Tuesday, March 3, 2009

File Under: Um, that didn't work...

Last Friday I put my sugar snap pea starts out, watered them in, and covered them with mulch. I was out of town all day Saturday, but got back late Sunday afternoon. The very first thing I did was check on the peas. It was clear from the limp leaves that they were struggling. I watered them again and hoped for the best, but by the next morning I knew I'd lost them.

I don't know if it was the sudden cold snap we had on Friday night, or the fact that I didn't water them on Saturday, or that it just wasn't going to work to transplant them. In any case, I'm going to sow the seeds directly this morning and try again, though it may be late in the season to get a good crop from seed.

I do like how my tripod turned out. If you'll remember, this is from the juniper wood my mother's neighbor cut down and was going to discard:

I also put out my arugula starts yesterday, and am currently protecting them with a cold frame. They looked a little shocky when I left them, though, so I'm hoping they don't go the way of the peas...

Ah well, it's all a learning process. Good thing I have plenty of arugula seeds left.


  1. That is very disappointing for you Susan...maybe direct sowing would work for the arugula, too. gail

  2. I haven't researched this, it may be an old wives tail, but my Mom said vines won't grow up cedar trees because the vines don't like the oils in the tree. Juniper may be close enough to cedar to cause the vines to react the same way.
    Like I said, it's just something I've always heard. If you, or anyone has better info, share it with me, please. Once the tree is dead, maybe the oils dry out, maybe the tree isn't so toxic to the vines anymore, but it's all just guessing.
    Maybe I can Google that, or look it up in an Old Farmer's Almanac...

  3. Susan, arugula likes warmth. So they may struggle for a little while until you get more consistent warmth/warmer soil. I have the wild variety of arugula which comes back early each spring from the same plants.

    Interesting comment about cedar. I know that a lot of people in Texas use the name "cedar" for the Juniper tree (Juniperus ashei in central Texas). And it wouldn't surprise me that some plants can't grow near/on Juniper (allelopathy at work). The branches may very well still have some of the oils present. Perhaps you need to let them dry out for a time??

  4. Your poor babies! I have to admit to having learned a LOT about gardening by messing things up. :) Well, still learning a lot. For instance, I planted 2 rows of beets in January and not one single seed germinated, ZERO. And those were brand new seeds. So, now I'm seeing what happens when you sow beet seeds in February!

  5. Oh bummer! I feel partially responsible, since I was one of those who suggested the snaps. Hm. Peas need lots of nitrogen in the soil, mine always struggle a bit and get yellowish so I probably need to do a soil test. Sounds like yours had a different problem. Your trellis is lovely but maybe the previous commenter has hit on something? Peas can usually take some cold so I'd be surprised if that's it. I grow mine on a store-bought bamboo teepee. I know that's sacrilege to you, oh maker-of-stuff, but you might try it to see if that fixes the problem for this year. Good luck! And don't give up on the arugula, those guys are pretty tough and direct-sowing has always worked like magic for me (and I'm no genius with seeds).

  6. It was probably the cold snap. But it is no matter. I always start mine too early then plant another crop later on. The ones planted later by several weeks always catch up to the early ones, go figure. Still plenty of time Susan. I have an arbor just like this one. A tangerine beauty grows on mine and it holds up well.

  7. Oooops. Never mind. Better to get the failures over at the beginning of the year!
    I usually sow my climbing peas direct because I find the stems are easily damaged no matter how careful I am when I transplant them.

  8. Nola and Jean--I hadn't thought about the possibility of alleopathy, but it will be interesting to see if the trellis will support any vines. I'll keep an eye out for that.

    Gail, Tina, Michelle, and EG--I stuck some seeds in the spot next to the transplants, but when I went out to check on things this morning, I noticed that the transplants had some new growth, so maybe the tops just got zapped by the cold snap. Maybe they'll make it after all.

    I also noticed that the arugula is looking perkier, so I think things are looking up.

  9. Sorry you lost the peas. Hope the backup plan works. That teepee is really cool though. We built one using regular old plastic garden dowels. They've for my son's bean teepee though so I guess that part wouldn't matter.

  10. Guess what - I'm taking part in a suggar snap pea trial!

    Can't wait...

  11. Hi Susan, making that transition from indoor to outdoor is always hard. It helps if the days are cloudy, but some hardening off is usually required. Out for a few days, then in at night for a week or two. Our weather has not allowed much of that so we are trying the cold frame with the glass shower door lid. Open during the day, covered at night. Sugar snap peas should do well direct sown. The little tendrils need something very narrow to grab, like wire or string instead of that thick wood. Maybe place a string tied to a rock by the seedlings to get them going up the limb, with the string tied to the top of your trellis. Good eating ahead!


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