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Gardening Tips

Pea Shoots Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:1/4”
Days to Germination:5-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F
Shoot Shelf Life:1-2 weeks

Unlike most sprouts, Pea Shoots are grown in shallow flats of soil in bright sunlight. When the stems are 4 to 10 inches tall with small leaves and tendrils, munch on them raw, toss them into salads, lightly sauté them or make Pea Shoot Pesto for a wonderfully fresh, sweet and delicate Pea flavor! To speed germination, soak the dried Peas in lots of water for 24 hours before sowing. The peas will swell and double in size. Fill a shallow tray or flat with moist all-purpose potting mix up to about an inch below the rim of the container. Avoid any potting medium that contains chicken or cow manure, as it can harbor harmful bacteria. Drain the Peas and spread them across the surface of the soil, with the Peas about 1⁄4" apart. Press the Peas into the soil surface gently to ensure good contact between the Peas and the soil. Water the soil again gently, with a mister or gentle watering can, taking extra care to not overwater if the tray does not have drainage holes. Cover the tray with another flat or a piece of dark plastic to keep the Peas in the dark and conserve moisture. Place the tray in a warm spot indoors or in a shady spot outdoors until the Peas begin to sprout, in about 2 to 3 days. Check the flat regularly for signs of growth. Water lightly whenever the soil surface feels dry. As the Peas sprout, uncover the flat and move it into brighter light. Begin harvesting when the sprouts are 3" to 4" tall up to about 10" tall, depending on how tender or small you prefer them. Cut the shoots 1" to 2" above the surface of the soil, avoiding any contact between the harvested shoots and the soil surface. Eat them right away or store the shoots, dry and unrinsed, in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rinse them thoroughly just before use.

Countertop Sprouts Gardening
Peanut Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1”-2”
Row Spacing:30”-36”
Plant Spacing:6”-12”
Days to Germination:3-10 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Peanuts are usually thought of as a southern crop, but they can be grown in other areas of the country, too! In cooler climates, start seeds indoors, 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date, and then plant them outdoors 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost date. In warmer climates, direct-sow seeds two to three weeks after the last frost date, around the same time as Bush Beans, to which Peanuts are related. To sow, remove the peanuts from their shells carefully, taking care to leave their red skins intact. Sow seeds 1-2 inches deep and 8 inches apart. Seedlings can take more than a week to germinate and grow slowly at first, but they will take off after the roots have had time to establish themselves. The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide and prefer full sun and loose, fertile, well-draining soil—if your soil is heavy, add compost and dig it in deeply before planting. The seedlings and young plants are prone to fertilizer burn, so if you do fertilize, either apply organic fertilizer to the soil well before planting or wait until the plants are a bit more mature. Peanuts are legumes, so they fix nitrogen in the soil, feeding themselves and improving the soil for future crops, which makes Peanuts a welcome addition to a crop rotation schedule. The way the peanuts form is fascinating. First, yellow pea-like flowers form low on the plant. Each self-fertilized flower then sends a stem, or peg, down to the ground, where it burrows down and forms a peanut pod below the surface of the soil. When plants begin to flower, gently scratch up the soil below them to make it easier for the pegs to penetrate. Calcium is important to the formation of the Peanuts. If your soil is low in Calcium, amend the soil with gypsum as the plants begin to bloom. As the plants grow, weed carefully, taking special care to not disturb the pegs. Add straw mulch to suppress weeds if necessary. Water regularly and deeply, tapering off at the end of the season. Before the first frost, when the leaves have yellowed, gently fork the entire plant out of the soil, peanuts attached. Hang the plants to dry in a protected spot for 1 to 2 weeks before removing the peanuts.

There are many commercial sprouters out there, but the old jar method works just fine. You can fit mason jars with a special screen or simply use cheese cloth stretched and held in place over the jar mouth with an elastic. Measure out the appropriate amount of seed to sprout (if you have a sprouter, follow the directions that came with it. If using the jar method, add enough seed to just cover the bottom of the jar). Clean, cull (throw out non seeds) and rinse seeds with tepid water before soaking. To soak, add tepid, non-chlorinated water, (3 parts water to 1 part seed) and let soak for the appropriate amount of time for the seed you are sprouting. Discard any non-seed material that floats up. After soaking, drain out the water: the seed should be damp but not wet. Put the jar out of direct sunlight, which could cook the seeds. Every 8 to 12 hours add enough water to cover the seeds and swish around to get all the seeds wet. Drain the water out, leaving the seeds damp but not wet. All sprouts need good air circulation, and a consistent 70°F temperature for optimum sprouting: cooler temps retard sprouting and warmer temps push too hard. Most sprouting seeds do not need light in the early sprouting stages but for the last two days before sprout use they should have some diffused light so they can green up a bit. Check each variety for the approximate days to harvest.

For the final rinsing, fill the entire sprouting container with water. Most of the Sprouts will shed their hulls or seed coats during this final rinsing for skimming off. Thoroughly drain the sprouts for 6 to 8 hours prior to refrigerating them. Store Sprouts dry-to-the-touch in airtight containers. Sterilize your sprouter between crops: mix a capful of bleach to a pint of water, soak for 15 to 20 minutes, scrub well and rinse thoroughly!

Countertop Sprouts Gardening