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Old September 14, 2016   #1
habitat_gardener
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Default secrets of pea germination?

I've read that peas are supposed to maintain good germination for 3 years, but this year the peas I've planted have had 3% to 50% germination (averaging 20%) for seeds that were dated 2014-2015 (commercial packets). And only 50% for 2016 seed! All of these are either sugar snaps or snow peas, 7 varieties, from different sources.

I plant my seed in 6-packs, and when the plants are big enough I transfer them to the garden.

I wll try one more round, this time soaking the seeds overnight.

If you've had better germination rates, please tell me your secret!

(Last year, I had close to 90% germination for many varieties, doing pretty much exactly what I did this year! The lowest rate was for 2009 seed, which had 35% germination.)
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Old September 14, 2016   #2
KarenO
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Do you see un germinated whole seeds just sitting there or rotting? I ask because pea seeds and newly growing shoots are tempting morsels for critters.
If it's a germ issue it's likely due to moisture. Soaking the seed might help. Is your seed treated? Sometimes fungicide treated seed may prevent mold or rot in wet conditions
KarenO

Last edited by KarenO; September 14, 2016 at 11:48 PM.
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Old September 14, 2016   #3
My Foot Smells
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
I've read that peas are supposed to maintain good germination for 3 years, but this year the peas I've planted have had 3% to 50% germination (averaging 20%) for seeds that were dated 2014-2015 (commercial packets). And only 50% for 2016 seed! All of these are either sugar snaps or snow peas, 7 varieties, from different sources.

I plant my seed in 6-packs, and when the plants are big enough I transfer them to the garden.

I wll try one more round, this time soaking the seeds overnight.

If you've had better germination rates, please tell me your secret!

(Last year, I had close to 90% germination for many varieties, doing pretty much exactly what I did this year! The lowest rate was for 2009 seed, which had 35% germination.)

have you tried the wet washcloth in an open ziplock bag trick? constant moisture contact at the seed level.

you do not mention the time frame of your observation either. I've had seeds come up "later" and "much later" - esp. if the stock is older.

however, I always direct sow peas, so advice is just some thoughts.

good luck to you.
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Old September 14, 2016   #4
greenthumbomaha
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How was the rain / irrigation this year? Peas really take moisture to grow well. I sowed half directly, after a 3-ish hour soak. I unintentionally left another batch in the water much longer (days) and they started to germinate in the bowl. I carefully transplanted those and they sprouted up faster than the drier seed batch. I was sketchy about doing this as I heard they rot when wet.

Tormato suggested starting beans in 6 packs, which I did this year with good results. I haven't heard about doing this with peas. I sow them much thicker than beans, so it would be a huge project, for me.

- Lisa
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Old September 15, 2016   #5
Zeedman
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Provided that pea seed starts healthy, and is dried & stored properly, it can have a very long seed life. This year I planted "Nadja" (a soup pea) and "Sandy" (snow pea), seed from 2007 & 2009 respectively. They were direct seeded into the garden; I over-sowed, expecting poor germination - nearly all came up.

When I start very old pea seed (or small amounts received in trade), I plant single seeds in Jiffy strip 50's, filled with soil less mix. After planting, I add enough water to the tray to saturate the pots, and soak them over night. Any excess water is poured off the next day. If the seed is old or has previously demonstrated poor germination, I add a small amount of fertilizer to the water, since nitrogen can help to resuscitate old legumes. I used this technique last year on seed from 2005, and had 100% germination.

Peas don't give you as much of an increase per plant as beans do, so if transplants are used, it will take a fairly large amount to get anything meaningful. I try for 50 plants, which if spaced widely enough so that they branch heavily, can produce enough seed or pods to make the effort worthwhile. Varieties with tall vines, such as sugar snaps, are especially well suited for starting as transplants.

The directions for planting peas often state "as soon as the soil can be worked". ... but cold soil & weak seed can be a bad mix, especially if the soil is both cold & wet. Poor drainage, or excessive rainfall after planting, can result in heavy seed losses. Weather permitting, I will plant peas early... but more often than not, I plant them the same time as beans, and they usually do well. Note that it seldom gets above 90 degrees here in summer - this strategy probably would not work where summers are hot.
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Old September 15, 2016   #6
habitat_gardener
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I started the seeds on Aug. 25, so they've had 3 weeks to show up.

I have planted them directly in the past, but at least before now, I've found that planting them in 6-packs first is more reliable in my smallish garden spaces.

And, looking back at my garden notes, I did indeed soak the peas overnight last year! What a difference it makes! The next batch is soaking now...
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Old September 15, 2016   #7
brownrexx
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I keep my pea seeds for 2-3 years with no problem. I always soak them for 1-2 days until I see the little root starting so that they can get growing as quickly as possible in my cold March soil.

Place a soaking wet paper towel on a plate and place 10 seeds on top. cover with another soaking wet paper towel and keep it wet for a day or two. Look at the seeds and see how many are starting to grow. This will give you your germination rate and take critters and weather out of the mix.

I direct seed my peas and plant the seeds very close together (1-2 inches). I get good germination and plenty of peas. This year I used the inoculant and I really did think that it improved yields. The soaked pea seeds are already wet so the inoculant powder sticks to them nicely if you sprinkle it on them at planting time.

Last edited by brownrexx; September 15, 2016 at 10:47 AM.
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Old September 16, 2016   #8
gardeninglee
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Since you had 90% germination last year it might just be the seeds. Maybe they weren't stored properly before they got to you...
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Old October 12, 2016   #9
ElroyHouse
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You can increase the germination rate of your peas by keeping some cultivation tips in mind.Always sow the peas thickly in wide rows.Growing the peas close together will prevent weeds,keep the soil cool and increase yields.Make sure that you don’t overfertilize them since peas are light feeders they would not be requiring a fertilizer often.You could even plant them indoors.I started growing them inside after I read a blog from empress of dirt I also read another blog from rbc clean where they mentioned some good tips on how to maintain indoor plants(http://www.rbcclean.com/blog/indoor-...t-maintenance/).
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Old October 12, 2016   #10
habitat_gardener
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For the second round, I got closer to 50-70% germination when I soaked the peas overnight, then potted them up the next day.
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Old October 12, 2016   #11
PhilaGardener
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There you go!
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