A sweet pea story

Even the most experienced gardener, which I am in no way claiming to be, has winners, losers and lessons learnt every year. Growing anything is a balancing act, one that can easily go wrong, or alternatively, can flourish and sweet peas are a good example of a plant that can provide an abundance of beautiful, sweet smelling blooms, or, if not attended to correctly, can provide a few gangly green strings with eaten leaves and perhaps a flower or two. I am going to take you on my sweet pea journey this year, to show you how they survive with the onslaught of chickens, four year old twins and the unpredictable British weather. (See the end of the article for tips on how to grow your own sweet peas)

Let’s get started…
Last year I bought some sweet pea plants and planted them in the garden. All summer the house was filled with their sweet smell and vibrant colours, so this year I decided it was time to plant my own. I planted a whole packet of seeds in late January and here is the result:

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Ok, so it looks like the weeds have taken over slightly and they are a bit dry due to not being watered for a few weeks, but they survived and that is what counts!

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After quick weeding session I gave them some much needed water and found some sticks from the garden to put in for support. They look much happier now but still need to grow a bit more before being plantedĀ out. So they stay in the greenhouse until all signs of frost have passed and they can be planted straight into the flower beds outside.

After a month or so they are doing really well and this is what they look like now:

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It goes to show you should never underestimate a weedy little seedling! I will keep you updated as to how they progress but it is definitely looking promising.

If you want to grow your own sweet peas next year, or are growing some already, here are some basic care tips:

  • Sweet peas love a rich, moist soil so dig a couple of buckets of compost into the planting area beforehand to enrich the soil and help retain the moisture during dry weather. Letting the plants dry out will make them go to seed quicker.
  • Plant in a sunny and accessible position so you can pick the flowers easily.
  • Nip the top off the shoots to encourage side shoots, to make the plants bushier and more robust.
  • When they start flowering, always pick the flowers off to encourage the plant to produce more, never allow seed pods to grow.
  • Sweet peas need good support so grow them up a frame or bamboo support, as pictured above.

Most importantly, enjoy your sweet peas and the amazing flowers they produce!

Read here for an allotment planĀ make a sweet pea tepee for children to play in as well as other fun activities.


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