I finally managed to gett around to sowing my sweet peas today. I would have sown them in the autumn but watching Gardeners World a few years ago they found that ,for them, sowing in the autumn made no difference compared to those sown in early spring. Still, it would be nice to have something growing and fairly established at this time of year whilst everything else seems dead, hasn’t yet germinated or is pathetically small.
As you may be aware from one of my previous posts about free substitutes, I have been saving toilet rolls for my sweet peas. All in all I had 18 so I planted 6 of each variety although in the end I planted 2 seeds in each roll. Before hand, I soaked my seeds in some water for a few hours as the case of a sweet pea seed is very hard and it can be difficult for water to get through. If the water fails to get through the outer casing the seed won’t germinate and its a right pain as I’ve found out the hard way. Unlike plastic pots, if a seed fails to germinate I can’t re-use the roll as it will be rotted away, although it seemed a bit wasteful, by planting two seeds to a roll none of the loo rolls will go to waste. Also, they’re so long (I didn’t bother cutting the bottom and turning them in) that if both seeds were to germinate there should be enough room for both of them and I won’t have to throw one away, disturbing the roots of the stronger plant when I thin them out.
Like broad bean seeds, sweet peas are pretty tough and don’t need a lot of heat. To be on the safe side I’ve put them in the summer house just incase we were to get a nasty frost (not very likely though) and I dug out an old, sturdy seed tray someone gave me with one of those plastic cases you put on top. It should keep them warm but not too hot.
I’ve carefully labelled them and given them a good soaking with my handheld mister. Now I just need to make sure they don’t completely dry out every few days and, fingers crossed, in less than a fortnight I should have some seedlings.