Gardeners’ World fans sat down to another episode with Monty Don this evening. He started the show by planting sweet peas and told those watching at home there were three “critical” things to remember through the flowers season.
Perfect for picking, fragrant sweet peas are easy to grow and can come in a range of beautiful colours.
They can be grown in pots or the ground, training them up a frame for a showstopping display.
Gardeners can also plant sweet peas near a searing area to smell them.
They can also be picked for a vase, and a small amount can fill a room with fragrance.
So what is Monty’s advice when it comes to growing sweet peas?
Monty might be planting out sweet pea plants early in a bid to stagger the harvest, but they are usually planted out from late May, once all risk of frost has passed.
Gardeners’ World advises hardening off the plants by putting them out during the day and returning them to a frost-free place at night.
To encourage bushy growth, gardeners should pinch out the tips of young sweet pea plants when they reach about 10cm tall.
For gardeners who haven’t sown sweet peas, they can be bought in plant plugs.
Just plant them straight into fertile soil beneathsupport, such as a wigwam made of bamboo canes.
Most sweet peas will grow to about 2m in height.
When flower buds appear, it is advisable to feed the plants with a high potash fertiliser, such as tomato food.
Regular picking encourages more flowers to form, so keep picking those blooms for the vase.
In early September, gardeners can save sweet pea seeds.
Leave the seed pods on the plants until they have turned a paper bag colour.
Collect them on a dry day, remove them from their pods and store them in paper bags in a dry place until sowing season begins.