Calling all sweet pea experts!

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Fine ocean parker, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Fine ocean parker

    Fine ocean parker Active Member

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    South Surrey,B.C.
    This is what my seed catalog says " soak seeds in water for 24 hr and/or rub them with sandpaper. Or pre-sprout by putting them between two sheets of damp paper towel until you see the seeds swell, and then plant them. "

    I carefully looked at the dark brown seeds and I can see a light "slit" ( is the best I can describe it ). Is this were the root first emerges from or the stem? Also, do you soak and then sand or sand and then soak? Do you sand through the brown of the seed to the thin layer of green or further to the white? Could you leave them in the water till you could see something coming out of the "slit"? Should I sand the whole seed or just the area where the slit is? If you pre-sprout what does a swollen seed look like? Does anyone have a preferance or there own ideas?

    Sorry that is a lot of questions, but I'm desperate. Thanks
     
  2. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    The slit is indeed where the seed coat splits. But sanding them isn't really necessary here. Soaking overnight is fine. Don't forget that when you plant the soil is quite moist, so that finishes the process!

    I in fact don't fuss with my sweet peas nearly that much. Just throw them into the ground and be done. The one thing I have learned is don't plant them deeper than the seed packet says. I use a bamboo stake that I've marked with a sharpie to make holes at the correct depth.
    keke
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    I am not an expert, but I have started sweet peas for my wife for a few years now. I agree completely with Keke. Don't fuss. I soak them overnight and plant into my handy-dandy rolled newspaper little seed-pots (see youtube). 2 or 3 per pot since germination may only be 50%. I have heating pads in my greenhouse. A neighbour uses a basement window. Thin to one per pot. Add plenty of compost or manure to the soil where you build your trellis or support. A bit of work to get them going, but with the colours and the scent (mmm!) they are worth it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    It is the best approach. Seeds are designed by Nature in such a way they will sprout in the soil when the time is right for them. Sweet Peas like cool weather so the sooner you plant the seeds in spring the better. They will tolerate temperature down to -5C. General rule is not to bury seeds too deep, three times the seed diameter is a safe depth. Don't soak them, since they are prone to rotting, this can be a reason for poor germination.
    If the seeds you have really require all the trouble to sprout you write about, than next time buy them from a different company with a better seed quality.

    Much more important than starting the seeds is making sure that your plants will find the growing conditions in your garden to their liking. Sweet Peas like moist, deep, rich soil and the weather rather on the cooler side. If it is what they will get in your garden, they will be most happy there.
     
  5. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    ". . . Just throw them into the ground and be done. . . ." But, then what am I going to do with my greenhouse?

    If you have trouble use my scheme as a backup, particularly if you are growing heritage varieties :) Sweet Peas are a pleasure, however you grow them!
     

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