Journal of a Rose Gardener 04/10/16
This week we are collecting Sweet Pea seeds from our border displays for planting. Whilst the timing varies between different varieties, ours and many Sweet Peas can be sown indoors from October, or outside from March. Growing Sweet Peas over winter should produce a stronger plant.
Sweet Peas have long roots, and are ideally sown in root trainers (tall, narrow pots). One third of the root trainer should be filled with a good general purpose compost such as Gro-Sure All Purpose (50 litres at £5.99 or 2 for £10.00) and watered well, then topped with dry compost. The seed should be pushed about 2.5cm below the surface. The root trainers should then be covered to keep moisture and warmth in and light out. Newspaper or polystyrene can be used as a cover. They must be kept in a cold frame, greenhouse or similar to protect them from heavy rain, frosts and pests. Sweet Peas are a particular delicacy for mice, who will munch on as many as possible!
Once the seeds have germinated and several leaf pairs are established, pinch out the growing tip (top 2 leaves known as ‘the leader’) to encourage side shoots. Once the roots have filled the root trainer, you can plant your Sweet Peas out onto supports (at Country Garden Roses we use Hazel Teepees!) Tie in the new growth regularly. Once the Sweet Peas start to flower remove all dead heads and do not let go to seed, as at it will stop the plant from forming flowers.