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My sweet peas, growing up a hazel tunnel with french beans, have been flourishing but now have green aphid infestation and a lot of powdery mildew. Currently I'm wiping the aphids off by hand daily (horrid job) which is limiting them a bit (very few ladybirds in our garden this year). I've seen online a recipe for treating both organically with a mix of 1 Tablespoon of baking soda & 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap to a gallon of water - any experience of how effective this is?  

And will the aphids & powdery mildew also infect my french beans? (At the moment they are looking fine)

Thank you!

The potty gardener

Thank you David K so much. You have explained to me what I have done wrong with my sweet peas this year. They have a lot of mildew and I fear it is because I put them much too close together thinking that more plants would provide a better display. I planted them around a cane wigwam but only 3 or 4 cm apart. Next year I shall space them further apart sothereis better ventilation.

Thank you David K. Very helpful - and next time I will ensure better ventialtion between plants. Would you advise cutting down the mildewed sweet peas? They're still growing and flowering (over 8 foot tall!) so I'm tempted to just leave them while they're still growing. I'm in south Bristol where there's plenty of mildew spore in the air anyway, it seems... 

Jean Genie

David, this is the first year I've grown sweet peas. They were sown in the spring and flowered quite late.  I left some of the flowers on and now I have little pea-pods . Can I save these to plant in Autumn and if I can will they be true to type - Spencer Mix ?

They also suffered from powdery mildew earlier on - would that have any effect on the pea-pods ?

Thanks Jean.

figrat
Well along with many other posters my sweet peas have been mediocre at best this year. David, when do you reckon we can start over with next year's?

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Jean Genie

David - thanks for that . I'm going to try and have a go I think - I like surprises ! Thats if the seed pods EVER dry out !

figrat
Mmmmm. Do you think we can persuade the powers that be to incorporate a scratch'n'sniff option?
figrat
Well it's doubtful that will happen!
I'm on the southern edge of Dartmoor with a walled garden that has quite a protected microclimate in terms of frost, but have suffered along with everyone else with this season's gloom, chill and rain.
Scent with sweet peas is the most important for me...would you have any recommendations?
Miss Becks

David, if I start my seeds off now, should I do it indoors, or straight outside where I want them to grow?