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.
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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