Sowing Sweet Peas in January again

This is the second year I’ve grown sweet peas. The first was a disaster.

It all started so well. The peas were sown in October, germinated swiftly and grew with incredible energy.

Sweet Pea experts agree that autumn is the best time to sow as come March or April, the plants have a well-developed root system, a bushy top growth and the result is the delight of earlier blooms.

I’m not entirely clear on the reason for their downfall. I’m settled on it being a combination of the Beast from The East in early spring and the plant’s becoming root bound stuck in their pots. Anyway, I’m over it (I’m so not!)

The thought of growing sweet peas excites me. It’s not simply a result of catching the flower bug last year but that I’m seduced by the thought of bringing home cut fragrant blooms of sweet peas to pop in a vase. There is a parallel with the purpose of an allotment as a means of bringing home the harvest of fruit and vegetables. I like that.

I didn’t sow my sweet peas last autumn and that’s absolutely fine. I’m not looking for prizewinning blooms and the truth is, I simply forgot. Even Monty fails to sow his sweet peas in October – he’s far too busy with other garden activities to get around to the task.

I sowed our sweet peas the other day. We used to do this in the autumn and you will often be advised that it is best to make an October sowing, but I think that this is a counsel of perfection and does not work for us.

26 February 2005,
The Ivington Diaries.

There is a benefit to sowing sweet peas in late winter. It’s a small rub on that gardening itch. You know the one. It intensifies following the distraction of Christmas and the cheer of the New Year. Symptoms include frequently staring at the greenhouse through the kitchen window and a constant thumbing of seed packets.

I’ve sown three seeds to a pot and I have a plan.

I’ve developed much of the long narrow bed on the east side of the allotment. It will when fully complete, run the entire length of the plot. This was never a planned construction. It is the result of poor navigation when I began turning the overgrown allotment into a garden.

The plot was such a scraggly mess, I misunderstood its width and created rows of beds that were almost 6ft away from the east boundary edge. A long, narrow bed (which I’ve almost concluded will be used for flowers) is my solution to utilising the extra space without having to rearrange the beds I’ve already constructed.

sweet peas in pots

Three tepees of sweet peas will accommodate some of this space and I’ve chosen varieties that I hope will complement each other in colour. Both on the allotment and in the vase.

On tepee one will be the pink ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ and the white ‘Swan Lake’. The second tepee will host the blue and white tones of ‘Blue Ripple’ and ‘Night and Day’ will climb the final frame. The seeds are sown and the dreams of a stunning display of sweet peas are firmly in my bedtime head.

What about you? Are sweet peas on the growing list this year? Have you sown any seeds yet? If you have any favourite varieties, let me know in the comments below.

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14 thoughts on “Sowing Sweet Peas in January again

  1. I do not grow sweet peas just because their season is short here. I sow mine in autumn, and they grow fast, and finish when the weather gets warm late in summer. If sown in autumn they start earlier, but also finish earlier. It seems that no matter what, their season is short. Besides, they are not very pretty as they climb and shed their lowers growth. My niece grows them in Los Angeles by sowing them in October for early spring. They do better there than here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love sweet peas! We had two really bushy plants last year, the white flowers were prolific but the pink, not so much. And they were right next to each other with a young magnolia tree to seperate them. Maybe that is why?! Hmmm
    I have been looking for a fragrant sweet pea to sow. I haven’t yet had the chance to sit down and make a decision. Must hurry up, although your post has made me realise perhaps I don’t need to rush. We did sow ours straight into the ground in Spring. I may do that again. I have been looking at some other climbers for fences etc… maybe I can entice you into more flowers? Google…Sarah Raven half-hardy collection: Rhodochiton ‘Purple Bells’
    Thunbergia ‘African Sunset’. One does look rude hahahaha
    Thanks for the post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I direct sow mine in March now. I was tending to get fragile straggly seedlings if I sowed in Jan/Feb, and they were taking up space for a long time. It is much easier to just sow directly around a teepee.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My fave varieties are ‘Edward of York’, ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘Matucana’, ‘Midnight’, ‘Painted Lady’… there are so many gorgeous varieties!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I usually sow mine in spring – beasts from the East and beasts in the garden tend to get at them if I sow in autumn. I start off in pots to bet the slugs but otherwise no system. I grow them up wigwams beside my runner beans – that seems to work ok

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This will be my first year growing sweet peas — I sowed them a few weeks ago and can hardly wait to see them germinate! Looking forward to seeing how yours do this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I sowed ours last week. I plumped for Blue Shift and More Scent this year, so a blue and white theme – and I was intrigued by the changing colours of Blue Shift.
    I accidentally baked last year’s seedlings when I forgot to open the cold frame on a particularly warm day. Fingers crossed these ones survive in my care!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a sneaky suspicion that the mice found the blue shift before I could protect them. Trying to resist the temptation to buy more seeds… Hope you have better luck this year.


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