Sweet Pea Challenge: And The Winner Is…

Okay, it’s officially fall. In Canada we’ve had our Thanksgiving dinners, and according to the weather man, the rain is on its way 🙁 It’s been a good ride, though, hasn’t it?

But, all good rides must come to an end, so today I’m going to announce the winner of the sweet pea challenge between my Dad and me. Remember my cheeky post way back in May?

Here’s the photograph I totally photoshopped to suggest this is how my sweet peas were going to grow!

After all, aren’t we supposed to ‘vision’ our desired outcome? 😉

So, I got the seeds going… set them in a container, covered them with water, and put paper towel on top. Then they went into a dark closet, and were left for about a week, but I made sure the paper towel remained moist.

This is what they looked like on planting day!

I had already planted about half of them before I remembered to take this photo!

I ended up with waaaay more than I needed…

So the rest were planted in these round pots.

My Dad is such a good sport. He didn’t think my idea to let the sweet peas climb up the lattice of the heat pump surround was such a great idea. So, he helped me out by building a proper trellis.

Complete with perfectly placed netting!

And then we sat back to see whose sweet peas were going to grow!

In no time at all mine were off to the races, looking pretty good!

Dad’s, on the other hand, weren’t doing so hot. I don’t have any photos of his progress at this point, but he was pretty sure they weren’t going to make it.

So I passed these pots of extras on to him!

One good turn deserves another, right?

While Dad’s were busy rerouting themselves (or is that re-‘rooting’? 😉 ), and trying to play catch-up…

Mine were thriving!

And then I got to make the first phone call. You know the one!

Oh yah, uh-huh…

Flowers on the vine!

Pretty, pretty flowers!

And enough to pick my first bouquet!

Oh, how beautiful they smelled! Picture a happy dance, and a little side-line gloating 😉

But then the unthinkable happened!

Look closely at the stems at the end of each arrow…

That’s right. My beloved sweet peas were grazed by the neighbourhood deer! Can I just say, they ARE. NOT. CUTE!!!

So in an effort to keep the deer out, every night hubs would lean an extra piece of lattice over the whole sweet pea patch.

And we even tried this.

Bobbex Deer Repellent

Bobbex is an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, all natural repellent that is smell-y!

But by now Dad’s sweet peas were well on their way and catching up! And mine, well… I was able to squeeze another teeny, tiny bouquet from them. So, I took this as a sign they were on the mend.

Only now, the tables were turned. Dad’s sweet peas were totally flourishing.

And he was only too happy to send this bouquet my way… can you tell?

It’s killing me to point this out, but his bouquet was about twice the size of my first pride and joy bunch! And he was picking multiple bouquets at once 😐

While Dad continued to ‘harvest’ his crop…

Mine continued to wither away 🙁

That’s right. Wither and die! So sad 🙁 🙁 🙁

Now it’s my turn to be a good sport, and announce Dad as the winner of the sweet pea challenge! {cringe, wince, choke}

Yah, that’s right. Dad totally swept this one away! I mean, look at how high his sweet peas grew! Even if mine survived, they wouldn’t have reached this height, because my trellis wasn’t even close in size! What was I thinking?

So, the wine was on me… but we shared it over a BBQ dinner at Dad’s house. That was the deal. Wine was consumed at the winner’s house, and we all pitched in on dinner 🙂

Of course, when I was leaving, Dad couldn’t resist but to send me on my way with one last bouquet!

And you know what? He’s still picking the last of his sweet peas before putting the garden to bed for the winter!

Congratulations, Dad!

And what about next year? Um, don’t even go there. Didn’t I mention, all good rides must come to an end?!

How did your garden grow this year? Do you have any stories to share… do you battle the deer where you live?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

Hey, Sweet Pea!

I’ve got a package of Sweet Peas all ready to go. But don’t really have a place for them to grow!

You see, our yard is mostly topsoil on rock, and there’s no great spot to plant the sweet peas and install a trellis… that is until now.

Remember the heat pump surround?

If you missed that post, you can catch up on it here.

I was thinking the lattice might work for a trellis. But that would mean growing the Sweet Peas in a planter. And somewhere along the way I heard they didn’t grow that well in planters… So I decided to investigate 😉

And here’s what I learned:

  1. You can use planters, but follow the planting rules!
  2. Don’t put too many plants in one container… believe it or not, they actually need room to grow!
  3. Use a porous container… plastic or glazed ceramic pots cause the roots to get too hot.
When I read tip #3 it all made sense. The problem wasn’t using a container, it was the type of container that mattered!
After searching Duncan high and low, this is what I found today.
Two rectangular terracotta planters at Buckerfield’s in Duncan… the only two I saw in all the places I stopped. And trust me, I searched! All the other rectangle planters were either glazed ceramic or plastic.
Today must have been my lucky day, because not only were these the only two I saw in my travels, but they were also 40% off!  I was hoping to find gray, and didn’t exactly have a faux basket look in mind, but these will do the trick!

And just to give you an idea of what I have in mind, here’s a little staged shot (with the help of Photoshop) set up in our garage.

I plan to put the planters side-by-side in front of the heat pump surround.

Apparently Sweet Peas like a southern exposure, so this should be perfect for them. And since I just know these are going to thrive 😉 my only concern is the lattice won’t be quite high enough. But I’ll cross that bridge if when I have to.

My Dad and I like to have a little Sweet Pea challenge to see whose grow the best. If mine don’t grow, do you think he’ll know this photo was photoshopped?

{UPDATE: Click here to see who won this ‘sweet’ little challenge 😉 }

Do you grow Sweet Peas? What is your secret to success?

For more gardening ideas…

Kitchen Container Potager + Outdoor Extravaganza Link Party

You might want to check it out!


 Photography by Sheila Zeller