With thanks to Renée Canter, otherwise known as the Girl Who Gardens, for this informative blog about growing Sweet Peas. We love working with our guest bloggers and really enjoy the creativity they bring! Over to you Renée:
There is one flower that is always in the top 5 of the ‘Nation’s Favourite Flower’ but is never available in the shops! They come in a huge variety of colours and with a scent that can be enjoyed inside and out as luckily they demand to be picked and picked and picked!
For me Sweet Peas evoke memories of my Nan, she always grew a row of these up against her shed and when they flowered and we visited she would always pick us a posy and wrap the stems in damp kitchen towel for us to take home.
Sweet Peas can be sown indoors between January and April. They need soil, water and warmth to get growing. You’ll need:
- Seed compost
- 10—20cm wide pots that are 10-20cm tall with drainage holes, cardboard toilet rolls
- Clear plastic bottles to cover (acting like a greenhouse), clear polythene or glass
- Bamboo canes and string for planting support
Fill the pot with seed compost, shake the pot then firm down the soil. Using a pencil make a hole in the soil about 3cm deep, drop your seed in and then using the pencil cover it up with the compost. A 10-20cm pot can take 3-5 seeds and a toilet roll can take 2 seeds. The seeds should be about 2cm apart.
Water your pot. Keep the soil damp throughout, not soggy or boggy though!
Take a clear plastic bottle and cut in half. You then have 2 halves you can put on top of your pot to act as a mini-greenhouse. Clear plastic bags or glass works just as well. Keep your pots in a light place but not in direct sunlight.
Within 10 days you should see a green stem appearing. Once you do remove the plastic or glass.
When your seedlings reach 10-12cm high pinch out the stem. This will promote side growth making the plant bushier and giving you more flowers.
Plant outside from April onwards. 1 week before planting move the seedlings to a sheltered spot outside to get them used to the outside temperature.
Sweet Peas will need a wigwam or netting to allow them to scramble up. Push 5 bamboo canes into the ground in a circle and tie them at the top. Wind string around the canes to provide horizontal support.
Plant each pot of 3-5 Sweet Pea seedlings at the foot of each or alternate bamboo canes, this way you don’t disturb the roots. If you’re using cardboard toilet rolls you can plant the rolls in the ground as they will disintegrate over the summer. Plant 2-3 rolls together. Water well after planting.
Sweet Peas like full sun or very light dappled shade and being watered. Water them twice a week. It’s best to water all plants in the morning or evening and for more time less often. You can also feed them regularly throughout the summer with a tomato feed to encourage flowers.
As the seedlings grow you may need to tie them to the canes or string, but you should start to see their tendrils grow which is how they cling on and support themselves.
The most important job though is when they start to flower! You must pick the flowers frequently, as often as every other day as this encourages them to produce more flowers
Just have a go – it’s dead easy, kids love sowing seeds too and they begin to appear pretty quickly. Here’s a video of me sowing Sweet Peas:
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Featured image credit: Leanne Smith