HOW TO GROW SWEET PEAS

Sweet Peas are often grown in clumps up tall twiggy pea sticks in the flower border. On other occasions they are grown on the cordon system up single bamboos and are dis-shooted carefully. They may easily grow to 2.5 m (8 ft) in height and should be in flower during June and July. The most convenient way of sowing the seed is to do it under cloches out of doors during October. This saves any transplanting. Some like to raise plants in pots in the greenhouse and then transplant the seedlings thus raised late in April. Others just sow the seed in 4he spring in the borders where the plants are to grow; foi early flowering and long stems it is necessary to sow in the autumn, either indoors or out.

The ground where the Sweet Peas are to grow should be shallowly dug and properly composted vegetable refuse should be applied at the rate of one bucketful to the square metre. When the ground is being prepared for seed sowing or planting a good fish manure should be added at 105 g/m2 (3 oz per sq yd) plus finely divided wood ashes at 280 g/m2 (8 oz per sq yd). A skittering of hydrated lime will be given to the surface of the soil.

Once the plants are growing well, compost or sedge peat will be placed along the rows to a depth of 50 or 75 mm (2 or 3 in) and to a width of 150 mm (6 in) or so on either side, to act as a mulch. Once the flowers have formed, feeding with Marinure may be done once a fortnight in accordance with the instructions given on the bottle. After planting it is usual to stop the Sweet Peas by cutting off the growing point at just above the second leaf. When the seeds are sown in situ this is generally done when the plants are 75 mm (3 in) high. Side growths thus break out from the base of the plants and two of these will be retained. These are generally stronger than the main growth. The great thing is to give the plants firm support. They hate growing up unsteady stakes or swaying boughs, or string. When growing on the cordon system, pinch back all the side shoots as they appear and cut off the tendrils, I Some people keep the main growth tied to the bamboos by the use of wire split rings. Others make loose ties.

Varieties

The following varieties are typical of the best kinds to I grow:

Snocap, a large pure white.

Red Admiral, dark blood red.

Sun Dance, orange salmon.

Air Warden, orange cerise.

Lavender Lace, lavender.

Bouquet, mauve.

Carnival, cyclamen rose.

Hunters Moon, deep cream.

Modesty, a light china pink.

Delice, a soft pink overlaid salmon.

Carlotta, a rosy carmine.

Signal, a bright crimson with a sheen.

Leamington, a sweetly scented lilac.

Duchess of Bedford, a frilly light lavender blue.

Air Warden, an almost orange scarlet.

Red Admiral, a large flowered dark blood red.

Princess Elizabeth, a salmon pink on creamy buff.

Spotlight, an old ivory, flushed pink.

Mrs R. Bolton, a rich rose pink.

Noel Sutton, a frilled deep-mid-blue.

Pixie, a deep cream-marbled orange salmon.

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