It was touch and go, just a week ago, as my sweet pea crop began to fail, seemingly overnight, just as the first flowers of the year began to open. I couldn't believe it, it seemed that I was following the rules to the tee, carefully starting good seed in February, carefully pinching and selecting the strongest stems, using root-trainers, carefully preparing and testing soil, bamboo poles, and daily tending with proper fertilizer and ties.....then, they started failing a week and a half ago.
Without any sign or notice, the super-healthy plants with large leaves and long, loaded bud stems began to fail. First with curling leaves, and then with the buds yellowing overnight, and dropping off. I searched for the cause, and discovered that sweet peas, especially those grown for exhibitions on the single-stem cordon method, as mine are, are particularly prone to a host of diseases, most notably 60 virus', bud drop and an increased sensitivity to water, nitrogen and ethylene gas from automobile emissions. I was about to pull and burn my entire crop, when it all seemed to change again, overnight.
I think I have a physiological disorder known as 'bud drop'. Apparently the bane of sweet pea growers, it is not a virus, and has many causes, most commonly dramatic shifts in day and night temperatures in the beginning of the season, or any number of cultural causes such as differences in water, water temperature such as a cold hose spraying ice cold water on hot plants, gas fumes from cars, over fertilization with nitrogen, and many growers admit that bud drop is simple a mystery. There are 5 common virus' which can also plague sweet peas, and even though my foliage seemed crinkled and curled, I believe that I now don't have a virus just yet, since I can't see the tell tale 'windowing' or color breaks in the foliage, although there seems like there might be some fascination at the top growing point on a few plants, I think I have discovered the cause, and the cure, thanks to Mother Nature.
|YELLOWING BUDS RESULTING IN BUD DROP ON MY SWEET PEAS|
|ALL SEEMED TO BE GOING WELL, WITH THE CORDON-GROWN SWEET PEAS UNTIL THE BUD-DROP BREAK OUT BEGAN OVERNIGHT|
|ALL THE BUDS LITERALLY DROP OFF AT THE TOUCH OF A FINGER, THERE ARE MANY CAUSES OF THIS PLAGUE, MOST CAN BE OVER-COME WITH SHIFT IN TEMPERATURE OR CULTURAL TECHNIQUES|
|NEW SWEET PEAS ARE STARTING TO BLOOM WITHOUT THE BID DROP, MAKING ME HOPEFUL, ONCE AGAIN, THAT I MIGHT GET A DECENT CROP FROM THIS CHALLENGING-TO-GROW PLANT IN NEW ENGLAND.|
|UPDATE ON OTHER PROJECTS- EXHIBITION CHRYSANTHEMUMS HAVE BEEN UPGRADED TO LARGE, FIBER POTS AND RECEIVED THEIR SECOND PINCHING|
|JAPANESE MORNING GLORIES, ASAGAO, HAVE BEEN REPOTTED INTO FELT POTS. I AM GROWING THESE IN THE TRADITIONAL JAPANESE METHOD, SO THEY WILL BE HEAVILY PINCHED TO REMAIN SMALL.|
|THE STOCK IS BLOOMING NICELY, AT LEAST THE ONES THAT I DID NOT PINCH. NEXT YEAR, NO PINCHING! THAT WAS A MISTAKE THAT I MADE. THESE ARE SO FRAGRANT, THAT JUST A COUPLE OF STEMS SCENT THE ENTIRE GARDEN|