another sweet pea question

kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)April 10, 2005

Hi, can anyone tell me how long sweet peas take from seed sown to bloom? My seeds are soaking for 24 hours now and I'm planting today-- any idea when I'll have stuff to sell (presuming I ever do)? (And I know I'm planting "late" according to the rules... for my cold and frost-prone area, I'm pretty sure I'm actually EARLY :)

kristen, where it hit 15 degrees night before last

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Hi KristenMarie,
I'm taking a midday break from my 'torturous' outdoor activities, finally able to see the beds without snow cover...
Anyhoo, to your question about sweetpeas..I guess we're sort of in the same growing arena zonally... I found Jane, (Snapdragon Scotland) to be a big help to me on a sweetpea question last year so I think she'd be able to fill in alot of the particulars..I've been growing them here in Vermont for about 4 years and I've always started them inside though I am told repeatedly they loathe transplanting...When I lived in southern New England I direct sowed them into the ground on St. Paddy's Day but that's a laugh and a half to me here with several feet of snow on the ground on that date usually..
So I began starting them in whatever I had handy inside and then on a nice moist, cloudy day when they're about 3 or 4 inches high I plant them out along whatever pea fence I've devised and either I'm lucky or crazy but I rarely lose any..(I also wrote to some professional sweetpea grower/seed seller in England who told me he MOVES the location of where the peas are planted each year..what was the path between the rows one year becomes the planting area the next so he told me)..
This year all the sweetpea seedlings are in an unheated little hoophouse growing along happily a couple inches along..One of my chores today is to concoct a new pea fence in a new bed..oh joy...growing many more this year than last as the florist I sell to is crazy about them and seems to pay pretty well for them despite their ephemeral nature..I've read there are some tricks to getting a longer stem also but that eludes me at the moment..
As to when they will be there for you; If I recall correctly I think I had them in late June but due to such a cool and overcast summer last year I was cutting them literally into early August but that was a weird year and some varieties conked out sooner than others..
Don't know if any of this babble helps but there's my 2 cents..Sweetpeas are such a fave of mine I'd grow them no matter what, cut or no cut..
I am anticipating a serious drop into the teens or lower here as it ALWAYS seems to happen, freakishly it's hung around mid 20's to freezing at night and I've been counting my blessings in that regard but am prepared to do some plant hustling should temps go any lower..keeping my filthy fingers crossed for all of us,

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:33PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Randi I sympathize with your bad weather, that's for sure-- night before last we left out 20 trays of tomato seedlings in the hoophouse (2 weeks old for sale as bedding plants at market) and the forecast called for 28 and so I turned one heater on medium (rather than 2 heaters on high, as I might on a cold night)... woke up yesterday morning to 12 degrees and a hoophouse filled with dead plants. torture-- that was a LOT of money we lost, so we replanted today and will go to market a week later than anticipated. but hey, I guess it's part of trying to farm in stupid bad climates. anyway, it seems to me sweet peas are one of the things that will LIKE my cold farm, so I'm quite hopeful-- I have only grown them one other time, years ago, and it was in a HOT climate, so they didn't do so well.... I'm hoping to have some in mid-June, but we'll see, eh? Next year I'm going to try to fall-sow some. Thanks for the advice- I think I'll do a tray or two indoors for transplanting just to try both ways.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 4:57PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

and, as long as I have sweet-pea growers' attention, can anyone tell me your sources for seed? I've ordered this year from Baker's Creek and SSE... I have painted lady, cupani, america, orange streamer (couldn't resist), Janet Scott and Senator. And Indigo King. Who has the widest sweet pea seed assortment for sale?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 9:21AM
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nafreeman(z10 San Diego)

i buy from owl's acre sweet peas in spalding, linconshire england. they have a fantastic selection and also sell in collections of 10 varieties. all of their seeds are large and i have never had any not come up. they ship quick too, and take cc. they're at good luck everyone! i'm trying to grow sweet peas for my wedding, which i would really like to have in late june, but i seem to have the opposite problem as you guys where mine are dead to a crisp by june. anyway, happy gardening.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 1:05PM
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I'm living in China, and I've seen flowers here that I would swear are sweetpea. The only trouble is, they're on the tops of trees, and the only sweetpeas I can find on the web are vines. Does anyone know anything about it? I'm dying of curiosity!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 12:38PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

as long as this got bumped back up, I"ll add a bit-- it took 26 days for my sweet peas to germinate.. .sheesh! they are just germinating now finally. so now you know: don't panic. I had more or less written them off a week ago, and suddenly, there they are! thank goodness! I planted a LOT.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 12:20AM
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Does anyone have experience with 'Indian pea'? I purchased a packet of seeds at the NE flower show from an exhibitor from Quebec. The flowers are blue on the picture, but doesn't say much about them i.e. height, bloom time, scent, etc. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 6:44PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

I think this might be what SSE calls the "Lord Anson's Blue Pea" (I think I saw it somewhere else called indian pea but I'm not sure why it would be called that?). SSE says: Lathyrus nervosus (a different species from the sweet pea, l. odoratus) and "Rarely offered and almost impossible to find seed. Discovered by Lord Anson in Patagonia in 1744. Best grown indoors as a conservatory plant in the North. Given the proper growing conditions , th eplants can bloom continuously April through September. The lavender blue flowers are sweetly scented. Nice long stems for cutting, tender perennial, 5-6 feet tall."

BUT I could be wrong...


    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 11:31PM
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This is a stupid question, but are you all talking about the annual sweet pea?? I have started both the per. and annual, and probably messed up with the annual one. I am under the impression that a frost would kill them, so am waiting to plant them out along the fence I've put up. We are suppose to get down to freezing or a little below on Friday eve., so I'm being cautious with everything right now. The annual ones are about 4-5" tall, and yes, flopping over, but I put them in paper pots to help with the transplanting so I don't disturb the roots. My per. variety took forever to come up, but are up now, and I could probably put those out, right? Help.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 6:45AM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Cheryl both the annual and perennial sweet peas can take some frost but I would harden them off -- if they've had nights in the 50s or 60s and suddenly get frozen, they might not like that. My sweet peas (annual), which I planted out in mid-April, are finally coming up, and getting light frosts nightly without much effect.

The perennial sweet pea does not have the classic sweet pea scent-- it has no scent at all in fact-- it grows wild around here, very nice!

Think of them like regular eating peas-- they can take frost and they want cool weather. You and I SHOULD do well with them! :) I can grow regular peas clear through July and August. This is my first time trying annual sweet peas.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:15AM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Lefty, actually, it looks like blue pea might be Lathyrus sativus which you can type into google and get some info on (height, bloom, etc). Looks interesting! Might buy some seed next year!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:20AM
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Thanks Kristen. I have had them in an unheated greenhouse the last week, but tonight, and for the next three nights, we will be at 32, and 28 on Friday night, so I think I'll hold off planting them out for now. Good luck on yours.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 6:51AM
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