There are some plants I wouldn’t like to be without in my garden. Sweet Peas are right at the top of my list.
They were the first seeds I ever sowed in the garden of our first home. Growing them got me started gardening and I have grown them every year since then. If you are new to growing Sweet Peas then please take the hint from me and have a go! They are easy to grow and very hardy so you can’t go wrong.
Sweet peas are available in a range of colours either in mixed packets or as individual colours. If you want to grow white blooms for a wedding, striking colours to add warmth to your interior decoration or pastels for a special celebration then you can select the Sweet Peas to match your needs.
The best time to sow Sweet Pea Seeds.
If you want the best possible Sweet Pea plants next year then you will need to sow the seeds this autumn. Plants grown through winter develop nice strong roots and as soon as the temperatures rise in spring then woosh there’s a rush of growth and you will see lots of fresh new stems and lush leaves.
The next best thing to an autumn sowing is to sow in January or February. You can sow Sweet Peas directly into the earth but I prefer not to. There are too many creatures in my garden that simply love Sweet Pea seeds… especially mice and voles. I always start my plants off in the house. Once the seeds have germinated the mice will leave the young plants alone.
Sweet Peas like a long root run. Growing tubes or root trainers are often recommended to get the seeds started. I have found that starting them off in small modules then moving them quickly to tall pots works much better for me. A bigger root run produces much sturdier plants which in turn seem to produce many more flowers.
Please use new compost and pots. I love the look of old wooden seed trays and I am committed to recycling but when it comes to seed sowing I have to insist that new is best. New pots, fresh compost, new seed tray inserts… you get the picture. Hygiene is very important whenever you sow any seeds to prevent fungal diseases killing your lovingly nurtured seedlings. Plastic seed trays, modules and pots are inexpensive and available in garden centres, supermarkets and DIY stores. I sow a lot of seeds and I don’t use any chemicals at all. I must stress that in the garden there are always many ways to achieve good results. You may already have your favourite way or sowing seeds. Here’s my step by step method to growing the best Sweet Peas.
How to sow Sweet Pea Seeds.
This will give you enough Sweet Peas to fill two x 2 metre rows with canes spaced at 20cm/8 inch intervals
- Two packets of Sweet Peas each containing 24 seeds.
- One deep seed tray (no drainage holes) with a clear plastic propagator lid/cling film.
- Seed tray inserts ideally with 24 cells.
- A small new bag of fresh compost.
- Plant labels and a pencil or permanent marker pen.
- 24 x 1L plastic plant pots.
- Fill one seed tray insert with compost and tap the tray to settle and level the contents.
- Sow two Sweet Pea seeds per module spacing them as far apart as possible.
- Push each seed into the compost with your finger to a depth of 1cm / half an inch and cover.
- Insert two labels with the name and date sown.
- Fill the deep plastic seed tray with tepid water and stand the seed tray insert in the water for two minutes.
- Tip the water away and dry the tray.
- Allow excess water drain out of the compost.
- Replace the seed tray insert into the seed tray and cover with the propagator lid or cling film.
- Put the tray somewhere warm (18°C ) and dark such as a boiler room or airing cupboard.
- Check for germination each day. Your sweet peas will send up a strong shoot in a few days.
- When most of the seeds have germinated move the seed tray outside into a greenhouse or cold frame.
They need plenty of light and a temperature of at least 5°C to grow on.
- Allow the seedlings to grow until they have produced a good shoot and healthy white roots.
- Pot each pair of seedlings into a deep pot at least 1Litre in size.
- Pinch out the growing tip when there are 3 pairs of leaves so each plant develops strong side shoots.
- When the plants have well developed roots they can be planted outside – they are hardy.
- Plant each pot containing two Sweet Peas 20cm apart with a sturdy hazel rod or bamboo cane for support.
- Feed each week to encourage flower production.
- As soon as the flowers appear start cutting them… you’ll need a bucket of nice fresh water to pop them into as you pick.
- Keep picking and dead heading so that the plants continue producing blooms.
- Eventually they will run out of steam. You’ll notice the flowers are smaller and stems are shorter after about 3 months.
Be ruthless! Pull them up and replace with another batch you sowed a few weeks ago and you’ll have fresh new flowers in no time.
You don’t have to stick to one colour. Sweet Peas come in a range of beautiful shades, some bright some delicately pale.