The Q&A Archives: growing sweet peas

Question: This is my first garden that has servived. I planted peas and on the little info card it says full sun, but recently I just lost one plant and the bottom leaves on one more are turning brown. I don't know what to do?

Answer: Sweet peas are an easy annual to grow from seed and you can sow the seeds directly into the garden. They grow best in full to partial sun and in deep, rich, loamy, moist, but well-drained soil, and should be sown or planted out during cooler months of the year. Browning lower foliage is normal for sweet peas and shouldn't stop the plant from growing or flowering. The plants normally drop the older (lower leaves) while they are concentrating on developing healthy new leaves towards the top of the plant. They do like cooler weather, though so your plants may be struggling with the heat. I would try planting the seeds in late August so they will have the fall and winter seasons in which to grow. Before sowing seeds, add plenty of organic matter (compost, well-rotted manure, leaf mold, or humus) to enrich the soil and make it easier to work. Don't give up on your plants just yet, but do remember that they prefer growing in the cooler months of the year. Good luck with your sweet peas!

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