Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Pea Trial: Tales from Cally

A number of you have joined in with our sweet pea trial, we have #sweetpeabuddies (the hashtag for twitter) as far afield as the South of France and Canada all sowing now. You can still get involved by messaging us @lifeonpigrow or just by emailing us and we'll add your name to the growing list. We have heard from Cally, based in Bradford on Avon, who has been busy sowing. You can also follow Cally's growing, foraging and seasonal hints and tips at her blog, The Country Gate Plot. Here's her story that she sent us earlier this week. 


How to start sweet peas off on a windowsill.


I’ve always sown my sweet peas in the Autumn up to now. It makes sense. It provides a bit of hope whilst I’m putting the rest of the garden to bed. And, lets face it, Spring sowing is a bit of a frenzy. So I’m happy to have one less job to do then. Monty Don did his own sweet pea trial last year and discovered that although Autumn sown seeds flower earlier, Spring sown seeds are more floriferous. I’m conducting my own trial this year along with other friends of Pig Row – sowing half now and half in the spring. I never bother to sow direct.

I always sow in root trainers at home. In my experience these provide the best environment for a well-developed root system which is easy to transplant. On the other hand, we use all manner of pots and toilet roll inners at the school gardening club I run where recycling and ‘low cost’ is king. I plant two seeds in each module to a depth of 2-3cm in a peat free potting compost and leave them on the kitchen windowsill to germinate.

Once they’re on their way they’ll go into the cold frame on the allotment but an unheated greenhouse or a sheltered spot outside is fine. They don’t mind the cold but do keep the rain off them. Stashed in between two bales of straw with a bit of perspex on top works too but is less aesthetic.

This year I’m sowing four different varieties from Ben at http://higgledygarden.comBeaujolais, Painted Lady, Perfume Delight and Winter Elegance. And as I am attempting to become fully biodynamic in my growing I sowed them on a *flower* day when the moon is waxing.

Here they are on my kitchen windowsill in my cottage in Bradford on Avon near Bath.

Sweet Pea Growing: Tales from Andrew in FebruaryWe are so happy that so many of you are emailing us your story of what you are sowing and your hopes for those seedlings. Please keep sending them in.

Sweet Pea Buddy Posts:
Sweet Pea Trial: Tales from Sian
Sweet Pea Trial: Tales from Cally

We ask that if you wish to blog for us about seed sowing that you let our readers know where you bought them and what varieties they are, unless you have saved your seed and no longer have that information. Thanks.

Opinions expressed here are personal. The seed packets from Sarah Raven and Seeds of Italy were received for free to review. Seeds from Dobies were purchased in 2012.
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