Last year was a bumper year for Sweet Peas – Gav’s Mum gave me some seedlings from her 2019 sweet pea seeds and they were so good I promised I’d share her tips. I am going to keep it really really simple and not link any special equipment that you don’t need, but make sure you buy the kind that grow tall -one year I accidentally bought trailing patio sweet pea plants – got over excited looking at the display outside Waitrose and didn’t read the label properly haha!
I like a mix of colour and a really strong fragrance. Here is a link to lots of choice over on Thompson & Morgan
Ann uses her seeds year on year so any intel’ on the original type has been lost in the compost of time, so pick a couple of packets you like the look of and hope for the best!
I popped over to visit Ann in her greenhouse and took a few step by step photos of what we can do now in March. (As a rough time line, give or take – Early March if you have a green house, last couple of weeks of March if you are using your windowsill)
Of course there will be lots of ways to do your sweet peas, the head gardener in your family will have their own way, this is just how she does it and she is one of the most green fingered people I know. Her garden is amazing.
…and B Swooooon
- Gather your seeds. Sweet pea seeds are really hard so Ann recommends soaking them in warm water for a few hours before planting to soften them & encourage them to germinate.
2. While the seeds are in the water, fill some seedling pots with compost.
3. Make sure the compost is damp
4. Using a dibber (Ann used the other end of a Sharpie pen that was nearby) make 5 or 6 little holes in the compost about an inch or so deep
5. Take your seeds – 5 or 6 per pot
6. Drop one seed in to each hole
7. Cover with compost and water gently
8. Place in the greenhouse or on a windowsill in your house, somewhere not to hot and not too cold and make sure they don’t dry out, equally do not over water.
9. After 3 or 4 weeks they will look like this
10. Now is the time to snip the tops out – eeek!!! I know it seems scary to snip the tops off your babies but it will encourage more growth and prevent the seedlings becoming leggy resulting in a disappointing yield.
So, here is how to snip and importantly where to snip
Count 2 sets of leaves up from the bottom and snip out the new sprout and leaves at the top
You can see where Ann has snipped the top out in the pic below
Snipping the tops will make your plants lovely and bushy but it feels scary!
11. If you have a cold frame, you can put your plants in there from the end of March/beginning of April for a week or so until the risk of a hard frost has passed. If you are getting fed up with them on the windowsill, come April you can transfer them to a sheltered part of the garden where a frost won’t touch them. They are surprisingly hardy but beware the slugs! We had a late frost or two last year so I covered them at night with garden fleece.
There will be a part two to this blog post as I didn’t take any decent images of how I did it last year – but one thing I tried which worked brilliantly was NOT planting them in a tripod/teepee style, choosing to do what Ann does and plant them in a line. This year I am thinking about planting them in the veggie patch so the flowers will be accessible from each side, although they looked really pretty by the shed. The image directly below was taken on 27th April and they had just been planted, 2 or 3 at the base of each bamboo stick. As soon as they are long enough you can loosely tie them to the cane to encourage them to grow up it. I threaded string across horizontally too and it worked really well.
The more you cut the more they flower – it’s like magic!
Hope that has helped 🙂
Roll on Summer!
As ever, thanks for reading
… up next – Runner Beans if anyone fancies it – my Mum is head of the Runner Bean department.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like a runner bean lesson 🙂
I seriously need your mum to be my gardening mentor. Thank you to you both for the time and knowledge.
she is amazing isn’t she xxx
This is amazing. I am a terrible gardener but think even I can follow these instructions. Thank you! Looking forward to more like this having just discovered your page thanks to Anna Mathur
Ahhh isn’t Anna brilliant! xxx
Thanks Sally! Googles seeds! 🤓🌸
Perfect Sally! The gardens are so beautiful. Thank you and I’m ordering sees tout suite!! Xx
It all looks so easy. I definitely plan on giving this ago. Thanks for the blog xx
Fabulous thank you, definitely going to try this
Thank you and yes please to runner beans xxx
we are on it ! xx
Love love love!
Thanks for sharing.
Brilliant ! Well done ..you made it look easy even for the novices !!!fingers crossed!!!😁
Thank you for sharing Sally. I’am fairly new to gardening and found your tips very helpful. I will definitely have a go at growing some Sweet Peas this year.
fingers crossed for a good crop!
Runner bean secrets would be fab x
we are on it ! x
Love this so simple and easy to follow I grow seeet peas every year but have yet to be happy with my success. This year is going to be my year. 🤞🏻
good luck! keep me posted xx
Fabulous! Defo going to give these a go. Will be just the cheery view I wan’t to be greeted with after my cancer treatment. Thankyou👍🏻xx
keep me posted – lots of love xxx
Love this – thank you so much. Can not wait to get pottering in the garden 🙂 x
Will definitely be trying this year – thanks x
Thank you so much for this. Last year was the first time I’d ever tried growing sweet peas, in a tub in a North facing, sunless yard! I was successful, but they were leggy and didn’t yield a ton of blooms like yours. I shall try again this year following these helpful tips and see what I happens 🤞🏻 x
My sweet peas were a disaster last year so I’m going to be following your advice. My veg all got eaten by God knows what too, so yes please to any/all advice. It can only get better! X
the slugs are partial so they will need looking after when they go outside xx
My sweet peas were a total flop last year….. let’s see what these amazing tips can yeald 😁😁
fingers crossed! xx
Does your MIL feed the sweetpeas with anything? Thanks!
I don’t think so, but I used Miracle Grow a few times last year xx
Absolutely amazing advice as always! Thanks to the family team 🥂 Any and all gardening advice gratefully received xx
Thanks for this Sally. I love gardening but have never been that successful with sweet peas, so going to give it a go Ann Style ☺️
I’m going to try Ann’s method this year, thanks for this!
Thanks so much for this! Can you plant them in pots and do they need to be in direct sunlight?
yes they can be in pots now, but they grow quite tall and might outgrow a pot in the summer – they just need day light at this point – hope that answers your question xxx
Thank you so much for this little tutorial. Last summer I was in awe of your sweet pea success, prompting me to try this year. I have jumped the gun a little & already have some on a windowsill so honestly, your post couldn’t have been better timed. A big thank you to Ann for sharing her tips.
I’d love a runner bean lesson please. Your sweet pea pics are glorious x
This is great, feeling inspired to try! Thank you x
Thank you, will try the snipping this year, I didn’t have many flowers last year! Xx
Love this Sally and yes please to runner beans lowdown – how kind! Xx
Wow I have such garden envy 😍😍😍😍😍