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The potty gardener

Thankyou for that David- I wait in anticipation. The pic you posted on 21st is really beautiful.

David K

You're welcome, Bev. I'll start a new thread at the appropriate time, with a more specific title.

Here's one to keep in mind for next year.....'Elegant Ladies'





David  as MD gave the results of the experiment I thought you would be pleased

David K
kate1123 wrote (see)

David  as MD gave the results of the experiment I thought you would be pleased


Well in fairness, Kate. I did say "However, (having dismissed autumn sowing as a waste of time) he did have the honesty to show the proof that sweet peas grown from autumn sowings are superior." 

I do admire him for that!

Jean Genie

David - my sweet peas have had it ! They didn't last long at all. I've had flowers for about a month but the bottom of the stems have a bleached appearance and they don't look at all healthy . I have a few measly flowers at the top but they look like they are dying from the bottom. I sowed these in Spring in little pots and they were doing well  . What went wrong ?


David K

Sorry to hear this, Jean.

The truth is you probably haven't done anything wrong. The weather this year has been everything sweet peas don't like, so just hope for a better year next year.

Even professional growers like my friend Derek Heathcote (owner of Eagle Sweet Peas) has had to withdraw his trade stands from several of the main shows this year because of the lack of blooms to exhibit.....this is the first time I can recall that happening.

Although he exhibited and won a gold medal at Chelsea, he had to call on the help of his friends who were growing his seed, to help with providing flowers....and that's pretty  extreme.

Jean Genie

To be honest it's the first time I've grown them. Such a shame as the flowers were really lovely . At least I had a month or so of enjoyment.

Thanks David.

P.S. Your pictures are great - I love Elegant ladies.

Shrinking Violet

Hello David.  I have been disappointed with my SPs this year - the first flush of flowers was pretty good but it's been downhill all the way since then.  I have to put it down to such poor weather, especially here in the West Country.  Light levels have been low, sunlight has been in poor supply with exception of the odd few days here and there, and my plants are now way beyond their best.  Out with them, and looking forward to next year!

I bought seed from a local(ish) specialist, but the results weren't a patch on Eagle seeds.  Even allowing for the poor weather, I have to agree with you regarding the quality  seed (and no, I'm not advertising, just passing on personal experience). 

Oh, well - it's the looking forward that keeps us gardeners young (I think ).  And who knows, by this time next year, I may have managed to complete the move that we had hoped would have been completed by now!  So - autumn sowing it is - and fingers crossed for a better summer next year!



David K

Hi, SV...sorry to hear you've had a bad SP year, but (as you know) the weather has not been kind to sweet pea growers this year.

I'm glad you have found the difference between average seed and that produced by experts like Eagle SPs. I know from first hand experience that it's  an undeniable fact, otherewise I would not said so.

Enjoy your bank holiday.

Shrinking Violet

Thanks David.  Bank Holiday?  Looks a bit (more) waterlogged down here.  Again. 

David K

This is a hanging basket sweet pea to keep in mind for next year.



 For the record, I've found sowing the seed directly into the baskets has worked best for me.

Some good news on powdery mildew! MILK SOLUTION stops the spread of PM and enables new growth (also deals with aphids that attack plants weakened by PM). Pick off the worst affected leaves, douse the rest in milk solution - 1 part milk, 9 parts water (or 1:4 if its really bad) - use in bright sunlight for best results. Skimmed milk is best (less smell and the fat isn't necessary). Milk acts as an antibiotic and also feeds the plant. Its cheap and easy and doesn't harm beneficial insects. After two treatments, my sweet peas are looking much healthier and have put out new shoots. 

Potassium permaganate soution will actually cure PM but is harder to get hold of. 

flowering rose

is better to sow sweet peas in autumn ?the ones I sowed this year in the spring were very straggly and eventually disappeared.

David K
flowering rose wrote (see)

is better to sow sweet peas in autumn ?the ones I sowed this year in the spring were very straggly and eventually disappeared.


Generally I think plants from autumn sown sweet peas are more hardy &  robust for having survived the winter and go to produce better results.

hollie hock

My sweet peas did very poorly this year- they were all Spring sown but the lack of Summer  played a major part in their performance. Late flowering & then covered with greenfly. They did a lot better last year.

I will be giving an Autumn sowing a go again this year. Last year all my Jillies got eaten, I thought at the time by small black flies. Now I know it was the slugs

Pat12- I've never heard of that compound before- did a quick google. No wonder it's harder to get hold of, wouldn't want to use that anywhere in my garden. In no way am I a chemist but that compound is really strong.........I think that it would kill/damage a lot. Not for me.


Hi Hollie-Hock - just for the record, p/permangante is actually an organic gardening method - I found it in my old fashioned organic gardening book by Lawrence D Hill - he's v strict about his organic methods, ones that don't harm beneficial insects etc and knows his stuff. Altho I agree that it sounds drastic! Its also used for some skin conditions as a mild antiseptic. 

But as the milk solution is a quick and easy way to put the PM on hold at least, I haven't tried the p/permang. 

But autumn sowing also helps with PM resistance, apparently. 

Well I'm just about to order seeds from Eagle as recommended, going to autumn sow some as well! I see from their website that they do 3 sowings...Sept, Jan and April. Any thoughts on this David?
BTW just pulled up this year's lot, even though flowering still (just) the stems were too short to be much use in the house, the greenfly were crawling all over them and the bases starting to look mildewed. But they will come back in the garden in another form, hopefully to help feed next year's.
David K

Figrat - believe it or not I've only ever visited the Eagle website a couple times before today. Anyway, prompted by your words  'I see from their website that they do 3 sowings...Sept, Jan and April. Any thoughts on this David?' , I've just taken a peek.

All I see is 'sow from October through to December' and personally I wouldn't recommend sowing in September. 

David K

Hi, Pat 12. You say 'But autumn sowing also helps with PM resistance, apparently.' 

Well not as does help inasmuch as autumn sown sweet peas flower much earlier than those sown at other times. Powdery Mildew usually makes its appearance it late summer, thus affecting later sowings more severely.


HI David, here's the Eagle Seeds stuff re sowing times. But I think it's maybe more appropriate for commercial growers? Tempted to try a few, just to see if I can get some blooming in my gh for April...