Sweet Peas...

Sweet Peas...

Sweet Peas are a staple of the classic cottage garden. Delicate flowers, intoxicating fragrance, and bunches of abundant blooms make them an old-fashioned favorite.  A vining climber, they will grow 6-8 feet on any trellis or vertical structure adding charm and interest to any garden.

Sweet Peas sometimes have a reputation for being “tricky”, but they are actually quite easy to grow. Let's begin by sowing the seed.  There are several different methods and tips out there.  I am going to share the process I've used for the best results.

Sweet Pea seeds are hard pea shaped seeds. 

Common seed preparations include soaking the seed, or nicking it with a knife.

Soaking is thought to soften the tough seed coat, and nicking to get the seed ready to germinate. It has been suggested that soaking can lead to seed rot, and nicking has no effect on faster germination.  As with anything, try and see which method works best for you.

I simply place the seed in moistened soil (slightly clumpy) approximately 1/2" inch down and tap your tray to cover the soil into place. Place on a heat mat and germination is usually 5-7 days.

**If you do not have a heat mat, a warm radiator or floor next to a heat source works equally well.

Another method is to place seed in between damp paper towels in a Ziploc bag and place on a warm spot to "pre-sprout" the seeds.  This usually forces the seeds in 3-4 days, then they can be planted 1/2" in a paper towel tube.

Paper towel rolls cut in 1/2 make a great potting container as Sweet Peas have a vigorous root system. Sowing in something tall approx. 5-6 inches encourages the roots to develop and shoot down.

Once the weather breaks, usually around late March it is time to plant out as they can take some cold. (cover for hard freezing temps.) Sweet Peas have a vigorous root system and need rich soil to thrive. A depth of at least 6-8 inches of rich compost soil is ideal for them. Additionally, they are hungry feeders and need fertilizing weekly while they grow with a liquid seaweed fertilizer to help their roots. 

Once they begin to flower, fertilizing should be stopped weekly as it will create leaf growth and less flowers.  Fertilize occasionally after flowers begin and keep soil well watered at the roots, especially as the temperatures begin to climb.

I hope you have an abundance of Sweet Peas growing in your garden this year!




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