocchi and fish with chives from the garden, butter and a generous handful of oatmeal before we added the pea shoots. Boiled potatoes tossed with butter and oatmeal is a traditional Scottish accompaniment for fish. Sounds odd, tastes awesome. Try them with whole smoked mackerel and a green salad. We were too impatient to wait for potatoes to boil, hence the gnocchi. It was delicious. Tiny Tartan was very proud of himself for having grown the whole family’s dinner.