- A member of the Pea Family, seeds are large and produce vigorous seedlings.
- Soak the seeds in cold water for 24 hours to improve germination before planting directly in the tunnel or in seedling containers.
- Seeds germinate in 10 to 21 days at 60 F.
- Seedlings are cold-tolerant, but should be protected by low tunnels when temperatures drop below 25 F.
- A vining crop that grows best under cool conditions.
- Plants must be provided with a trellis to support them as they grow.
- From a sowing date of mid- to late March, a transplanted sweet pea crop in a high tunnel should begin flowering by mid- to late June (Zone 5).
- Plant spacing: 2 to 4 plants per foot on a trellis, with rows 4 to 6 ft. apart.
- Sweet peas were a favorite cut flower crop in the early 1900s in the US, and many varieties have been developed.
- Only one year’s trial results in Ithaca so far. ‘Mammoth Choice Mix’ produced highest stem yield of 34 stems/plant.
- ‘Cuthbertson Mix’ was 10 days later in flowering, and yielded 20 stems/plant.
- Flower size and yield declines with increasing temperatures, so early varieties have advantages for tunnel production.
- Flowers can be harvested either as flower stems without leaves, generally 10 to 14 in. long, or as leafy shoots with flower stems attached.
- Vase life at room temperature is around 5 days.
- Primary attraction of the flowers is appearance and the distinctive fragrance.
For more information, see: Armitage, A.M. and J.M. Laushman. 2003. Specialty Cut Flowers, 2nd Edition. Timber Press, 586 pp. Available through ASCFG.