A Fine Line Of Sweet Peas For Cutting, Staked With Hazel Branches
A Fine Line Of Sweet Peas For Cutting, Staked With Hazel Branches.

As soon as possible - in the case of plants from boxes or pots as soon as they are planted out - they ought to be staked with small twigs if the permanent stakes are not available. The question of staking, i.e., of securing stakes is a difficult one in many districts. Hazel branches eight feet high are ideal, or light feathery branches of any other tree make good stakes. If such cannot be procured, the wire trainers supplied by seedsmen can be used, only, if the plants are grown strongly two tiers of trainers will be found necessary, and posts must be put in at the beginning to carry them. The trainers are generally made six by four feet, so that one above the other gives a height of eight feet. It is not advisable to put up the second one until the plants have almost reached the top of the first one.

Wide meshed (four inch) wire netting is also used by some, and makes a most effectual substitute for hazel or other natural stakes. It can be got any width, and if neatly put up on posts is not long unsightly, as the growths soon obscure it. Clumps are easily made with this wide meshed wire-netting. Cut it off in lengths of six or seven feet, and secure it in the form of a circle to two posts driven into the ground at two feet apart. With all wire trainers the plants are helped if tied in here and there with thin strands of raffia. There has recently been put on the market a string or cord netting for sweet peas, called "Simplicitas Netting" and I have seen quite good results with it in sheltered gardens. It only remains to be said that the plants will be much improved, the size of the flowers enlarged, and the number of the stems increased if regular doses of weak liquid manure are given along the rows or round the clumps (keeping a few inches back from the stems of the plants) once a week after the first lot of flowers has expanded. It is also necessary, as has so often been said before, to cut all flowers immediately they begin to go over, to prevent seed forming. If seed pods are allowed to form in dry weather, the plants will go out of bloom in a fortnight and will not come into flower again.