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Posts Tagged ‘growing sweet peas’

Sweet Pea Flowers

I absolutely adore the smell of Sweet Peas, it takes me back to a very special time in my life and my Wedding Day, I grew Sweet Peas to put on the tables at the reception, looking back it was a brave thing to do but thankfully they were amazing with enough to fill 3 large vases for the top table and 12 small vases for the other tables, it was a little bit of my garden at my wedding.

Every year I grow Sweet Peas but they have never done as well as they did that year, if you want to grow your own Sweet Peas from seed now is the time to get sowing, there are hundreds are varieties to choose from with white, pink, peach, red, lavender and purple flowers either single coloured, bi-coloured or patterned, for earlier flowers seeds can be sown in October/November and the plants overwintered in a Cold frame, Polytunnel or Greenhouse, Spring sowings can be made in March/April, sow seeds 1cm deep individually in root trainers or 9cm pots filled with seed compost (I like to sow 3 seeds to a pot which can all be planted, without separating them, in the same hole) water and keep at approx. 15°C (59°F). There is differing advice on whether to soak your seeds overnight before sowing or whether to plant them dry so this year I am doing a trial, I have soaked half of my seeds the other half I have planted straight from the packet, I will let you know my results later on when they have hopefully germinated.

When the plants are about 10cm tall pinch out the growing tip above a pair of leaves, this will encourage the plant to produce side shoots and more flowers. Harden off your plants for 1 to 2 weeks before planting out 15-20cm apart after the risk of frost has passed. Sweet Peas prefer a sunny position in fertile, well drained soil, add garden compost or well-rotted garden manure 4 weeks before planting along with a general purpose fertiliser, protect young plants from Slugs and Snails and water during dry conditions. Tall growing varieties will need trellis, netting, pea sticks or cane wigwams to grow up and their tendrils to attach to, dwarf bush varieties can be grown in pots, hanging baskets or allowed to spread across the ground.

Dead head and pick Sweet Pea flowers regularly to encourage the plants to produce more flowers and to extend the flowering period.

Sweet Peas are bee friendly plants and will provide food for the bees and insects in your garden.

There are many professional Sweet Pea growers who exhibit and display their blooms at horticultural shows and events, they grow their plants as single stemmed plants which are tied individually to canes, removing side shoots and tendrils so that all of the plants energy goes into producing perfect flowers, if you want to learn more about this method click here to visit the National Sweet Pea Society website.

If you are not confident sowing seeds Sweet Pea plants are available to buy in shops, garden centres and via mail order although they do work out more expensive than seeds and there are less varieties to choose from.

Buy a packet of Sweet Pea seeds and give them a go.

Gill

 

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If you still have some spare growing space in your garden, May is the perfect time to grow a runner bean wigwam.   It makes an exciting space for imaginative play and is also cool and shady.

If you fancy giving it a go, take 8 garden canes, each around 2 m long and put into the ground in a semi circle.  Adjust the position of the canes to allow for a play space inside and a gap for the doorway.

Angle the canes inwards, and tie securly to form a tepee shape. 

Take some runner bean or sweet pea plants and sow two or three next to each cane.

Water regularly, and as the plants grow gently train them around the canes.

One tepee is big enough for two children to play in, so if you have the space and lots of children why not grow several.  And as the summer progresses the play den will produce lots of lovely flowers or beans as the plants grow!

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