It all starts with a seed! Whether that is building an award-winning company from scratch, designing and planting a garden (here is my own pride and joy which was just grass only 4 years ago), or watching the miracle of life as your own seedling pushes through the brown earth, planting seeds represent the promise of hope and new life as it’s pale green and tiny shoot pushes through regardless, showing vigour and strength. In these strange times what better subject for this week's blog than how to sow sweet pea seeds.
We have teamed up with a British award-winning sweet pea company to send a pack of sweet pea seeds to the next 50 orders online on our UK website at www.rachelriley.co.uk and 50 orders online on our US website at www.rachelriley.com as this is a perfect activity to do with children at home, whether or not you have a garden. A seed will grow anywhere as long as you give it earth, water, and a little bit of love and attention (much like all of us really), and a recycled yoghurt pot is as good a home for these seedlings to germinate as regular pots (by the way I have lots spare, so if any budding gardeners wants any, let us know and we can get a care package sent out to your home!)
You will receive 12 seeds in your packet. Keep them in the packet until you are ready to sow them as they will roll around and fall on the floor and can easily get lost if you aren’t careful.
If you are planting in a recycled yoghurt pot or cut down plastic bottles, pierce a few holes in the base so water can drain out. Fill the pots with soil and with a pencil make a little hole about 2cm deep and drop 1 seed into it and pat the earth over to ‘tuck it in’. Then you need to water it so the earth is completely sodden. It is as simple as that!
Next step is to put these pots in a cool place covered with a newspaper to keep out the light and be patient for about a week and try to forget about them. Look after 7 days to see if they have germinated, and if they haven’t check them daily, as it takes about 7 to 10 days to germinate.
You will see their bright green shoots nudging up from the bare earth like a sign of new life, and it is fun to see. Then you can bring them into the light, and let them sit on the windowsill and watch them grow, 2 leaves, then 4. Most professionals cut the middle shoot off with scissors so that the side shoots grow bushy, and sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t do that, and it doesn’t seem to make much difference for me. Actually, I was travelling, so my sweet pea shoots grew a bit too tall before I was able to plant them outside, but they didn’t seem to mind.
I built a bamboo frame and planted them out. If you have sown your seeds on a windowsill you might need to be creative and re-pot your seedling into a bigger container and pick up some sticks that you can use for the plant to climb up. You will need to tie it carefully with soft twine to help it along it’s way so it knows where to start climbing.
You will now need to test your patience again, as those little shoots will grow up and up, but they won’t start producing flowers until about July, but when they do it is worth the wait and they are so pretty and smell so good. They look like frilly brightly coloured ribbons, and they smell so sweet that they can make the whole room fragrant. Their latin name is Lathyrus Odoratus which means fragrant vine as they climb and twine up their structure with tiny little shoots that help them cling on.
Happy gardening, and I hope that sowing seeds is a good distraction for all that is difficult in this world at this time.