SWEET peas, cut fresh from the garden are high on the list of the most popular cut flowers. It is often said that modern sweet peas have lost their scent, but this is just not true. There are many varieties – and they are so marked in the seedmen’s catalogues – that have a powerful scent.

Sweet peas are really very easy to grow. For ordinary garden purposes they are grown either in a row, up pea sticks, in small groups of say half a dozen plants again supported on pea sticks, or if you want to grow superb flowers, they are trained as single stems up bamboo canes. The last method is, however, really only for keen growers who want to produce prize-winning flowers.

If the soil is workable, sweet pea seeds may be sown in late March. Sow the seeds I inch deep every 2-3 inches along the row. If all the seeds germinate, thin the seedlings to leave the plants 6 inches apart. If the unwanted seedlings are lifted carefully with a trowel, they may be transplanted to other parts of the garden.

Alternatively, seeds may be sown in a circle, say 2 ft. in diameter. Again sow the seeds about 3 inches apart and thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart.

When the young plants are 3 inches high pinch out the growing tip. Put short twiggy sticks to the plants at this stage, and when they have made about 1 foot of growth put in the tall pea sticks. Sometimes sweet pea seeds fail to germinate because their skins are too tough. To soften up the skins, soak the seeds in cold water for 24 hours before sowing. Then you should have a really good germination.

Sweet peas need good rich soil to succeed. So dig the ground thoroughly and work in compost or hop manure. Also they love plenty of light, so sow them in an open position away from trees.

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