Monday, March 19, 2007

Sweet Peas - In Containers!


I have had a long love affair with sweet peas. Honestly, if I could have a bouquet under my nose for the entirety of their blooming time, I would be in heaven. Instead I keep bunches on my bedside table, near my computer, on my desk at work, in the kitchen . . . you get the picture.

The past few years, I have grown them in our raised beds - down yonder on our land. This spring, I want them within actual sniffing distance for as long as possible, so I am growing them in containers on our back deck.

Varieties

For this experiment, I'm trying out the variety "Cupid" - specifically recommended for container sweet pea growin'; along with some early bloomers and an old-fashioned, heirloom favorite - "Old Spice." Very fragrant.

Other varieties that are recommended for containers include: "Little Sweetheart," "Color Palette Cupid," "Super Snoop," "Patio," and "Explorer." The last three are actually nonclimbing dwarfs - super easy for your favorite planter or pot.

I have also grown "Cupani" in our raised beds - smells absolutely wonderful and is heat-tolerant.

Cultivation

I have read that in our area (Zone 7 - with early heat and humid summers) - you want to sow the seeds as early as possible and not wait for the last frost date. I'm starting mine sometime this week and actually plan to stagger the sowing times to extend the season. They will be in full sun - but when things start to broil - I'll move them to a spot that offers afternoon shade.

Before planting, you will want to nick the seed with something like a nail clipper. No need to soak them. Plant in rich soil with good drainage. Be consistent with watering. Feed twice during the growing season with an organic supplement.

With varieties that climb, have fun picking out a trellis. Doesn't need to be anything fancy. I have even just used fishing line anchored by landscape pins and tied up to the deck's railing. Some people use downed tree "branches" or twigs. You'll just want to make sure to secure the trellis before the sweet peas really take off.

My final step will be situating my favorite chair next to, under and around my sweet peas; and spending as much of my spring as possible daydreaming in sweet pea bliss.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I love sweet peas, but they don't grow good here. When it's time for them to flower, the weather turns hot and the sweet peas protest!