Start Sweet Peas Today

I told Rob that we'd be getting a big storm because I'd just ordered 30 flats of hardy color and hardy veggies.  The plants arrived on Friday and the storm on Tuesday.

Today is another spring gardening landmark day. 

April 1st is the day we put sweet pea seeds in the ground.

Sweet Peas need a fairly long season  AND they can tolerate cold. They also like sun, so they're usually planted in the first spots to melt off.  I'm not planting mine today, the snow is too deep today.  Here's what you do.

Pick up some cool pastel, hyper-fragrant,  heirloom sweet peas (like 'April in Paris') from your favorite Garden Center.

Soak the seeds overnight in a glass of water, change the water before you go to bed.

In the morning, put the seeds into a folded paper towel.  Fold the paper a little more with the seeds inside and dribble some water on it.  Put the moist paper towel containing the seeds into a plastic bag and set it someplace dark and warm.  I put mine on top of the refrigerator.

- Prepare the soil where you'll be planting by digging in a little compost, Gromulch or Amend, a little lime (oyster shell, dolomite, etc...), and some Dr. Earth Life fertilizer (it has bacterial innoculum that legumes associate with).  I dig a 4" trench along a south facing wall and amend the trench all at once, smooth it out and then make a 1" furrow where I'll put the seeds.   If the spot is not melted off, wait to start the seeds.

You don't want them growing indoors.  If they come up in the cold, they can take frost.  If they are grown indoors and transplanted, they suffer in frost.

Look at the seeds in 2-3 days (it may take 4-5).  As soon as you see a little radicle* emerge you'll plant them 1-3" apart and  1" deep. *(the radicle is the little white shoot, that the embryo sends out to become the root)  Sweet Peas need support as soon as they emerge.  I stapled bird netting to the back of a redwood trellis. It works well and looks nice.

(ed. Pam McAdoo) 

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Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

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