Kathy’s Top Tips For Growing Fabulous Sweet Peas………………
It’s time to plant sweet peas again so I’ve put together a couple of tips to get your sweet peas looking the best they’ve ever been.
First and foremost, make sure the climate is right, St Patricks Day – March 17th is the date stated as ‘THE’ day, but I personally wait for the ground to cool down a bit more and plant them later in March or early April with pretty good results.
Sweet pea seeds have an incredibly tough outer shell and they find it very difficult to germinate if just sown straight from the packet and into the soil. However, there are a couple of things you can do prior to sowing sweet pea seeds to give them a better chance of germinating.
The easiest one is to soak the seeds in water over night to soften the hard outer casing. Alternatively you can take a knife and remove a small part of the outer casing on each seed, either of these procedures enables the seeds to access the 90% of water they’ll require to germinate successfully.
As gardeners we all know that we can produce bushier plants with more flowers in annuals and herbaceous plants by removing the apical bud/buds and it’s called ‘pinching out’. This has the effect of altering the distribution of hormones and assimilates (sugars and other organic molecules) in the plant.
‘Pinching out’ the leading apical buds results in the side shoots (or lateral buds) developing to produce a shorter, bushier plant with more flowers and this has a much more dramatic effect in indeterminate plants (where the main apical bud continues to grow vegetatively, and it is the laterals that flower) such as sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) that can be ‘pinched out’ or ‘stopped’ at the four- to five-leaf stage. In addition, the apical bud of the sweet pea plants stays vegetative and will continue to produce new stems, leaves and flowers if the old flowers are picked (or deadheaded) maybe twice a week, so pick them and bring them inside to perfume the whole house.
Lastly, as sweet pea stems grow, train them anti-clockwise over a trellis or appropriate structure.
We have a fabulous range of Sweet Peas in seeds and seedlings ready for planting now. If you require any further information about Sweet Peas or anything else in your garden, please call into the nursery at 118 Macleans Point Road, Sanctuary Point.