I've grown Sweet peas for many years. I love them, but while i've always managed a few jam jars of scented flowers I have to admit that i haven't always been completely successful at growing to cover the full season. Plus as a flower farmer, even when i've grown them, i havn't always made enough money from them to make them worthwhile.
Last year though after 4 years of trialling, they were great. Starting flowering in late April, and continuing on until September, with just a slight lull at the end of June, so i'm trying to copy everything for this year, to try and get good results again.
The first Sweet peas that will flower this season are the Winter Sunshine variety Opal. These are special varieties that can start flowering when only getting 10 hours of sunlight. Whereas the summer Spencer varieties need at least 12-14 hours of light.
I've tried several of the winter sunshine colours, but Opal,which is a pearlescent pink, is the strongest and longest stemmed variety.
This picture is of Opal last year on the 2nd May by which point I was picking a bunch like this 3 times a week from 40 plants. Below is my tray of Opal Sweet pea plants just before Christmas that i've just planted out in the greenhouse. These were sown on 9th October. Plus the greenhouse that we've planted them in (and the "help" I had to get the support netting in place) I've also got some of the winter variety Oyama's purple which i haven't grown for a few years, and i'll add just a few of them in with the Opal.
Also sown in October were my (hopefully) June flowering Sweet peas that will take over from the Opal. These are a Grandiflora variety called April in Paris. They flowered brilliantly for me last year at the Allotment, and the other Grandiflora varieties that i planted for a June wedding last year, were flowering perfectly, so fingers crossed. They will be planted outside at the beginning of March.
So now these greenhouse ones are planted, - what about my sowing schedule? for the rest of the season? Last year i sowed in January, March and April. That's what I plan to do this year too. I've got varieties Anniversary, (pink) Invicta (white) Windsor (Maroon) - all tried and tested. Plus i've got 3 varieties of blue, Just Julia, Top Hat and Heathcliff. I'll let you know how i get on.