Monday, February 4, 2019

Peas Be Mine!

Princess Elizabeth Sweet Pea
We are currently six weeks out from Spring, although you'd never know it from the view of snow flurries outside my window, right now, and for me that means it's time to start sowing seeds indoors in order to get a jump start on thriving Summer garden beds.

Last year, I accidentally found the perfect location for my sweet pea patch, and they absolutely exploded both in blooms, and in height.  To be honest, my expectations were kind of low since I'd never had much luck with robust sweet pea plants before.  I had done a little research, and also stumbled through blogs, and online articles about all of the "keys to growing sweet peas" I could stand, and it seemed that all clues pointed to starting the seeds indoors, and not waiting until after the last frost to take action.  The truth is though, for all of my indoor-plant-starting, I found no difference between the indoor starts, and the seeds I'd just kind of tossed out there late in the season to sort of fill in any bald spots.  So, I'm left believing that no matter when you plant, as long as you find your Goldilocks location (and you're in a temperate climate) you'll have a full season of hearty plants, and vigorous growth.  For reference, the area my sweet peas did the best had dappled morning light, and what I call afternoon sideways sun - where plants can receive sunlight, but it's not a harsh, direct beam shining straight down on them, it's an indirect exposure to the sun hanging low in the sky.  I'm curious to find out if I can get away with the same laissez faire approach this year, and have the same results, or if my 6 foot tall, late season sowing additions were just a big, wild, and happy accident.

At any rate, February is an excellent time to start poppy, tomato, and sweet pea seeds inside, if back yard gardening is your thing.  For my experiment, I'll be splitting my sweet pea stash in half, and starting one batch early, and adding the rest directly outdoors later in the season.

Happy planting!