Sweet peas – is less really more?

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One of the tasks we (it was a two ‘man’ job) completed this weekend, was the erection of the jute netting between the swing uprights.  This is the first time I’ve used jute netting (bought by the metre from Agriframes), rather than green plastic, having been introduced to it by Julie at Peonies and Posies.  It’s much easier to handle, will compost at the end of the season and is a much more natural colour.

Another area where I’ve taken advice from Julie (and indeed Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers, of which more in a later post) is the spacing of my sweet peas.  Unlike 2013, when my sweet peas at the back of the swing beds were quite successful, last year they really weren’t.  They somehow never got going which I put down to a number of issues.  Firstly, I don’t think the ground was well enough prepared for what are hungry plants, secondly they suffered from lack of water and lastly, something which compounded the previous two problems, I think they were fundamentally overcrowded.

Last year below, in June, and you can barely see the sweet peas to the right of the rose.

June

So this year I have dug out a trench and filled it full of manure and new compost and reduced the number of plants considerably to just 1 every 8-9 inches.  It feels counter intuitive to plant less when I want more, but I’m sure the combined wisdom of the aforementioned sweet pea-aholics know best.

Meanwhile, my pots by the front door look even more sparse, with just eight plants each.

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However, despite my current trepidation about whether I’ve done the right thing, there are a couple of definite positives.  Firstly, I’ve finally freed up some root trainers to plant more peas and beans, and secondly, there are more sweet plants to either give away (sister dear) or plant up in the veg bed or the cutting garden. I don’t think I’m growing any of these from last year, but I bet they’ll still be gorgeous.  Roll on the sweet peas!

6 thoughts on “Sweet peas – is less really more?

  1. AnnetteM

    I really like that jute netting. I haven’t decided where my sweet peas are going to grow this year. I had a disaster too last year thinking I could grow them up through a shrub, but it didn’t work at all.
    Still I have lots of time to decide as the seeds are only just germinating.

    Reply
    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      And I’m in the position where I’m dreaming up all sorts of new locations as, of course, planting less densely means they take up more space!
      But you can’t have too many sweet pea, IMHO 😉

      Reply
  2. Chloris

    The jute netting is a great idea and proper spacing is very sensible. You are doing it all properly and you should get a wonderful show. I’m afraid I’ m still bunging them in too close together but at least I have given them lots of manure this year.

    Reply
  3. jenhumm116 Post author

    It’s so hard isn’t it? I always grow so many and then think the more I plant the better the show, but it certainly didn’t work last year! Fingers crossed.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: The Cutting Garden(s) – May 2015 | Duver Diary

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