9. January 2013 05:32
Having my own business and two young children means I’m always late doing anything in the garden, so it won’t surprise you to hear that I didn’t sow my sweet peas in the autumn. “Don’t worry”, says my ever positive sister-in-law (she used to write for Gardening Which and several other titles, so she knows what she’s talking about), “all is not lost, you can sow them now.”
Obviously it’s more than a little cold out there, so sister-in-law advises that I keep them inside until they start to germinate and then put them out into a cold greenhouse or under a cold frame. Incidentally, sister-in-law is also rather eco, so uses old toilet rolls to sow her seeds into, plus they’re then super easy to transfer when you’re ready to plant them out and the cardboard biodegrades nicely.
I asked whether it was safe to put anything out into my slug and snail infested garden, but apparently at this time of the year, it’s mice you have to worry about, not our slimy garden friends. Mice love sweet pea seeds, so if you have a problem with them – I saw one in my garden only this morning – soak your seeds in paraffin or seaweed fertiliser, which mice definitely don’t like.
Once your seeds start to germinate, pinch out the growing tip to encourage side growth. Then all you’ve got to do is wait for the warmer weather to plant them out, April/May should do it for spring sown sweet peas. I plant mine around our Classic and Tall Classic obelisks, they’re wide flared tops are perfect for showing off the best of these lovely plants. Sister-in-law does the same, so I think I’m finally on the right track.