Peas are up so now is the time to enjoy pea shoots-a favorite early garden treat. Tender green tendrils may grab at the trellis to grow, but the shoots are edible and taste a lot like peas. Harvesting a few pea shoots won't harm the vines' growth, but actually encourages more branches, potentially producing more peas at harvest. When plants are a few inches tall, select 2"-4" shoots from the top of the plants and pinch them off using your fingernails or scissors, leaving at least one set of true leaves on the plant (see illustration). Assuming you don't snack on them right in the garden, add them to a salad or use them as a garnish for dinner.
You can also sow a container of peas for shoots any time of year. Simply set up a container indoors in front of a sunny window and sowed pea seeds 1" apart on all sides. Pea seeds germinate faster if they are soaked 12 to 24 hours prior to sowing, but it isn't necessary. In just two to four weeks you will be eating fresh shoots! We also have Botanical Interests' Peas for Shoots Microgreens seeds and seed sprouting kits; this is a delicious way to easily grow pea shoots indoors any time of year. You can even harvest a crop two or three times to get your fill.
If your pea plants start to flower, you can eat those, too! But harvest just a few at a time so you don't impact the pea yield. Usually, you will see two flowers coming from one leaf junction. By harvesting one of the pair, you are actually making the remaining flower generate a larger pea than it otherwise would have. Aren't pea plants interesting?