Sowing Sweet Peas16th November 2016 • General • Stephanie Donaldson
I do like to sow my sweet peas in late autumn so that I can start picking them in June – and if I had enough space I would do another sowing in March to extend the picking season – but it is tricky enough as it is to find room for the autumn plants. Sowing in autumn means that if I do have any germination problems, I can resow. This year, most varieties came up like mustard and cress, but a few have failed so I am having another go.
I have some tips to aid germination.
- Before you put the seeds in the compost, rub them with sandpaper to gently scuff the hard surface
- Water lightly once and do not water again until they have germinated or the seeds may rot, especially now that temperatures have dropped
- Gentle bottom heat will speed up germination
- Once the seedlings are growing well I move them from the greenhouse to the coldframe and pinch out the growing tips to two sets of leaves. This encourages the plants to grow good strong roots overwinter.
In previous years I have used Root Trainers, sowing one seed per cell, but I do find them quite fiddly, so this year I am sowing each variety in its own long tom pot. I know you are supposed to avoid root disturbance, but as they seldom emerged from the root trainer cells with their rootballs intact, I think it is worth a go.