There is an excellent article in the October edition of Gardeners’ World magazine by Monty Don entitled “Sweet Smell of Success” If there is one thing both Anne and I agree on is that it takes a lot to beat the sheer enjoyment of growing sweet peas – we love them!
Monty reports on his unscientific test on when and where to plant them. For us though it will be the usual. Sowing seed in October and planting out when the weather improves in spring. Last year I actually kept mine in pots so I could position them near the kitchen window so I could enjoy their display throughout the summer. This year due to other projects we didn’t get around to growing any and from what I’ve heard and read from other gardeners it hasn’t been a great year for sweet pea.
I have taken some seed from my last attempt, which I intend to plant. But I am also going to try some others. In particular I am looking forward to trying one from where I work at Spalding Plant and Bulb company called Lathyrus Odoratus or better known as Sweet Pea “Old Time” it is known for being a vigorous climber and also has the advantage of a delightful scent which is something I find many modern ones lack.
A good tip I find is to soak the seeds overnight before planting a few in each pot with a decent compost. I will keep mine in the greenhouse but you can use a cold frame. Once the good weather comes I leave them out in the open during the day so they can acclimatise prior to planting.
I tend to use 3 bamboo canes in a wigwam style to allow them to grow up. However next time I’m planning to grow them up some trellis against the garden fence in a shadier part of the garden just to see how they get on.
I was interested to see Kris Collins in Amateur Gardening mentioned this week that he added a bag of horse manure before planting out this year. Well I guess it’s been a while since Anne and I have had a day out together…” Come on Anne, get your coat, spade and a very large bucket!
To be continued….