Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sweetpeas

One of my jobs this week will be to pot up the sweetpea seedlings.
Temperatures in the tunnel are over 10 degrees for much of the day so the seedlings are beginning to grow again and will benefit from a bit more room I grow my sweetpeas in Rootrainers which encourage long healthy root runs. Rootrainers are basically black plastic cells which come flat packed with a hinge at the base - you fold them up and fit them into a plastic tray which gives you approximately 32 planting spaces. They spaces are much longer and narrower than plant pots and have grooved sides which guide the roots into going straight down. There is not a base to the cells, so when the roots emerge at the bottom they are air pruned (die off at the tips). This in turn sends a message back up to the plant to send out more roots.
You get the seedlings out by unhinging the cells so that there is minimal disturbance.
I find that the roottrainers are amazing things - it is very tempting to keep unfolding the cells just to see how the roots are doing.
But now the cells are full of roots and it is time to pot them on into large 2 litre rose pots - then with a bit of sunshine they should romp away. The top photo was taken outside last May.

4 comments:

Nonnie said...

I love sweetpeas. Just thinking of them now is making me think of the summer and imagine the sweetpeas that grow outside my parents kitchen door. Would love to grow my own if I had a garden.

Graham Rice said...

You're absolutely right about Rootrainers (http://www.rootrainers.com and http://www.rootrainers.co.uk). These are by far the best containers for raising sweet pea seeds as they have space which the deep roots which sweet pea seedlings quickly develop really need.

Jane said...

Sweet peas seem to be one of the most emotive flowers - they are the flower that brides ask for most frequently - and it does seem to take them back to parents' and grandparents' gardens and they want that emotional connection as much as the pretty flowers and perfume.

A couple of years ago I supplied some sweetpeas to an altzheimer charity - they were taking them to nursing homes to evoke memories in the residents.

Most commercial growers concentrate on the less scented more showy flowers so it was nice to be able to supply proper old fashioned varieties with that characteristic wafting scent.

Graham - I am glad that you concur about the rootrainers - given that I think of you as "Mr Sweetpea". They are a plant that loves the cool light summers of Scotland.

weirdbunny said...

I just adore sweet peas we grow loads. The woodcutters sister picks hers and loads of mine to, to sell on her farmers market stall. People just love to buy them. We grow the old fashioned variety ofor their strong scent.