Surlingham, Norfolk

Sweet Peas: To pinch or not to pinch?

What is better than picking beautiful sweet peas from your garden to enjoy that delicious fragrance of theirs? Happy, healthy sweet peas will produce huge amounts of flowers during their lifetime. So I guess the question for the green fingered folk out there is;

“How do I get the healthiest sweet peas?”

When searching for ‘Top Tips’ you will be bombarded with conflicting information!? Who’d have thought that propagating sweet peas is like the gardening’s version of Shakespeare with many forums discussing whether ‘to pinch or not to pinch’ the tops out of young seedlings…
I guessed there was only one way to find out, so nearly a year ago I tested both theories to confirm once and for all.

12th March 2017: I set the seeds free and planted them in a potting compost mix and placed on a heat mat (window cill would also be fine)

5th April 2017: Half of the mini seedlings underwent the pinching procedure – where I nipped out the top of the new shoot and the other half were left to rest.

17th April 2017: Photographic evidence captured….it was a miracle!!

As you will see from the photo, the “nipped” seedling, although a few centimetres shorter, is much healthier and stronger plant compared to its taller, leggier sibling.

So folks, get your fingertips at the ready and ‘nip / pinch’ your sweet pea seedlings!

It’s official, it pays to be cruel to be kind. You will have much healthier, robust plants if you pinch them.

As least that’s been nipped in the bud now…..