London (change)
16/05/2014 at 11:43

Glad you managed to post it on this thread Clive, I'm sure David will know the answer as I said on your OP 

16/05/2014 at 19:04

Hello, Clive….sorry you find yourself in this situation (as if weddings aren’t stressful enough at the best of times). It’s easy to be clever with the benefit of hindsight, but I feel you could have been where you wanted to be with this, without the poly-tunnel. Had your seed been sown last October & overwintered in a coldframe, then planted out in mid-March, They would have been on schedule for your late June wedding.

Not sure I would be keen on your plan to cut off their heads. If they have only started to flower recently, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be in their prime by late June…I base this on the fact that when my own start flowering in mid-May, they are at their best in mid-July…..8 weeks approx. Certainly be diligent by cutting regularly until the big day.

The shorter stems you fear should not be a problem before early August.

Hope this helps.


16/05/2014 at 19:11

For he record, Monty will be planting out his March sown sweet peas in tonight's GW (guess he will be cutting in late July) this coincides with my cutting the first flowers from my October sown seed.

I post this to illustrate that there are advantages to sowing your seed in the autumn.

16/05/2014 at 19:24




17/05/2014 at 08:55

Thanks David will hope for the best although not too sure what will happen when they run out of frame. Will definitely try an autumn sowing using some seed from your suppliers for next year. I grow sweet peas every year but outside, the tunnel has been a new experience. It's been interesting reading how you get the show standard results and will look forward to next year. 

17/05/2014 at 09:29

Clive, I have to say that on this occasion, your poly-tunnel isn't doing your any favours. When I said in my previous message that your flowers should be alright for the big day, I was thinking more along the lines of them being outside.....of course, your poly-tunnel will be pushing the calculation forward.

I know growers use poly-tunnels regularly to ensure blooms for specific dates such as the Malvern Spring Show and even Chelsea on some occasions and they do offer the added advantage of blooms being undamaged by weather.......but for blooms required between June & August, autumn sown seed as described earlier is all that's required.

For a special occasion between July & September, March sowings would be appropriate.

PS. Would have a plan B.

17/05/2014 at 09:50


The sweet pea Gwendoline grown to show standards. 

17/05/2014 at 09:58

I love that one, so pretty.

My sweet peas have at last started to grow properly  Sowed them in Feb, only a third germinated, when I planted them out they seemed static for ages.

Funny, this thread didn't come up in my email notifications, so missed 2 or 3 pages, just read back.

17/05/2014 at 10:09

Glad to hear your SPs have now taken-off, Lizzie.

It may be worth noting the thickness of the stems on those Gwendoline above (not sure that's the correct spelling, but it's how it's listed in the catalogues).....this is where using seed from specialists growers shows. 


17/05/2014 at 11:15

This is only my second year at growing Sweet Peas, I had a go last year and was really pleased with the results. I forgot how big the plants grow when I planted these plugs. David, may I ask do you think I should take some out?  Or will they be fine and grow to over 5ft?

17/05/2014 at 12:48

They're looking really healthy & sturdy, Caral.

Your choice about thinning them out...usually about 6in apart seems to be okay for cut flowers...if they develop into a tangled mess it will reduce the quality & number of flowers you get.

Btw, they will grow to about 8ft in the right situation.

17/05/2014 at 15:02

Ah, a tangled mess, yes I know all about a tangled mess I had one last year - probably why they only got to just over 5ft. Although I didn't mind too much as they were all white and looked lovely. But I've been adventurous this year and gone for a variety of pinks and blues.    

What's the best way to avoid tangled mess? The irony is that I have perfectly straight and regimented SPs in a pot where I placed twigs as a frame and left them to their own devices. Where as those in the ground I've been trying to push them up, round and through netting in an effort to support...Oh no, what a wally, that's what their tendrils are for!  *Facepalming at my own stupidity*  

25/05/2014 at 19:13

this is really a question for David but any replies welcome, some of my sweet peas have a few shoots per plant, on Beechgrove earlier the chap was snipping shoots off, but I'm not sure if they were using cordon method, should I be cutting out any shoots that are weaker, just read about tangled mess, don't want to end up with that, I planted 3 plants per cane

25/05/2014 at 19:25

Didn't see the Beechgove episode you mention, rosemummy....three plants per cane should okay, but ideally two would have been better.

26/05/2014 at 09:33
I've planted 3 per cane too but not all germinated. Think I've only got 2 or 3 canes with 3 plants. Nipped the tips a week or so ago so I'm just waiting for them to set off at a rate of knots. Are my plants safe from slugs now? Thanks.
26/05/2014 at 18:38

mine are still nibbled and some of weaker shoots damaged but i think that's all they can do now

26/05/2014 at 23:05

Mine seem safe now, I hope I'm not tempting fate and find them destructed in the morning!! 

27/05/2014 at 08:09

Oh goody....I'm redundant.

27/05/2014 at 10:04

Not for long David, autumn sowing time will be here before you know it, just enjoy the rest for now 

27/05/2014 at 16:10

oh i don't think so David, i'll find something to ask you very soon i'm sure, can't have you slacking!!