Earlier this week I poured some seed of Sweet Pea "Sugar N Spice" into a ramekin to soak in warm water for a few days. Pea seed has a hard outer shell and I have always found that soaking the seed prior to planting greatly decreases germination time. This is a new sweet pea variety for me. It is described as:
Sweet Pea "Sugar N Spice" Territorial Seed Company: This magnificent Sweet pea makes a perfect hanging basket or container plant, and has a wonderful perfume as well. The sweetly scented mix includes pink, purple, violet, cream, and bi-colors.
Today I filled up two empty bowls with soil and planted the pro-soaked seed. In a week or so I hope to see some pea shoots poking through the soil.
Today I also got my two boxes of dahlia tubers out of storage. Since mid-November the boxes have been stored in an unheated room in the garage. The tubers have been exposed to complete darkness and temperatures in the low 40's. Now I am beginning the slow process of opening up each variety from its saran-wrapped cocoon. After examining each tuber for signs of health and vigor I am deciding how many tubers I want to keep for this year's garden and how many tubers I will donate to my local society for its fundraising sales. It is a time-consuming task but also a rewarding one too. It makes all of the time I spent last Fall digging, dividing, and cleaning the tubers worth while when I unwrap a variety and am greeted by clean, firm tubers with new vigorous sprouts.
These five tubers of "Golden Star" already have fat, pink sprouts shooting out of the tuber eye. Not all dahlia tubers will have "awakened" by now. Some varieties and forms are slower to sprout than others. I have found that the Waterlily, Collerette, and Orchid forms are some of the first to awaken each year. I will still keep these in a dark box for the next month since I won't begin potting up my tubers until Mother's Day weekend at the earliest. I don't want the shoots to get too long weeks before they are ready to be planted.
Editors Note: We ended up with another miserable March. Our average rainfall for March is 4.99" and this year we received 10.04". The temperature was also much lower than average. We ended up with only 3 days having a high above 60 degrees - the 3rd & 9th it was 61 and the 8th it hit 67. And 13 days this month the high temperature was only in the 40's.