Squirrels v. Sweet Peas

I think the rat problem is actually a squirrel problem… I noticed a squirrel jump into one of the garden boxes and other day. I went over to look, and it jumped right out before I could get to the boxes, but it looked like there were freshly dug holes. So, I have to apologize to the Palo Alto rats for my false accusations.

But about these squirrels….

Here’s what the squirrels did to my sweet peas:


I quickly repotted them and packed the soil back in, and I’m hoping they weren’t too badly damaged!

I also used some of the wire mesh that I had laid on the in-ground peas to form a cage around the pot.

Ha! Take that squirrels!

I also did the same with the in-ground peas:

They should be safe and sound now.

The Sweet Peas Seem Okay…

The sweet peas are now outside on the back porch 100% of the time.

You might not be able to tell from these photos, but there are small buds forming low down on the stalks, suggesting that they are happy in their new home and are branching out after being pinched back!

On a related note, the peas (snow and sugar snap) are coming up under the wire mesh that I laid down. It’s working to keep the squirrels out.

I suppose I can just leave the wire mesh down and let the peas grow up through it?

Potting Up Sweet Peas and Echinacea

After seeing the wispy roots on the chervil and parsley, I decided to transplant the echinacea and sweet peas to see if getting them out of their newspaper pots will improve their growth. The sweet peas in particular and turning pale. The echinacea growth has just stalled.

I know you’re not supposed to disturb the roots on sweet peas, so I tried to gingerly peel off the newspaper.

The roots had actually grown into the newspaper, sooo….so much for not disrupting the roots. I also noticed that although the top half and bottom quarter of the potting soil was wet, there was also a patch of completely dry potting soil in the middle. I wonder if this may be a consequence of the newspaper…does it wick water preferentially away from the potting soil? Interesting.

But I persevered and here the sweet peas are potted in a fresh new pot with some twigs to act as a trellis, should they ever grow tall enough to require a trellis.

Next up, the echinacea:

This was more straightforward – no dry patches of potting soil.

I gave both pots a good drink of water to hydrate them well, and then next morning I fed them with some half-strength fertilizer. I’m also moving them outside to get actual sunshine instead of just a grow light (but don’t worry, I’m placing them so as not to get too much direct sunlight until they’re better acclimated.)

Pinching off the Sweet Peas

This is my first year growing sweet peas. I planted four seeds in one pot and two of them came up.

They grew pretty well at first, putting on several inches quickly. When I came back from vacation a few weeks ago, I found one of them broken…

…but it seems to have rebounded on its own.

From what I read, it is now time to pinch the tips off these sweet peas. Pinching the tips off when they’re young makes them grow bushier, thus producing more flowers. Most sources I read said to pinch them off after they have three or four sets of leaves. These sweet peas have exactly three sets of leaves. I was actually hoping to wait a little longer for them to get their fourth set of leaves before pinching, but their growth seems to have stalled…along with all my other seedlings. (They germinate just fine and then their growth stagnates…what is happening??)

Regardless, I’m going ahead and pinching them off, and maybe that will stimulate a bit more growth. (I doubt it, but one can hope.) I’m snipping off the top set of leaves down to just above the second set of leaves. Grow my sweet peas, grow!