No allotment or veg garden is complete without some flowers and they have been part of the mix of annual sowings and plantings for as long as there have been allotments. One such flower that has long been a favourite is sweet peas; the combination of wonderful colour and scent is just irresistible. What’s more, pollinators and other beneficial insects love them too, so we get the double benefit of a lovely cut flower for the house and a plant that also attracts insect friends to our crops to aid pollination and mop up troublesome pests.
Sweet peas can be sown in the spring, but the earliest flowers come from sowing in the autumn, from September onwards. You can sow direct where the plants are to grow – perhaps around the base of some supports such as hazel or bamboo canes or an obelisk, or you can start them off in deep cells such as Rootrainers, home-made paper tubes or pots.
If opting to plant direct in the open soil, choose a sunny, sheltered spot and scatter some general fertiliser such as Growmore or sheep or chicken manure pellets over the soil and rake in a few days before sowing. Put your supports in place (the height these will need to be will depend on the variety so do check the seed packet) and then sow two or three seeds at the base of each upright 2cm (¾in) deep. Water well.
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