Setting out Sweet Peas

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I WS sweet peas. A couple of plants have three sets of leaves. The average temps here now are 34* and 54*. Do you think I could plant them outdoors? I posted this on the annual forum but haven't received an answer. I thought this forum might be more active. I know I would have to acclimate them. I would like to hear your experiences.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I think I found my answer: 4 weeks before your last frost date.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

This is my first year with Sweet Peas... so far, i know nothing about them.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

i think i am going to WS some today. i will try to remember to report back re: results.

birder17, i'd love an update, too. we are in a similar zone.

donna

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I'm watching, as I'm doing them for the first time this year too. I got old seeds, looked very dry and cracked, so I put them in a damp paper towel and in 3 days some were already sprouted. Now they're in 2" pots, one each, indoors for the next couple of weeks until we open the house. Then I have to decide what to do next!

Is it right to pot them separately? I've seen pictures of clusters in cell packs. What works best?

Pam

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

pam, i have winter-sown mine, so i have cast them outside. i planted the seeds in paper towl tubes cut in half, 3-4 seeds in each tube. then i set the tubes upright in a milk carton.

i couldn't tell you what works best. last year i planted them much later, in May, a bit late for us i think. but i will probably set some out every few weeks to precisely to see what works best.

donna

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Last frost date here is April 15th. I am going to plant my sweet pea that sprouted under lights outside today. They are about 5" long right now. I only had about three sprout. I also put some seed in water and let them soak--planted those directly outside last week. I don't think they're going to sprout. I Winter Sowed about three years ago and had good success. Last year, I WS and had very few sprout. This year tried under lights and had very few sprout. I hate to blame it on the seed. But, I'm not sure what other method to try to get my sweet peas to sprout. It's too windy now, but maybe this evening when the wind dies down, they will go outside.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

birder17, do you use inoculant?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

6aseeder, that sounds very cool. Have you seen anything yet? What success did you have last year? Tis is my first year using the paper towel method. Germination has been pretty good, but I'm losing some sprouts when I plant them. Too wet, too dry, too deep-- It could drive a person mad!! Birder, I guess you feel the same way. Yikes!!!!

Pam

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

No. Explain please.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I read that sweet peas need to be soaked or nicked, but when I opened the packet I saw that the seeds were very, very dry, and some were cracked. I assumed from that they were old. I've also read that stratification is necessary on fresh seeds, but as they age they become easier to germinate- I don't remember the details but it made sense when I read it. So I just took a paper towel section, wet it, folded it, put the seeds in the fold, and stuck it in a ziplock. I did not chill it. Within 3 days a few seeds had aprouted. I have sprouted a few other kinds of seeds that way as well, some chilled, some not.

But then I'm not sure what to do. I fill a pot with pre- wet potting soil, use a pencil to make a hole, put in some pr- wet seed starting mix, put the sprouted seed in, cover lightly with more seed starting mix. Sometimes I get a seedling in a day or two, sometimes not. Should I cover with plastic?

Ive done dianthus, lupines, nicotiana, sweet peas, all different sizes of seeds. Lately I've covered with less soil and covered with plastic. Is it normal to lose so many sprouts?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Pam

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

re: peas. i had good germination in May 2010, outside in paper tubes. the peas were dessicated, with the outer coating wrinkled up. i used inoculant but no other special treatment like soaking. ( i am going to experiment using/not using inoculant with peas this year, too.) the peas did great until the voles nipped through the stems.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Voles-Yikes! I only got a handful of sprouts, then the seeds started to feel slimy and smell funny, so I tossed them. I guess I'll use them in planters rather than in the ground.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

How do you "inoculate" a pea seed?

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

re: inoculant. you know, i got confused. i was thinking an inoculant was a catalyst for germination but i was wrong. some good info i could find on it was this:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00305.html

it still holds that i will use the inoculant. my garden plot has not had legumes for at least 2 years, maybe more. i can use all the help i get, in case my plants escape the voles.

donna

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

My Sweet Peas finally germinated.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

@tcs1366,

planted when?

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I put sweet peas out early March. They were about 3" high last Sunday, April 2. They are MUCH healthier than the ones I planted inside. I don't think I will do that again.
Edited to add:
These are the ones I soaked over night and planted directly into the planters I believe that is what I'm going to try again next year..

