From the Desk of Ed Hume: Sweet Peas

March 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Good morning everyone, and happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Were you able to make it out to the garden lecture this weekend?  If not, don’t worry; there’s lots more opportunities coming up in the near future.  I hope to see you at one of them!

Today’s article is simply a few hints on growing your sweet peas this year.  The information itself is short and sweet, but it never hurts to have some advice, does it?

Hint for Growing Sweet Peas

If you want to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of sweet peas in your garden, now’s the time to get the soil ready and begin planting them.  Here are a few ideas on ways to go about planting them:

1) They perform best when planted early in the season as they are cool weather plants.  We start them as early as mid-February, weather permitting.

2) Keep the spent flowers picked.   If they flower and go to seed, the vines are apt to quickly begin dying back.

3) Plant them in a sunny spot with good air circulation.  When possible, plant the rows in a North/South direction for best sunlight exposure and good air circulation.

4) Sweet peas grow best in rich, well-drained soil.  Organic matter in the form of compost, old leaves, or processed manure mixed with your existing soil is very beneficial to the health of the vines.

5) During the growing season, the vines will benefit from one or two feedings of an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.

6) Since sweet peas are early-flowering vines, they do not require special watering attention except late in the growth and flowering cycle.  At that time, keep the soil moist but not continually wet.

7) Mildew can be a problem, especially if the vines do not get enough moisture.


1) Soak the seeds in water for a few hours before planting.

2) Sow the seeds in a 3 to 6 inch deep trench, spacing the seeds 2 to 4 inches apart.  Next, cover the seeds with only one inch of soil at first, filling in the trench as the seedlings grow.

3) Thin the young seedlings to 4 to 6 inches apart as they develop.

4) Provide trellis support for the taller, vining varieties.

5) Plants can be started indoors in peat pots for an early start.


KNEE HI (Semi-dwarf)– 2 to 3 feet high

LITTLE SWEETHEART (Dwarf)– Height reaches 12 inches

MAMMOTH (Early flowering)– Height 4 feet or more

OLD SPICE (Heat resistant)– Height reaches 5 feet or more.  Wonderful fragrance!

ROYAL FAMILY – (Height 5 feet or more.)


I hope these tips help.  If you get a chance, snap a few pictures of your garden and we’ll be sure to post them.



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Clip of the Week: Preparing Your Raised Vegetable Garden From the Desk of Ed Hume: Why Seeds Don’t Grow

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