Sowing sweet peas indoors

I like to germinate my sweet peas indoors in tall ‘pots’ so that they can develop long roots before they are planted out. Being tight-fisted I don’t like spending money on commercial sweet pea pots so I make my own like this:

What you will need-

old newspaper

a length of tube about 1.5 to 2 inches diameter



an old washing up bowl or something similar to stand the ‘pots’ in while the sweet peas germinate


Her’s my DIY kit (minus bowl)


Roll a sheet of newspaper round the tube so that one end of the tube is sticking out and the roll of paper projects beyond the other end of the tube. Now staple the layers of the projecting part as shown below-

Pull the tube out and staple the other end of the roll of paper.

Cut the length of tube you want off with the scissors. (I find I can get three 7 to 8 inch tubes from a broadsheet paper). Add staples as you cut to stop the cut tube unraveling.

Flatten the non-stapled end and staple them closed. You should now have something like this-

Now fill the ‘pots’ with compost, stand in the washing-up bowl, sow your seeds and water them in. The roots will grow through the damp paper as the plants develop. In the spring you can plant the whole lot, paper ‘pot’ and all’ so that the roots suffer the minimum of disturbance.

Note – this method also works for parsnips. If you suffer poor germination like I do sow a few parsnips in paper tubes to ‘gap up’ the rows sown outdoors. If you do sow parsnips this way  it’s best to use finely sifted compost to reduce the risk of the roots forking. Some of them will fork anyway but so what, we’re not trying to sell them to Tesco and they still taste just as good.

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