Make way for sweet peas

There’s not a lot of room out in the plantry. I try very hard to keep the entrances onto the porch and into the house clear of plants and tools but inevitably the backyard door will only open so far, impinged by a reluctantly coiled hose and a tubtrug full of debris. The rest of the space, all 6×6 -or so- feet of it, is filled to the gills with frost-tender plants on various levels of floor, tables, and shelves. Normally, after I puzzle out light requirements and try not to hide anything thirsty from the hose, I leave them be for the duration of their winter internment. But this year, my first without access to a greenhouse and orphaned seedlings, I had to make way for sweet peas. I pitched some things that looked like they’d never recover from being dead, moved my jasmine into the living room, relocated a blooming orchid that wanted water and admiration, and somehow managed to clear a spot for a flat.

Starting North Shore, April in Paris, and Zinfandel sweet peas

I was very restrained and only bought 3 varieties of sweet peas (my greatest pleasure and challenge in previous employment was narrowing my favorites down to a baker’s dozen), and filled a tray of 18 pots with two seeds per pot. Which, if they all germinate will give me plenty to share. And there are plenty of leftover seeds to try direct sowing too if I remember to be on the ball around St. Patrick’s Day.

Some gardeners nick the seed coat to promote germination. Others soak the seeds in warm water. I did what I learned to do at work: stuff them a half a fingernail down in a pot of regular (coarse) potting mix, water in, and wait. Two weeks should do the trick. Being a cool season crop, they should be fine on the plantry (where temperatures range from 40F at night to 70 something during the day) until planting them out late April.

Have you made way for sweet peas — or anything else?

2 thoughts on “Make way for sweet peas”

  1. I am sowing lots of things, nothing vegetal yet. The allure of veggies is waning a bit since they demand such high maintenance. Also, there are so many wild and native plants coming into horticulture here for steppe climates that it feels like you’re on some frontier.

    That’s exciting! And I’ll bet they’re things you can start outside. I’ll be doing some outdoor (late) winter sowing next… -kris

  2. Totally unclear about what I was doing and why, I just had to winter sow some California Poppies in January. I guess” just because”….. I had missed sowing the seeds right in the ground in fall, and I know they don’t like to be moved. But, I am stubborn. One plastic salad box has seeds that are now waking up, the other doesn’t. How it will all turn out is an intriguing mystery. Jean

    More will be revealed, as they say! And if you move them young enough before that tap root gets too long, they shouldn’t mind a bit. I cleared some ground today for a sprinkling of poppy seeds, etc… Might be too late. Might be fine. -kris

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