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13/01/2014 at 23:57

HI David its Debra will be needing your advice soon.It is almost time to start my sweet peas.May I add that your advice was always given most graciously,speedy and helpful. Will speak soon!

14/01/2014 at 19:35

Hi, Debra....always ready & willing to offer what help I can.

14/01/2014 at 20:35

I didn't grow sweet peas last year and missed them.  I like to grow them in one colour and by mid summer I have a wigwam of white flowers and another of red.   Always go for scented too. 

As an experiment I compared autumn with spring sown sweet peas for a few years and I concluded early spring sown were best.  They grew without any check in growth.  Autumn sown seemed to produce more foliage too...??  

I always pinch back shoots.....does anyone find this makes a real difference though?  

Far from an expert on sweet peas....know nothing of varieties, for example.....but usually germination is rapid without any form of chitting, etc.

What do you all think are the best scented varieties?

14/01/2014 at 21:24

Forgive me please.  Being a new boy on the forum, I am attempting browse as many threads as possible.  Sad to say.  My eyesight is giving me hell at the moment, so time spent reading is very limited.

I spotted David K's post on Lathyrus.  Sweet peas.  Immediately my mind flashed back many years.  During my early days in horticulture and advanced studies.  Some of the 'Expert Advice' of the day.  To grow sweet peas. Take out a trench two spades wide and a spit deep.  Lay down a good amount of horse hair.  In brckets.  This can be reclaimed form old armchairs and sofas.  Tell that to todays gardeners.  They will probably end up with tears of laughter............running down their legs  Just a thought from the past,.

14/01/2014 at 21:38

grandad started his seeds off in 10s of woodbine  packets . nowt else will do lad .

15/01/2014 at 10:36

Verdun - The main advantage of autumn sown sweet peas is the fact that they produce blooms much earlier (mid to late May) than those sown at other times.....although they do cease flowering earlier too.

Re fragrance, (as with roses) the older varieties such as Spencer's have the strongest scent.

26/01/2014 at 12:11
Hi everyone, I've gone back to the beginning of the thread and read as many posts as possible. Some very very useful info, thank you David. Now I'm worrying I've done wrong and wish I knew about this thread earlier. But I do know why my Sweet Peas always end up 'leggy' so will be trying to avoid that mistake.

I planted mine last week, not expensive fancy ones, just some from Wilkinsons, just to see if I could do better than previous years without spending a fortune! I did however use JI seed compost, which I never have done before. They are planted in paper pots that I made and they are now sat on the windowsill in my back from where it is probably about 17c during the day until we put the wood burner on.

So a couple of questions, when they germinate should I move them to the greenhouse (unheated and I have no cold frame) or should I plant them in the tubs where they are to grow (they are deep don't worry about that) and protect them from animals/slugs? In the past I have kept them in the house until I have planted them out and also sown a lot later, probably April/May, I realise now this is totally wrong and that is the reason for the leginess!!

Also, I think I may have planted them at the wrong time of year and am now wondering whether do plant some more in Feb/March, more expensive ones and maybe as a bit of an experiment - Jan sown cheap vs later sown better quality??

Any thoughts please?

I am off to the gym soon as then have a busy family day so may not be able to respond until later to any replies but thanks in advance
26/01/2014 at 18:03

Hi, Tracy...yes, put them in your cold greenhouse when they have germinated, but try to do it when there no severe frosts......deffo not outside in their final quarters. Once they've acclimatised they will tolerate very low temperatures.

Depending on the temperature of where they are now, they will take between 7 & 21 days to surface.

Depending how these progress, you may well wish to sow more in another couple of weeks or so.

Good luck!

26/01/2014 at 18:07
Thanks David, so I'm not too late/early then? It just seemed that everyone was planting either October or Feb/March. The house tends to be an average 18-20c but a bit cooler in the back room when we aren't in there.

You may have seen my other posts about my current greenhouse coming down (next weekend hopefully) and a new one is being delivered 4/2 so hopefully they won't need to be in before then but when they do go in it will be a lot more secure from mice etc than the current one with no door and missing glass!!
26/01/2014 at 18:29

This isn't an ideal time i.e. light levels besides temperatures, for sowing.....10c would be the ideal temperature for sowing.

I haven't seen those posts you mention, but of course, the mice are really only interested in the seed... not the seedlings.

New greenhouse.....exciting times!

26/01/2014 at 18:43

My seeds were sown a few days back.  Germinating now.

My usual method is to move them to cold conservatory, to prick out into individual pots   In a couple of weeks and to pinch out when grown a couple of inches. 

David, I know seeds should be individually sown directly in tubes.  however, in practice I'm not convinced sweet peas are affected by being pricked out.   What do you reckon?  

26/01/2014 at 19:53
I've grown mine several to a pot previously but it's year I have planted them individually in paper pots. I've also struggled with pinching out previously and will definitely be ding that this year. I'm loving learning all this and can't wait to see some results.

Yes David, very exciting times It is slightly smaller but I will be able to use it without worrying the glass is going to break on me!! Also getting new borders around the edge of the lawn on Friday so my head is getting even more full of ideas, busy busy weekend planned next weekend. Fingers crossed for half decent weather
26/01/2014 at 21:13

Verdun - I sow my seed two to the pot and plant them out without separating them.....this is for cut flowers rather than for exhibition.

You mentioned varieties earlier, my own preference is for picotee types, although it's a personal preference thing.

Tracy - Good luck & keep in touch if you need anymore help.

26/01/2014 at 21:14
Thanks David, fingers crossed
28/01/2014 at 19:53
I have some babies
28/01/2014 at 20:05

Well done, Tracy....into the cool as soon as you can.

28/01/2014 at 20:13

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c186/DavidKnapper/002-3.jpg

 

As a matter of interest, these are some 'picotee' sweet peas I grew  last year.....from the Eagle's ''Fancy Collection'.

28/01/2014 at 20:24
They are only tiny David, just little shoots and not all through yet. I'm going to be without a greenhouse now for a week or two but could out them in the garage in front of the window as it's cool there, I just need to find a new home for my maturing wine

Beautiful Sweet Peas, I love the colours and scent of them. Pretty little vase too, I like that.
28/01/2014 at 20:30

Probably a week will be just right, Tracy....but remember, warmth = leggyness.

Remind me again, when did you sow the seed?

28/01/2014 at 20:33
I know David, I am remembering that one as I think that is where I have gone wrong in the past, but then I planted them later and left them on the window sill far too long from what you have said.

I planted them on the 22nd in the evening.