Here in Indianapolis schools are beginning to harvest parts of their Spring Salad Garden! Most of the crops are the household classics of lettuce, spinach, and radishes. However, there is one crop that a lot of people have not seen before, the pea shoot. Yes, peas are a classic, but in Big Green Learning Gardens we do not have the 80+ days needed to allow peas to grow multiple feet tall, flower, and then produce mature fruit. We only have around 40 days to grow a salad with our dedicated schools. So instead of waiting for those green orbs to emerge inside their crunchy cocoons we are harvesting them when the plants are less than a foot tall! And instead of eating the peas themselves we are eating the leaves, stems, and tendrils (those small arm like things that allow peas to grab on to and climb up trellises). Not only are these sprouts edible they are also delicious!!
So, what makes pea shoots so great?
- They allow kids, teachers, and anyone involved in the learning garden to eat peas in a new way that many of them have never tried before!
- They are one of the most valuable items in the Learning Garden having a market value of $2.00 an ounce, which equals $32.00 a pound!
- Even after you cut the yummy tops off of the plants they will keep growing, giving you multiple harvests!
- They can be planted more densely than if we were planning on growing full pea plants, meaning more food in a smaller space!
- It is one of the sweetest plants grown in the Spring Gardens, so the kids love them!
Now that you know how awesome pea shoots are here is a fun tasting activity that will make a delicious salad using pea shoots and some other Learning Garden ingredients!