This chapter started with seed sowing. There is still a process of vital importance to the successful exhibitor to be dealt with, and that is soil preparation.
I am no believer in the four to six feet deep cultivation, with layers of manure on the sandwich principle all through. A good two feet or thirty inches is ample. Remove the top twelve inches and get down into the subsoil twelve or fifteen inches, incorporating thoroughly with it plenty of good half-decomposed dung - horse if the soil is heavy, cow if it is light. Into the top twelve inches when it is being replaced, incorporate more decomposed manure and some leaf soil or spent hops. If this is done and done well in November, it will require nothing more till spring, when only the top should be pricked over with a fork two or three weeks before planting. One great advantage of preparation in autumn is that the ground gets time to settle down. To get a good short-jointed growth on sweet peas, the ground must be firm. Artificial manures are all very well, but a little goes a long way. A little bone meal and a little superphosphate dusted on the top of the subsoil in autumn will be helpful, but more than that I do not advise. If it is not too much labour and expense, the whole plot of ground should be prepared as advised, but excellent results will be obtained by preparing trenches three feet wide as advised above, leaving three feet of untrenched ground between each trench. Rows of sweet peas for exhibition should not be closer than six feet.