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Winter Sowing: Setting out Sweet Peas

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Forum: Winter SowingReplies: 41, Views: 283
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birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 6, 2011
4:09 PM

Post #8410811

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.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 7, 2011
8:03 AM

Post #8411793

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

March 7, 2011
11:30 AM

Post #8412314

This is my first year with Sweet Peas... so far, i know nothing about them.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2011
10:49 AM

Post #8438389

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
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 20, 2011
12:03 PM

Post #8438503

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
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2011
1:13 PM

Post #8438620

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
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2011
2:09 PM

Post #8438740

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.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2011
2:35 PM

Post #8438783

birder17, do you use inoculant?
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 20, 2011
2:52 PM

Post #8438811

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
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2011
3:41 PM

Post #8438893

No. Explain please.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 20, 2011
4:27 PM

Post #8438988

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
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 22, 2011
2:19 PM

Post #8443390

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.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 22, 2011
3:49 PM

Post #8443560

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.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 23, 2011
9:18 AM

Post #8445002

How do you "inoculate" a pea seed?
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2011
11:54 AM

Post #8476173

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2011
2:34 PM

Post #8476448

My Sweet Peas finally germinated.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2011
11:45 AM

Post #8478548

@tcs1366,

planted when?
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 7, 2011
4:10 PM

Post #8479017

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 7, 2011
4:57 PM

Post #8479102

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 7, 2011
5:02 PM

Post #8479129

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. :(
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 7, 2011
6:34 PM

Post #8479408

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 7, 2011
7:43 PM

Post #8479592

that's right -- Missouri. Must get bodaciously hot and humid. Mine last til freezeup when they finally get going.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 20, 2011
6:01 PM

Post #8509765

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.

cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

April 20, 2011
6:43 PM

Post #8509868

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.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 21, 2011
1:35 PM

Post #8511511

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 21, 2011
2:36 PM

Post #8511645

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
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

April 21, 2011
5:58 PM

Post #8512148

6, living here is interesting, we get every kind of weather, sometimes all in one day.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 22, 2011
4:38 PM

Post #8513913

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?
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2011
4:42 PM

Post #8513924

Wouldn't they just rot if they are soaked, put in wet soil, then set out where they will freeze??
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 22, 2011
4:47 PM

Post #8513932

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2011
9:02 PM

Post #8514446

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 26, 2011
11:12 AM

Post #8521784

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...
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 26, 2011
11:33 AM

Post #8521822

Mine in the garage are about the same height, and the ones I WS (4-8) just sprouted in the cold frame.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 28, 2011
9:08 PM

Post #8527622

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.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

April 29, 2011
7:04 AM

Post #8528129

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
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

April 29, 2011
8:04 AM

Post #8528229

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

April 30, 2011
3:33 PM

Post #8530787

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.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 1, 2011
5:00 PM

Post #8533035

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.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

May 2, 2011
5:30 PM

Post #8535477

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.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 4, 2011
6:08 PM

Post #8540261

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.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

May 8, 2011
4:27 AM

Post #8547201

I go home [back to IL] after my shift this afternoon... i really hope i get good weather so i can plant seedlings like an idiot ... then Thurs, i will grab what i can and bring them north with me. I'm trying to decide where to put the Sweet Peas. I've never had them before. How much sun do they need? I'm wondering i they will do well with only sun til early afternoon... I have two small flower beds up by the 'upper pool' and they'd be all afternoon sun, but there's a chain link fence they can climb.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 8, 2011
8:23 PM

Post #8548887

Sweet Peas like full sun, but I think they would be fine in afternoon sun. Just my opinion.

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Other Winter Sowing Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Winter Sowing Seed Swap .....part 2 alicewho 213 Mar 23, 2007 1:01 PM
Lessons learned for next year #2 zenpotter 256 Mar 23, 2007 7:56 AM
Milk jugs TurtleChi 99 Mar 19, 2007 12:20 PM
WS Poppies & transplant problems marie_ 100 May 11, 2011 4:44 PM
Database germination info bluespiral 6 Mar 5, 2008 12:23 PM


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