January 22, 2018 Isabelle Callaghan

Sustainable Living: How to Grow Pea Shoots, and Other Things I Learned on a Farm

Longspell Point farm covers a cliffed section of the Bay of Fundy coastline. A winding dirt road borders the farmland, and across the street small cottages and summer homes dot the steep cliff down to the beach. If you stand in the right spot in one of the upper fields you can look one way and see the Bay of Fundy stretching out before you with the picturesque outline of Blomidon marking the horizon. On the other side the Annapolis valley spreads out, like a quilt made of green and brown patches. This view ceases to amaze me each time I go out to the farm; regardless of my mood.

Each morning I rose early, worked through the day bending, moving, pulling, and pushing, till the sun sat low on the horizon and we all went our separate ways. The next day we would do it all over again. It became a sort of religion to me, farming, each plant a small miracle cared for and nurtered by my hands. I was aware of climate change and the effects of global warming before taking this job; however, it is without question that this job gave me an entirely new understanding of how climate change can manifest itself and the true meaning of living sustainably

After six years on the farm I have seen the effects of climate change countless times. Each summer the heat increased, the weeds stopped growing as tall, the rain came less, and bugs devoured entire crops, searching for water to keep them alive. Yet, there is one memory that will never leave me. During a dangerously long dry spell one summer we were forced to walk up and down the rows one by one, watering each plant individually. As I walked up and down the rows, the sun beating down on my neck, I watched the water fall from the can onto the cracked soil. Briefly changing it to brown before quickly evaporating, leaving the parched ground underneath my feet again. In this moment it was almost impossible not to realise the fragility of our ecosystem, and our undeniable reliance on it. That soil underneath my feet grows and sustain that which sustains me. If I choose to ignore the health of this planet I am directly choosing to ignore my own health.

Whether I want to admit it or not I am part of the larger circle of life, I did not create the Earth, nor would I ever be able to create some as beautiful and intricate. It was with this humble awakening that I realized it was not enough to simply be aware of these issues, change must come from each one of us. Whether it is a large change or a small change, each action matters. Our changes and actions will encourage those around us to do the same, and together we can make it through the eye of the storm.

Now on a much lighter note I have attached a quick step by step on how to grow your own pea shoots, reuse your romaine lettuce, and reuse ziploc bags.

Pea Shoots:

These little buggers are super tasty and simple. I hope they will brighten up your kitchen counter.

  1. Start by soaking the seeds in cool water for 8-24 hours
  2. Fill a large tray with 1 inch of potting soil, drain your peas, and layout them you evenly over the surface of the soil.
  3. Gently water the seed until the soil is wet but not soaking.
  4. Then spray the inside of a second tray with water and place that try over your tray of pea shoots to create a dark and humid growing environment.
  5. After 2-3 days the pea shoots will have germinated and you can take off the cover.
  6. Move the tray into the light and continue watering your pea shoots.*
  7. After 7-10 days they should be fully grown and ready to eat.
  8. To harvest the pea shoots cut them at the base, just above the seed.
  9. Wash them and add to salads, sandwiches, and MORE :)!!

*Only water the pea shoots when the soil is dry. If you touch the soil and it is still wet, wait to water.

Romaine Lettuce:

We have all chopped up a head of romaine lettuce and tossed the end into the compost, but did you know that these end can actually be reused!! Yes and in just two simple steps!

  1. Take the end of your romaine lettuce, put it in a cup of water in a light warm area, and let it grow.
  2. Put new water into the cup as necessary.

Reusing Plastic Bags:

As my housemates can tell you this is a rule I live by. It is estimated that roughly 1 million plastic bags are thrown out every minute! By using canvas bags we can stop out use of grocery bags and shopping bags, however, those small snacks bags are harder to find a replacement for.

My method, after I use a small food bag I flip it inside out give it a quick rinse and the hang it on bottles around my kitchen. As shown in the picture below. The method in which you dry your bags is completely up to you.