A couple of varieties of sweet peas were planted in the fall of 2009 to enjoy in 2010. Starry Night and Royal Blue were planted under the espaliered trees with hopes they would climb the fence and fill the garden with blooms. I thought something kept devouring the seedlings like a worm or something. Something or someone was devouring the seedlings…Farmer MacGregor. He thought the seedlings were weeds. With his vigorous garden tending, there were only about a dozen vines that made it to maturity. The blooms were sweet and the colors were beautiful. The vines didn’t climb along the fence line as I hoped. These varieties may have been more dwarf like than was advertised on the packets.
I’ll use most of the same criteria used for the garden crops with the exception of taste. Taste will be replaced with scent.
- ease to grow - Fairly easy. The seeds should be soaked prior to planting in the fall for blossoms the following spring.
- pest & disease resistance – The only pest I experienced really was Farmer MacGregor and his efficient weeding.
- appearance - The blossom colors were beautiful. I had hoped the vines would have extended further along the garden fence. It seems the seedlings appearance is similar to weeds in Farmer MacGregor’s eyes.
- production – This could have been a bumper crop of sweet peas; but I’ll never know because of old MacGregor. To encourage more blossoms, keep cutting the flowers for your enjoyment indoors.
- scent- The scent was sweet rather than spicy. I think I prefer spicy and will try a spicy variety soon.
I do like sweet peas but won’t plant them under the espaliered fruit trees in the future. The ground beneath the trees will be kept clear to ward off any pests – especially borers. I believe I’ll use a structure similar to the one used for the beans to grow future sweet peas. In fact, I may try my luck at starting some in December 2010 for blossoms in 2011. I’m only going to give sweet peas 3 out of 5 blooms and that’s mostly due to my planning. I’m sure I can attain a higher rating with better planning.