Sweet peas have been a running joke at Pig Row, they grew well back in 2011 and we put this down to the way we decided to sow them. 2012 was not a great year for sweet peas and 2013 was even worse we lost around 50% of our autumn sown seedlings to a terrible spring. 2014 wasn't much better either and this year we decided to just trust ourselves to manure, comfrey feed and manure tea.
After four years we have a glorious display of sweet peas. We could declare that it is all down to the soil prep, the manuring and the manure tea but it is more than that. We think it is also down to the hedges. Back in 2011 we didn't have hedges but had a fantastic warm summer, 2012 wasn't a great summer, 2013 failed too but 2014 was good and we had good sweet peas but nothing on this scale.
The sweet peas here have covered their support, you wouldn't even know it's there and the scent is so heady that you catch it floating past you at the top of the orchard. They have filled vase after vase, though Carol admitted this year she finds them overpowering in the house but loves them in the garden. 2015 hasn't been a great summer, it started out hot, went cool and wet, we have had some great days of sun but they haven't been continuous and we have had all weathers in one day. It echoed the abysmal 2013 and we wonder whether anything would grow but the hedges have created a micro climate, and crops protected by them have grown and grown. These annual sweet peas even beat the everlasting perennial sweet pea we were given, which died! Sadly, even though our field area has been awash with flowers this year, the pollinators have been sadly lacking. There have been some bees but not on the scale of previous years and we can count the amount of butterflies we have seen on one hand. Even allowing the orchard to become semi-wild has not kept the wolf from the door, we are concerned at the decline of bees and butterflies on our plot. We will have to work harder to create a bio-diverse garden.