Seeds did not sprout. - Knowledgebase Question

Pittsburgh, PA
Question by hess02
April 17, 2010
I recently planted peas and not one pea has sprouted. I had soaked the peas overnight, as suggested. I remembered that last year I had a similiar problem with lima beans. It occured to me that I had soaked my peas and beans in chlorinated water. Could that have been the problem? I did not have the same problem with bush beans last year and had also soaked them overnight in chlorinated water. Thank you for any suggestions.
Mrs. Hess


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Answer from NGA
April 17, 2010

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How disappointing for you! I don't think the chlorinated water made that much of a difference, but you never know. Next time let the water sit out overnight before soaking your pean. Here's the low down on peas: Although peas can survive weather down to 40? F, the seeds still require warmth to germinate. Cold, damp soil will retard germination, making the seeds susceptible to fungus & insect damage. An easy trick is to start the germination indoors. Pea seeds are easily sprouted between damp paper towels and once the root appears from the seed, it can be planted outside with a higher chance of survival. In colder areas where the ground is still thawing, the seeds can be grown as transplants for a couple of weeks longer.

Ultimately, temperatures will rise and will support growth outside. Whether you're direct seeding or transplanting, peas grown in early spring will benefit from the addition of inoculant. Peas, like other members of the legume family, have the ability to supply their own nitrogen from the atmosphere through a relationship they have with Rhizobia bacteria.

Although rhizobia are naturally occurring, in cold soil, they are not very active. Inoculant contains millions of these rhizobia bacteria and often comes in the form of a powder. You can either coat the seeds directly or mix inoculant into the soil where the transplants will grow. Either way, you will see a benefit. In trials, inoculated pea plants yielded 77% more peas than uninoculated plants.

Best wishes with your peas - and lima beans, too!

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