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01/06/2012 at 16:09

Was interested in Monty Don's sweet pea trial. I have always planted seeds in September/October, over wintered in 5C heated greenhouse and this is how they looked a week ago. I have had three pickings already! How are yours?

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/8260.jpg?width=666&height=350&mode=max

 

  

01/06/2012 at 16:23

They are lovely Cath!

I started mine in early March and they're not a patch on yours, although they have really enjoyed the recent warm weather. This year I'm trying to grow mine up an old oak tree stump as well as in patches in the garden.

01/06/2012 at 19:16

Well done, Cath and as Leggi says they are lovely.

First of all, I wouldn't pay too much attention  to what Monty Dons says about sweet pea growing.

Regarding growing them from autumn sowings, they really don't need any heat at all. They are extremely hardy and will cope with say -12c without any problem at all....in fact they will be stronger plants if exposed to some hard frosts. 

These are some of mine picked today:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c186/DavidKnapper/P6200028.jpg

 

 

01/06/2012 at 21:28

I planted seeds outdoors in October and have my first picking this week.   Plants are very vigorous and healthy.

Spring sown are still way behind.

 

02/06/2012 at 22:08

Cath and David, your sweet peas are wonderful - I am so envious!    Thank you for sharing the photos with us.   Mine were spring-sown and not even in bud yet!   I shall have to try the autumn sowing this year.

03/06/2012 at 07:24

I always sow in the autumn and am picking the first lot of flowers now. I sow in late winter/early spring too 'tho and this gives me flowers right through to autumn.

03/06/2012 at 07:32
gardengirl6 wrote (see)

Cath and David, your sweet peas are wonderful - I am so envious!    Thank you for sharing the photos with us.   Mine were spring-sown and not even in bud yet!   I shall have to try the autumn sowing this year.

You're very welcome, gardengirl.....I hope it goes some way to dispelling Monty Don's ill-considered advice that autumn sowing of sweet pea seed was a waste of time.

03/06/2012 at 07:33

What a good idea!     I shall give two sowings a try next time.    I do love these flowers and the colours are wonderful.    I like the fact that the more you pick them, the more flowers you get!

03/06/2012 at 07:37
ladygardener2 wrote (see)

I always sow in the autumn and am picking the first lot of flowers now. I sow in late winter/early spring too 'tho and this gives me flowers right through to autumn.

That's a sound plan, ladygardener....Autumn sown sweet peas are often over (depending on the weather) by mid-August, while spring sown seed will carry on producing flowers until October.

03/06/2012 at 08:25

My autumn sown SP's have started flowering now.  It lifts my heart every year when I see the first blooms open.  This year I have grown some in a big pot at the front of my house too.  I only normally grow them in the back garden.

03/06/2012 at 16:02

What a great response from my sweet pea observations. The idea of two sowings is a great idea as I find mine start to slow down by later in the season. Do you have the problem of lower leaf loss and reduced flowering mid season? Mine are in troughs, fed and watered well and they do pick up later ........

03/06/2012 at 17:16

Cath - sweet peas are very deep rooted and the fact yours are grown in troughs may account for the loss of lower leaves....of course the depth of the troughs will be influencing factor.

For myself, I grow them in the open ground that has been deeply dug & enriched with well rotted manure.

03/06/2012 at 17:23

Thanks for your input David - your conclusion sounds correct and I guess I will just have to cope with the leaf loss as I don't have room to them plant into my, relatively small, garden. I'll just have to keep feeding and watering diligently! Cheers!

03/06/2012 at 17:39

Might I ask, when you sow the seed in the autumn, do you keep them indoors through the winter?    And to have them flowering so profusely now, when did you plant them out in the garden?    Would they survive a late frost?    I live in the West Midlands.

03/06/2012 at 17:47

I usually keep them in the greenhouse or cold frame with just a little protection,  though as David K says - they are hardy to -12C. In fact last in Dec 2010 the seedlings froze in greenhouse but still did very well last summer. I keep them in their pots ( one per 3 inch square pot ) until I can get to plant them out ( this year it was not until last week!), but you can plant them out anytime really. They are pretty tough!       

03/06/2012 at 18:04

Cath,

 

That's great - and such a speedy reply!     I look forward to a better show next year, then.

03/06/2012 at 19:18

Mine are blooming now (sown last autumn) and I look forward to many pickings, and the wonderful perfume in the house.  They are planted in very deep troughs, with lots of compost added, which seems to suit them.

03/06/2012 at 19:32

Can I just say by way of indicating just how hardy sweet pea seedlings are....even if they are frozen in their pots and lying prostrate, they will soon recover when temperatures move above freezing again. Just be very careful with watering during very cold snaps, they don't like their roots encased in a block of ice.

I always say the one golden rule of successful sweet pea growing is 'DON'T CODDLE'.

 

03/06/2012 at 20:20

I will definitely try sowing some in autumn this year.  I sowed 3 batches - January, February and March - no flowers yet but it at least one looks ready to start flowering so it won't be long.  

03/06/2012 at 20:34

Likewise, the ones sowned this Spring are doing well but no signs of flowers yet. Sowing some in the Autumn & then Spring sounds like a good idea to me.

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