The Q&A Archives: Pea Failure

Question: Every year I plant several types of edible pod peas (sugar snap, sugar bon, snappy, daddy, etc.), and while they germinate well in wet paper towels, the success rate in the garden is TERRIBLE. It doesn't matter whether I start them directly in the ground after soaking and innoculating them, or if I first germinate them in a paper towel and then plant. Of the hundreds of seeds that go in the ground, I seldom end up with more than a dozen or so plants, and we REALLY like the edible pod peas.
The ground isn't overly moist, and I have no trouble growing anything else in this garden. Please help!

Answer: How perplexing! Since the ground isn't overly moist we can probably rule out rotting, and since you've pregerminated them we know the seeds are fine. Innoculant should also help. At this point I would suspect a critter has been stealing them -- probably birds. (In my garden they will dig them up!) I have also seen cases where bunnies have pulled them right out of the ground just as they germinated and there is also a possibility of slugs if the weather has warmed enough. Maybe you will be able to figure it out with some detective work.

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