How to: make a sweet pea tepee
Photo - Linda Ross
Isla is planning ahead by planting up a tepee of sweet peas. Come spring it will be a towering cone of sweet-smelling pretty flowers.
What you need:
-sweet pea seeds – choose perfumed ones!
-a container for soaking the seeds
-a pot or container to grow in
-wood or metal stakes, at least 1.5m tall
-chicken wire or tomato trellis
-organic fertiliser, such as Dynamic Lifter
What to do:
Soak the seeds overnight in warm water to help them germinate. They will swell to about five times their original size.
Choose a sunny, well-drained spot in the garden. Add complete fertiliser and a small amount of lime. Water the soil well. Alternatively, use a big pot. Fill it with potting mix, and mix in a handful of Dynamic Lifter pellets. Water well.
Tie three stakes together to form a tripod and wrap chicken wire or a wire tomato trellis over the tripod to provide a framework for the peas.
The next day make a 1cm-deep hole in the soil with your finger or a small pencil. Pop in a seed in and cover it over. Place around 8-10 seeds around the inside of the trellis and 3-5 seeds in the middle.
There is no need to water as the soil will still be moist. Do not water again until the seeds germinate.
Place some twigs in between the young seedlings to enable them to reach the first support wire of the trellis.
Liquid feed regularly once the flowers start and deadhead the fading blooms to prolong flowering.
Before the sweet peas die down at the end of spring, collect some of the ripe dry brown seed pods to sow next year.
Isla chose the tall varieties of ‘Mammoth mixed’, ‘Colorcade’ and ‘Old Spice Mixed’.
If you don’t have room for a sweet pea tepee, you could grow smaller varieties such as ‘Pixie Princess’, ‘Bijou’ or ‘Explorer’ in pots, window boxes or borders.