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Sowing sweet peas in homemade compost?

CatieCatie Posts: 50
Hi All, As the title suggests, I have sowed some sweet pea seeds in some homemade compost. The compost is mainly a mixture of wet leaves, kitchen scraps and the bulk would probably be chicken litter consisting of wood shavings and hen poop! Would this mixture be too rich to raise sweet pea seedlings in? I am probably going to plant some more in store bought compost but wanted to know in advance what might become of my seedlings raised in homemade compost. Thanks, Catie


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,577

    Catie, for how long has your home made compost been left to rot?

  • CatieCatie Posts: 50
    Approx 3 years, thanks for getting back to me image
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,577

    Should at least be well rotted, but I'm not sure , to be honest.

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    David K has a thread on growing sweet peas somewhere (I can't seem to find it at the moment).

    The basic rule here is (I think) to start them off in something with very little nutrient (like John Innes No.1) and pot on later into somethng richer. 

    Edit - I see FG has found DK's thread and bumped it up image


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009

    I've bumped up the sweet pea thread for you Catie. David will be able to give you loads of advice with sweet peas image

    I usually sow in ordinary MPC in spring and they get lots of food once they're planted out.  It's more important to use a less rich compost if sowing in autumn so that there's less soft growth over winter.

    I learnt that from David  image


    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • CatieCatie Posts: 50
    Brill! Thankyou!
  • Hi, Catie, I've just had a tip-off that you need some help.......I would just say that the thread 'Sweet Pea Know How' mentioned by the guys, is located in the Potting Shed bit of the forum.

    I've read your query and I'm very sorry to say that from the description of your homemade compost, it will be far too rich for sowing sweet pea seed....or, I venture to say any other seed. I would use it either as a potting compost or soil enricher.

    Use a low nutrient seed compost such as John Innes seed or No1 compost for autumn sowing of sweet pea seed or (as Fairygirl does) multipurpose compost in the Spring.

  • CatieCatie Posts: 50
    Okay, that's brilliant!

    Thanks for your advice,

  • CatieCatie Posts: 50
    Just out of interest, what is likely to happen to the seeds? Will they just not germinate at all?

    This forum is fantastic by the way, and very welcoming!

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    They'll probably germinate but the nutrients in the rich compost will promote rapid, soft growth which will then be susceptible to pests and disease.  They (seedlings in general) need to be grown hard, to produce tough, resistant little plants.  That's why we use a seed compost. image

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