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Chitting Sweet Peas

To Chit or not to Chit? – that is the question!

Our sweet pea seed packets recommend that before you plant you must chit your seed – when you chit the seed you take a sharpe knife and slit the seed on the opposite side of the eye of the seed – other seed packets say that you should also soak your seeds – this is all very confusing and is it really necessary?

To check whether chitting or soaking needs to be carried out I have carried out an experiment.

Two weeks ago I took the four varieties of Sweet-peas which is in our sweet-pea collection and I split each seed packet into 3 groups:-

  • Soaked & Chitted
  • Chitted
  • Nothing

I then placed each of the sowings into a propagator so that they all had the same amount of light and temperature – interestingly the first to appear were the seeds of Miss Willmott which were neither chitted or soaked, closely followed by Miss Willmott chitted.  Over the next few days all of the seeds germinated so I would say that from the varieties that I tested chitting and soaking the seeds is no longer necessary but it would be impossible to say whether this is true for all varieties and for the perennial varieties soaking the seed prior to sowing may give a better success rate so I therefore I leave it up to you whether you wish to chit or not.
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