Growing snow peas for the tender shoots (not the peas)

plantslayer(8)June 27, 2010


This year my wife and I planted snow peas. Before the plants even more than a few actual peas, we decided to snip off some of the tender shoots in order to eat them in a stir fry. We did this a couple of times, but once the vines started setting peas in earnest it seems like they became too tough to eat like this. As you might know already, or have figured out by this point in the post, tender snow pea vine shoots are edible and make a tasty dish. They taste like... snow peas. The part we eat are the new growing tips on the main stem and side-branches that come off the main stem.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone who understands bean grown habits can tell me how I might maximize a my crop in the future assuming I primarily want to harvest shoots rather than peas from the vines. I saw that Evergreen seeds even sells a snow pea cultivar specifically bred for making shoots. Does anyone know if this or another cultivar is best for my purposes? What parts of the plant should I snip, and which parts should I let grow in order to get the most out of the plant? Is there a fertilizer component I can dose them with to make more shoots?

Thanks for your help!

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jimster(z7a MA)

Peas for shoots can be grown densely in trays of soilless growing medium. This method uses a lot of seeds, so you will want to find bulk seed at a good price. The link below will give you more information than you probably want. :-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Pea Sprouting Instructions

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 9:51PM
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That is a very interesting link. I guess I should have differentiated between shoots and tips. Do people ever grow peas specifically for the tips, or is growing and harvesting shoots the best way to get what I am looking for? I will have to give this a try.

Thanks for the info jim!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:22PM
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You have good timing! I just noticed this variety of peas at Johnny's this weekend, and thought it looked interesting. Maybe this is something you would want to try (I don't work for Johnny's ;))

There was this one also, but I think the first fits what you were looking for better.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 9:17AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

This is a bit confusing because the information I linked is under a heading of "pea sprouts", which I know is not what is wanted. If I understand correctly, "pea shoots" and "pea tips" are the same thing and can be grown either in the ground with conventional spacing or in trays, planted densely.

Or maybe it's just me who is confused. :-)


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:52AM
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Well I was thinking that it worked better to grow a mature vine, and clip off the growing tips (main and side branches) as they appear. But the sprouting thing (in which you sprout the seeds and cut the whole baby plant) seems to be more productive, efficient and easy. And functionally I get the same thing- tender pea vines for eating. So sprouts/shoots seem like the way to go!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:14PM
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I just had a possibly awesome idea: what if I plant snow peas like a cover crop for my plot in the late fall, and then cut them to the ground for the tasty shoots, then let them grow back (the second growth is too tough to eat as sprouts) to serve as a cover crop? In order to judge whether or not this will work I need to know 1) will they survive being cut in cool weather and 2) do they really work well at fixing nitrogen for the soil and protecting from nutrient loss?

Maybe I'd better ask the folks on the soil forum about this.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:54PM
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ppod(6 SE NY)

Kitazawa Seed company also has a pea variety, Usui, that they claim is specifically grown for pea shoots.

I've seen bags of pea shoots being sold in Chinese stores, which makes me think that you'd find more information on your topic in the Asian Vegs. forum. Just a guess....

Here is a link that might be useful: kitazawa Seed: Usui

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 11:12PM
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