As soon as the new crop of Sweet Pea seeds arrives with us our first job is to test their germination. As a natural product, grown outdoors in various different parts of the world, the quality can vary. How well any particular seed grows has much to do with the weather conditions at the time the plant was maturing. There are international standard methods and instructions for laboratory testing of seed and we choose to use a method based on the sand test. As we want to our customers to be pleased with their results when they plant a packet of sweet pea seeds, the first thing the seed has to do is germinate, so we plant 100 seeds of each seed lot into a tray of sand and count the shoots which emerge.
The picture above shows a tray of sand with the new shoots coming up. We count the germinations at 4, 7 and 14 days. The minimum germination we are looking for is 85%.