Getting the most out of your windowsill space is a wonderful way to add fresh flavors to your home cooking. You may already have a herb garden on the windowsill, but what about pea sprouts on the windowsill? Growing these delicious, nutritious sprouts is easy on your windowsill – no less in a mason jar. The following is an excerpt from Jen McGuinness’ Micro Food Gardening, available wherever books are sold on April 6, 2021.
Growing pea sprouts (Pisum sativum) in mason jars is a great way to maximize your growing space on your windowsill. I like growing mine on the windowsill above my sink. As the pea sprouts grow, you can cut them off with scissors and add them to your salads or stir-fries. You will get about three rounds of cuttings before you need to switch to a new set of seeds. If you have a lot of pea sprouts in your meals, you can sow pea seeds every five to seven days for a steady supply.
Of course, I like to add drainage holes to my mason jars so the extra liquid can drain off quickly as I pour. You can skip this step (and I give the instructions on how to drill into jars below) but you need to keep an eye on the water level that is collecting at the bottom of the jar.
What you will need
– 475 ml wide neck mason jar
– Small stones like pea gravel
– potting soil
– pea seeds
– If no drainage holes are drilled:
– If you are drilling a drain hole:
– Safety goggles
– Drilling machine
– 12.7 mm (½ inch) diamond drill bits
– Adhesive tape (masking or blue painter’s tape)
– Watering can with cold water
To drill drainage holes in mason jars:
Preparing a mason jar for growing pea sprouts on the windowsill. Photo credit: Courtesy Rob and Jen McGuinness
- Put on your safety glasses. Put your towel on the table and place the mason jar upside down on it. Place a small piece of masking or painter’s tape at the bottom of where you want to drill your hole for drainage.
- Position your drill at a 45 degree angle and at a slow speed start marking the tape on the glass. You just want to scratch the glass at this point to give the drill something to catch as it continues to drill.
- Once your glass is scratched, remove the tape. Position the drill bit on the lowest setting for your hand drill at a 45 degree angle and continue drilling. While drilling, stop regularly to add cold water where you are drilling the hole. This is to prevent the glass from overheating and cracking.
- As you continue drilling (slowly), move your hand so that you are gradually moving from a 45-degree angle to a 90-degree angle. Continue to stop and add water to the surface as needed. Drill slowly. Do not press into the mason jar while drilling. The extra force could crack it as the drill makes the final cut for the hole.
- Once the hole is created in the glass, carefully remove your drill bit from the hole by reversing the direction of the drill bit and running it slowly until it is removed. Use a piece of tape to remove any loose splinters of glass from the hole.
Steps to plant the pea seeds:
Pea sprouts grow in a mason jar on the windowsill. Photo credit: Courtesy Rob and Jen McGuinness
- Fill your mason jar with a thin layer of small stones (about 1 cm) [1.5 cm]).
- If you’re working with mason jars that don’t have a drainage hole, put a 1.5 cm layer of charcoal on top of the stones. This additional drainage layer prevents root rot. (If your mason jar is drained, you can skip this step.)
- Put your potting soil in the jar, leaving about 2 inches (2 inches) from the top. Sow your pea seeds
This is how you harvest your pea sprouts
With a single use, when the pea shoots are between three and four inches high, you can harvest them by cutting them at the bottom line.
For multiple crops (up to three), leave about 1.5 cm of growth (above the first two leaves or cotyledons) for the plant to grow back.
This excerpt may have been edited for clarity and length.