sweet peas – a winter sowing

sweet pea tubes gardening blogI wasn’t going to bother with a winter sowing of sweet peas. Last year most of my first batch were gobbled by mice and I’m not convinced the ones that made it did better than those sowed in the spring.

But as the days get colder and darker, it lifts the spirits to plan for next summer. On Sunday, M and I tore open three of the six packets of seed I ordered from Easton Walled Gardens and made a start.

Sweet peas love to grow nice long roots, so we’ve been saving loo rolls and kitchen rolls for them. The added bonus is that the cardboard should just disintegrate when we plant them out, meaning we won’t need to disturb them too much.

When it came to filling the tubes with compost, M struggled with their open-ends. So I took the frugal option for my seeds and let her have some biodegradable fibre pots.sweet peas gardening blog

Each packet had at least one seed more than the 15 we were expecting, perhaps they add extra for the inevitable rodent robbers. It was just as well since M dropped hers and a few rolled under the shed floor. I suspect there is a mouse or three living down there, so I hope it won’t trigger them to go sweet pea hunting.

sweet pea tray gardening blog

M is having a pink phase, so she claimed Miss Wilmott for the biodegradable pots. I sowed Dorothy Eckford and Lord Nelson in loo rolls, which in hindsight seems a little disrespectful.

When we were done, we gave them a drink and left them in the cold greenhouse to germinate. I suppose I could have set a mouse trap next to them, but I didn’t have the heart to. We can always grow more in the spring.

This Q&A from Easton Walled Gardens has some good sweet pea growing advice. I didn’t come across it until after we sowed ours, but if they haven’t been devoured by mice yet, I’ll move them to the porch which is just as cold but hopefully a little more mouse-proof than the greenhouse.

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10 thoughts on “sweet peas – a winter sowing

    • Thanks Alice. I actually think my daughter would be delighted to think that we’re feeding the mice, so it won’t be the end of the world if we lose them 🙂

  1. Good idea. I have tried several ways of growing Sweet Peas. Like you but usually during January.An April sowing or straight in the ground. I also tried another method this year which worked very well.
    I cheated a bit and bought already germinated Sweet Peas from the garden centre. I caught them before they got leggy. Divided them into individual pots and let them get growing a bit then pinched out the 1st few leaves for them to bush out. This was a really good way for me to grow them.
    You have’nt the choice as much as choosing seed packets but I think I will do this again for 2014.
    Happy growing and I hope your little one loves the colours and perfume of her Sweet Peas.

    • Thanks Jean. I checked on them today and there didn’t seem to be any signs of mice, but I’ve put them in the porch now until they germinate. Although I expect I’ll forget to water them there.

  2. What a lovely blog and how delightful to sow sweet peas with your daughter. You’ve certainly inspired me to get on with sowing my seeds which have been languishing unopened in the shed. Best of luck where the mice are concerned!

  3. I love sweet peas. It is lovely to see your little girl enjoying sowing seeds, it will be something she’ll remember when she grows and hopefully she’ll become a pasionate gardener too.

    • Thank you Christina, she was very excited to see they have started germinating this week! I hope she still enjoys gardening when she’s older, it seems to be a family trait 🙂

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