This message was edited Apr 10, 2011 7:20 PM

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

They were sown on March 14th and germinated about the 2nd of April.
they are teeny tiny right now.

we had a very cold march .. not a lot of sunshine at all.... many of my containers have not even germinated yet.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I think for grins I will sow some in jugs out side and some under grow lights inside. Hedge my bets. it is still only about 35 to 40F during the day. May try the water jugs filled with water in my cold frame also although right now they would probably freeze at night. :(

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Good luck! They are so pretty and smell so good. Mine don't last very long as it gets too hot for them too quickly.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that's right -- Missouri. Must get bodaciously hot and humid. Mine last til freezeup when they finally get going.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

Finally! peas sown Mar 20 & Ap 2, both plantings came up Apr 19. cold spring here this year. i WSed in paper tubes in jugs.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I planted my peas on March 20 in a small pile of rabbit poop on top of compost. They came up quickly and are growing quickly. I'm in Missouri, too, hoping it is a little cooler this summer, just can't take the humidity now that I'm getting older.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

geez, cathy4, it hardly seems fair that any place in MO would be in a colder zone than boston (6a) ! i just noticed my profile does not give my zone, although my "name" does.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, I planted my SP outside in the cold frame 4-7. It runs down to 34 @ night and I have to fight to keep it below 90 during the day (open the flaps). No germination yet. The ones in the garage greenhouse are about 6" tall, Not terribly sturdy looking though. Have them under lights about 4" away. Guess I should set up a fan to induce stronger stems

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

6, living here is interesting, we get every kind of weather, sometimes all in one day.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Pfg: I nick and soak my seeds over night, then, plant in seed starting medium. I have tried WS and have had real good luck and then, last year, not so good. I used a different vendor. I wonder if it would work better if the seed was a year old before sowing? So, I tried under lights this year. I won't do that again--just too much trouble, and I have other seeds that I want to plant under lights and don't really have room for every thing under lights.
The ones I planted outside this year are about 7" right now. They are still quite short, but the weather has been really cool this year. I thought SP like cool weather and thought they would have done really well with this weather.
Next year, I think I will: Nick, Soak over night, put in Baggies and when they sprout, put them in some wet potting soil in the peat pots and put them outside.
I wonder what freezing the seed would do?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Wouldn't they just rot if they are soaked, put in wet soil, then set out where they will freeze??

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

mstella, well, you sure have a point. I was thinking I would put them out after the last frost date-but then, I could just put them in the soil. I guess I kind of forgot about the freeze since we are out of the freezing weather now. My very best luck with SP was using the WS method. However, last year, I just didn't have good luck. I keep wondering if it was the seed since I used a different vendor.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Could be. Maybe they had 'tainted' seeds. On the other hand, I wonder about the vagaries of planting. Humidity, warmth, who knows.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

once -- i read directions on seeds .... most were those "bean" like vines... and a few others... i nicked and soaked then WS"ed. everyone rotted. I have not done that since, even with big hard seeds, and they WS just fine. my sweet peas are about 3-4" tall on the tallest ones...

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Mine in the garage are about the same height, and the ones I WS (4-8) just sprouted in the cold frame.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

tcs: just a side note: bean seeds you soak, sweet pea seeds, nasturtium seeds you nick and soak. The bean seed would be damaged if you tried to nick it. They don't have a hard enough seed coat. But, it sounds like things are working well w/o the drama.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I do nasturtiums by the dozens every year, both indoors with heat and direct sown on my frost date. I never nick or soak, haven't had any problems with them. Good luck!

Pam

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I just soak for 24 hours and it works fine for me. Almost 100% germination both beans and peas. Usually within a week.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

birder --when i get a free minute, i'll look up the 'bean' seed. they weren't actually beans, but some vine i think

i've never soaked Nasty's and they always do fine for me. didnt soak the sweet peas either, but i WS'ed them.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Well, my thinking is, if you soak them, they sprout a little faster. My Nast. are sprouting. I believe it's been about a week since I planted them.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I getcha on that for 'spring sowing' -- totally makes sense -- but when i did the nicking and soaking -- they were sown in the dead of winter - Jan/Feb time frame. so with the freeze/thaw happening -- that's how they most likely rotted. at least in my experience.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, tsc, I think we're on the same page! :)
My sweet peas are slowly growing. Our temps were in the mid 60's today. That's about 8 degrees below average.

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