Sweet peas are a gardener's favorite, reminiscent of old-fashioned landscapes and the English countryside. Growing sweet peas requires little effort, and before you know it, the graceful vines and tendrils will be winding around a fence or growing up a trellis. Sweet peas, available in a wide variety of delicate pastel colors, can be planted directly in the garden or started indoors for an early jump on the spring.
Purchase a packet of sweet peas seeds. Read the label on the packet, and consider what type of sweet peas are best for your garden. If you want a smaller, more compact plant, or if you don't have room for sweet peas to climb, purchase a dwarf variety.
Prepare the soil before you plant the sweet pea seeds. Hoe out any weeds. Loosen 10 to 12 inches of soil, and rake in some manure or compost. Sweet peas grow best in sun or partial shade.
Use the corner of a hoe to create a shallow furrow, and plant the sweet pea seeds 2 to 3 inches apart and about 1 inch deep. This will probably create a very thick row of plants, but it's better to have too many than too few. They will be thinned later. If you've planted non-dwarf varieties and the sweet peas aren't planted next to a fence or trellis, construct a support with stakes and bird netting or string.
Cover the sweet pea seeds carefully with your hand, using just enough soil to level out the furrows. Water the sweet pea patch with a hose with a light spray attachment, or with a sprinkling can. A strong stream of water will wash away the seeds.
Thin the sweet pea seedlings when they reach about 4 inches high. Remove the weaker seedlings until the healthy seedlings are about 5 or 6 inches apart. Continue to water the sweet peas regularly, and don't let the soil dry out.