|Sweet peas if you please !|
Sweet Peas If you please !
(Sweet Pea Contest)
I love sweet peas and I rarely have luck with them This year I will try again and try several methods. I want ot have a sweet pea contest and have people send me pictures of their sweet peas and bring in a bloom. There will be Triple Oaks gift certificate for prizes as well as an article!
Sweet Peas are usually planted in March. Some folks put them right in the ground, others in pots of RICH compost type soil in a cold greenhouse . I have tried both ways . Here is a link to Rene's seeds sweet pea culture. Click here click here for sweet pea culture
Here is another link to a Renee sweet pea sheet, click here ! remember we do carry here seeds at Triple Oaks.
I love the neon colors of these intensely fragrant flowers, but they also come in many pastel shades. The Sweet Pea or Lathyrus odoratus is a highly scented annual of the Leguminosae family. An individual bloom consists of three or four flowers (or florets) on a stem.
Almost all seed companies have some sweet peas from which to choose. Many heirlooms, heat resistant and cutting sweet peas are found in the Renee's Garden seed line that we carry at Triple Oaks Just keep in mind these wonderfully sweet posies need a cool time in which to bloom. They can be planted in our area any time from mid March to the middle of April. Good mulch, frequent watering and soil rich with compost will help insure bloom for a much longer time.
In cool climates like New England, northern California and northern European countries these flowers bloom all summer. In our area they often die out when it gets very hot in July, but a good soil and adequate watering, as well as dead heading will lengthen their bloom time. If you manage to get them through the summer they will continue to bloom in fall as long as they are deadheaded, watered and fed.
They were one of the first bouquets I was given on our first trip to Poland in 1990. Imagine my surprise and delight when my cousins met us at the airport with sweet pea bouquets in mid summer. On our second trip, Ted and I biked around the forest area of Bialowieza. Here we saw beautiful, quaint little cottages built of rustic wood where the gardens were an absolute riot of colors. The cool summer in this northern region allowed flowers that bloom only in the spring here in the Delaware Valley to blossom all summer there.
Most noticeable to me were the sweet pea vines on fences, trellises and porch railings. The colors were almost neon and the fragrances sweet and spicy. They were just everywhere along with poppies, hollyhocks, roses and also a great variety annual and perennial plants.
I have always tried to grow garden peas for eating and sweet peas for cutting flowers. Some years I don't get them in the ground early enough, but this year I hope to start a few pots in an unheated hoop house.
They need good watering and food. I now use osmocote on most of my plants for continuous feeding (organic matter is also of utmost importance with sweet peas). . This is an easy to apply, time release granular fertilizer that is applied in small amounts to the top of the soil. Being a time-release fertilizer, it allows food to be released each time the plant is watered. Water often-in warm weather and mulch to keep roots cool. Pick often to keep blooms from going to seed, as well as to enjoy as a fragrant cut flower.
Try to find old fashion seeds for the best fragrance. Seeds named Cupani are said to be one of the oldest varieties. Father Francis Cupani, an Italian monk in the 1600's was a botanist who discovered them and first collected the seeds. They soon became a favorite with the royalty. To this day sweet peas are very popular as a cut flower in Europe.
Folklore suggests to plant sweet peas before sunrise on St. Patrick's Day, but any time in mid March will do. Just be sure to do it early or the warm weather will zap the plants before they get a chance to bloom.
Email garden questions to Lorraine @tripleoaks.com or visit www.tripleoaks.com