Windowsill kitchen garden: Week 2

The best thing on the windowsill this week has been the pea shoots experiment. I planted one batch the traditional way two weeks ago – just stick the seed peas in a pot of compost, cover with at least 2cm more compost, water and then leave it all to sprout. Very easy, no messing about.

Then I heard about a second method that was supposed to be faster, so I tried that way too last weekend. You soak the seed peas overnight in a shallow dish of lukewarm water, then drain and rinse them in the morning, before adding them back to the dish and soaking in fresh lukewarm water for the rest of the day. After two soaks, all your peas should have tiny sprouts starting to form on them. (If not, give them one more drain, rinse and 8-hour soak for luck).

Then you take the sprouting peas and pop them in a pot on top of some compost, keeping the peas one layer thick rather than piling them up on top of each other. Water gently, place some damp kitchen paper over the top of the pot, and then cover tightly with kitchen foil to keep the light out. Leave the peas in a warm place, like the top of the fridge or a shelf over a radiator for 3 to 4 days, watering a little each day. After that, remove the foil and paper and put the pot on the windowsill for 3 to 4 days. After about 8 days (probably less in warmer weather) your pea shoots are ready to harvest.

Look at the difference between method 1 (traditional) on the left, and method 2 (pre-soaking and using warmth) on the right.

In this pic the second batch had just been moved to the windowsill, and was a week behind the first batch. There was a 100% germination rate in the second batch, but as you can see less than half the peas in the first batch sprouted. They’re all getting cropped tomorrow for a fancy salad, but from now on I’ll be sticking to method 2 because it’s so much quicker and there’s a lot less waste.

The final pics:

Other windowsill happenings: the parsley’s growing very well, and there are now two tiny chili seedlings to pot up as soon as they’re a little bigger. The mint and the basil are still being a bit feeble, but that’s probably because it’s been so cold and grey for the last two weeks, and the salad leaves are looking like overgrown cress and not doing very much. Things will probably improve as we head further into Spring and the weather warms up.

How’s everyone’s windowsill gardening coming along so far?

EDITED TO ADD: We now have a little online club for windowsill growers to swap tips, ideas and bargains. 100% free to use and non-profit. It’s right here on the Penny Golightly forum – anyone can read the comments, and it’s really easy to sign up if you’d like to join us and make your own posts and ask questions. Please feel free to have a look.

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