Planting Sweet Peas

Sharon Hanna finds a sweet surprise in her garden.

Credit: Sharon Hanna

Sweet peas are extremely hardy

What are these poor scraggly little things, you might well ask?

These are sweet peas, planted in the fall. Plunked into the old whiskey barrel and forgotten. Lo and behold, sometime in December, they managed to sprout up and now they sit shivering, but alive, in spite of snow and even minus 10 or more with the wind chill. Obviously, they are extremely hardy, preferring cool temperatures to overly warm.

Usually, you would plant sweet peas in spring, but for those who want to try it (on the West Coast only… wouldn’t work in Calgary), just sow the seeds any time when you are planting bulbs like tulips or daffodils or garlic. October 15 is perfect, or sometime around there. Sweet peas like lots of organic matter like manure or compost underneath them – a good five or six inches will keep them flowering until frost.

You can use recently saved seed too, if you like. In other words, seed just harvested in fall from your summer-cropping sweet peas.

I’ll topdress these poor seedlings with some leaves and a bit of compost now, then report back in a little while to see how things are progressing!