The Sweet Pea Experiment

I like flowers. I do. The fact that, in the two years we’ve lived here, I’ve planted almost no ornamentals, should not be construed to mean that I’m opposed to them.

But most of my interest in flowers has been pushed aside in our current focus on Things You Can Eat. I simply haven’t been able to justify using my garden time (already limited) on things that can’t be consumed.

Last fall, though, I had an idea. I had some lovely, fragrant overwintering sweet peas and was trying to figure out a place to put them. They needed a trellis, but trellis space is even more valuable in my garden than other spaces. And then it hit me: peas are an early thing, right? Like, well before tomatoes? And overwintering varieties even more so! Maybe I could plant the sweet peas in the spots in my garden where I intended to do tomatoes, let them grow and bloom, and then rip them out when they were done and put in tomatoes instead. If it worked, it seemed like a brilliant double use of the space.

So I tried it. I planted carrots in long rows to the front and back of my tomato spaces, and radishes in the middle interspersed with sweet peas. Three crops, two edible and one visual, tucked into a space that would otherwise remain unused until June!

And much of the plan worked. I got an early crop of radishes and a slightly later crop of sweet, delicious carrots.

So I tried to be philosophical about the fact that, when my tomato plants were ready to be put in, the sweet peas had really just started to get going. They were lovely, they were fragrant, and it felt entirely unjustified to be ripping them out in huge handfuls. (On the plus side, this activity delighted Nathan.)

You don’t know until you try, right?

And… now I know.

I picked all of the open blooms first, which made a gorgeous bouquet for about half a day until my husband came home, found it too “stinky” (this is the same man who doesn’t want me to plant a lilac bush) and requested that I move it outside. It was still gorgeous after that, I just had to go out onto the back patio to enjoy it.

I’ll have to figure out another place for sweet peas.

Linked to Friday’s Flowers.

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2 Responses to “The Sweet Pea Experiment”

  1. renee @ FIMBY Says:

    oh no! Too stinky. And ripping out blooming flowers – that took guts.

  2. Phyllis Says:

    Oh, I am so sorry you have had objections to your flowers. They feed the soul, tell him.


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