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Sowing sweet peas
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Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 05 10:00 pm    Post subject: Sowing sweet peas  Reply with quote    

Do flowers count as downsizing???

Right, I have a tip and a question.

Tip - at Wisley last year I saw that they had planted out whole pots of sweet peas straight in to the ground, with a wigwam over the top. The sweet peas grew up looking very strong if a little higgledly piggledy. No good if you want long straight stems but looked lovely as plants and fine if all you want is a supply of scented flowers for the house.

Question - what's the best way to get the critters to germinate? I have read most often recently that chipping, not soaking, is the way to go, and that's what I'll be trying tomorrow, as I've never had much success before and the ones I sowed in October have produced a grand total of four plants from about 20 seeds.

I've got several varieties of seed but I think I'll stick to Painted Lady this year.

Guest






PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 05 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've never chipped or soaked my sweet pea seed, and it's never failed yet. I sow some in autumn usually, and some in FEbruary, all inside under glass; when a couple of inches tall, they go out into the cold frame. Quickest germination is with bottom heat in a propagator. I sowed direct last week as well, and bought a tray of all white seedlings today. You can't have too many sweet peas for selling.
To get long straight stems for picking or showing, the side shoots need to be pinched out and the plants given good support; when the plants reach the top of the supports, they are untied, ladi along the ground, then tied in to start climbing again froma new position. They do best in a rich, moisture retentive soil that doesn't dry out. If you stop picking, they will run to seed and stop flowering. The seeds are easy to collect and dry to keep for next year, but note they are posionous.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 05 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Anonymous wrote:
I've never chipped or soaked my sweet pea seed, and it's never failed yet.


What am I doing wrong then . You don't fancy coming round and sowing me some sweet pea seed do you The one thing I note is that I follow the advice to sow outside; so I'll give the bottom heat a bash and let you know how it goes. Thanks for the tips.

Luckily I don't mind about the shape/straight stalks as I'm just growing enough for the house; try to enrich the 'orrible soil before planting, but although they wouldn't win any shows they provide some lovely flowers for absolutely months once I do get them going

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14974
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 05 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bung in old loo roll tubes in the porch, forget for a month, discover when checking the potatoes that they seem have grown six inches overnight! Must remember to plant out!

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 05 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

wellington womble wrote:
Bung in old loo roll tubes in the porch, forget for a month, discover when checking the potatoes that they seem have grown six inches overnight! Must remember to plant out!


Hmm. No porch.

That ties in with them needing a bit more warmth than is generally said though, so I think sowing indoors and then moving to greenhouse is what I'll try.

Snowball
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6212
Location: swindon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Good luck Bugs. I have never had any sucess with sweet peas.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Are you going to have another go, with our new found knowledge?! They take up so little space for an amount that's worth growing, that I'd be very sad if I couldn't squeeze a few plants in somewhere.

I've just realised that my Painted Lady say sow Feb, but the other packets say sow Feb-April (or autumn) so I'm going to have a bash anyway. Go on Snowball, you know you want to!

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14974
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't think they like the cold (peas aren't supposed to either, so I presume its a family trait!) Although I did sow mine in Feb, they didn't do anything through all that snow we had, even in the porch, it wasn't until the last couple of weeks they started showing a leg. Try now in the green house - if you've got the seed you might as well. Sarah raven says you can soak the seed for 12 hours, and bottom heat might get them going quicker. I think I'm going to put mine in the grow house, as they're getting a bit leggy. Remind me to water them, will you?

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

WW, don't forget to water your sweet peas

I suppose you want reminding at the time - some people are *never* satisfied

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14974
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank, Bugs. I think I'll go and order a watering system........

Why wouldn't flowers be downsizing? I know that we are all into quality of home grown veg, to improve quality of life, but i think that fresh, scented flowers for next to nothing go a long way to making me happy (but them I'm easily pleased!)

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Flowers just seem a bit frivolous. But of course sweet peas are meant to help attract pollinators for the runners I'm also going to try sowing some echinacea today; never grown it but love the flowers which are also meant to be good for attracting your more benevolent type of insect.

Regarding watering, what about some capillary matting? Have you looked at NA Kays? They seem to be quite a bit cheaper than many places and are very good with a big range of stuff. I noticed the other day they've made their website much more useable too.

Snowball
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6212
Location: swindon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm going to give it a go.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
By the way, W.W. - don't forget your watering.

Nanny



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 4520
Location: carms in wales
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 2:07 pm    Post subject: sweet peas Reply with quote    

i always chip mine and plant them in some sort of cell or loo roll tube.......and then stick them in the cold greenhouse......put mine in the week before the big snow and they are now just starting to appear..

frivilous they may be but i think that the attraction for the bees and the smell of freshily cut sweet peas in the house make them ok.....

think of it as companion planting and you can justify it to yourself..along with nasturtiams and other things like borage and summer savouty and pot marigolds, they help maintain the balance of nature without resorting to sprays and things....

Snowball
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6212
Location: swindon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Why do we have to justify it anyway?
Surely part of the whole Downsizer thing is improving our environment, and few things make the environment nicer than sweet peas.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14974
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 05 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm not sure what my definition of downsizing is (new thread coming up...!) but I'm pretty sure that growing sweet peas is in it! Thanks for the reminder Snowball - hope they grow this year (it really can't be that hard if I can do it!)

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