1/2-1" Tip: Soil inoculant for peas can be utilized but not essential.
Sow in deep pots 4-6 weeks before planting out and keep at 55-65°F.
Sow 3-4 weeks before last spring frost. In warmer climates (zone 9) sow in late autumn.
WHEN TO SET OUTSIDE
2 weeks before last spring frost
PLACEMENT & CULTIVATION
Sweet peas revel in moderate summer areas with nights that cool down, blooming all summer long in these areas. However, they can be grown successfully in the border or in cutting gardens in warmer regions, just with a shorter bloom time, as temperatures consistently above 80F will signal the eventual end of blooming. Mulch heavily when firmly established to keep the soil cool. Provide humus-rich soils and a trellis upon which tiny tendrils can grab hold. Pinch once when 6" tall to increase branching. Deadhead or cut daily for bouquets, as any seed-setting will signal the plant to cease blooming.
Keep fairly moist—at least 1" per week, more during particularly dry spells.
Incorporate about 3-4" or more of compost and aged manure prior to planting. Add lime if soil is acid. This prep can be done in the fall if desired.
Diseases & Pests:
Aphids may be an issue—hose down plants with a heavy stream of water regularly until the pest is gone. If slugs or snails appear, treat surrounding soil with pelletized iron phosphate. Protect sowings from mice predation, and small seedlings from damage by birds by covering with row cover until up and growing well.
When to Cut for Bouquets:
When half of the florets have opened