Wednesday, April 12, 2006

sweet peas - planting out

Today was another horrible horrible drizzly, freezing winds sort of day. However, there have been too many of those lately, so there was no chance to hide inside in the warmth and sow seeds - it is time to get out and get wet.
Edward (left) was todays star wet worker getting the wood ready for the new raised beds while I planted out the sweet peas.
We sow our sweetpeas into plastic roottrainers in the early autumn. Root trainers are almost like books of hinged pots which fit together into a plastic tray. The long ridged pots encourage the roots to grow straight and strong and the gap in the base means that the roots are air pruned - i.e. tips die off when the hit fresh air and the message goes back to the main plant to send out more and more roots so you get masses of straight healthy roots without any roots circling round and round. This means that the roots are ready to grow and explore when potted on or planted out. The plants are potted on - 2 going into each 2 litre pot just after Christmas - I use a long pot really intended for roses as it seems that the longer the root run, the better the sweet pea plant - and then planted out in early April.
Autumn sown sweetpeas are almost a different plant from spring sown ones - they romp away and begin to flower as early as May - they don't need cossetting as their roots are strong enough to get all the water they need and will keep churning out flowers until August.
I had intended to sell some of my sweetpea plants at the Country Living Fair, but decided at the last minute that the stall was crowded enough. I shall have them here when we open up again on 21st and 22nd April.

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