Time to be honest: my 2016 sweet pea project was NOT a success.
I have no doubt that the seed was excellent – Easton Walled Gardens have never let me down. But the experiment of planting the seed in April and planting out later than usual, intended to avoid the tyranny of watering in the driest months of the year, was an almost complete failure.
There may be any number of reasons for this. Firstly, the summer – at least in south-east England – was excessively hot and dry. Although well watered-in at time of planting, the young sweet peas soon yellowed and sickened. This was not helped by the fact that there was large ants’ nest under the bed! I’m sure ants are highly useful creatures, but they are the bane of our existence in our garden in summer. I am seriously considering buying bantams to compensate, or perhaps guinea fowl.
Later, the plants were blighted by greenfly aphids, too – perhaps encouraged by the ants, which ‘farm‘ them.
There is also a saying that you can’t grow new peas on old sticks. The home-grown hazel poles I use to make my sweet pea wigwams are about three years old now, and I wonder whether there may be some basis in the adage – there usually is, I find.
After this initial shaky start and all the
very judicious watering I could manage, the plants picked up a little, but have never produced any kind of profusion of either leaf or flower. They have remained sickly-looking and spindly, with the flowers suffering from the attentions of the aphids.
Sadly, although this method had been recommended, I cannot add my support to it.
But, hope springs eternal. I have some of the Easton Walled Gardens seed left over and have ordered more from Sarah Raven. Next month I shall plant these, three to a large pot, over-winter them in the greenhouse, and plant out at the conventional time next spring.
That’s the great thing about gardening – there’s always a chance for a fresh start.
© Lipgloss and Wellies 2016