Seed Packets and Sweet Peas

03/05/2015 | Ken Lain, mountain gardener Flowers, Seeds, Uncategorized

pea sugar snap back of packetOf all the information on a packet of seeds, most important are these four specifics: when the plant blooms, how much sun it needs, how big it gets, and the number of days ‘til harvest. All of that information is listed on the front of a Watters seed packet right above a brief description of the plant.

The back of the Watters packet gives recommended sowing dates based on our average last frost date of May 8th whether to start sowing indoors or outdoors. When you’re ready to plant, cut out the plant tag and secure it to a garden stake. The tag tells how deep to sow seeds into the soil, the distance between seeds, the number of days before seedlings emerge, and thinning instructions. The reverse side of the plant tag shows a visual of the seedling to help you identify it when

Two important stamps are on Watters seed packets. “No GMO’s” means no genetically modified organisms. The second is our “100% Certified Organic” stamp. These are factors that Watters endorses and supports. Verify before you buy,

Freshness – verify your seeds’ freshness. Do not buy seed that is past it’s ‘Sell Buy’ date or older than 9 months since last

May 8th~ Average Last Frost Date for the mountains of Arizona.

Seed packet insideThe inside of the seed packet explains optimal growing conditions, such as how often to water, when to transplant, as well as harvesting methods. Often, Watters seed packets also include the history of the plant, recipes, and tips on keeping cut flowers and harvested vegetables fresh.

Having the right information is the first step in being a successful home gardener! Come browse the selection of highest quality seeds, all in our beautifully illustrated, information- loaded, seed packets, here at Watters Garden Center.

Planting Sweet Peas

Peas Sweet on a trellis pathOne of the most romantic flowers is the sweet pea, with its delicate, butterfly-like blooms and a spicy fragrance likened to wild honey and orange blossoms.

Native to the eastern Mediterranean region, it has been in cultivation since the 1600s when, according to legend, a Sicilian monk named Franciscus Cupani took note of its qualities and sent seeds to England. But it wasn’t until the late 1800s that a Scottish nurseryman, Henry Eckford, recognized the sweet pea’s potential and developed numerous varieties (some still sold today), thereby launching this humble member of the Pea Family into garden stardom.

Sweet peas come in many solid colors, some detailed with streaks and flecks. Most types trail from 5′ to 8′ feet, but there are shorter forms, only 8” to 20” inches tall, that are ideal for containers.

Relatively easy to grow, sweet peas like the cooler weather of Northern Arizona. Sow seed outdoors in early spring as soon as soil is workable. Seedlings can withstand frost, so don’t stress if the weather turns colder. Sweet peas are a great way to start spring planting without the worry of cold spring

Gardening books suggest speeding up germination by making a small nick in the seed coat with a knife, metal file, or sandpaper. This will allow the seed to absorb water more readily. I soak my seeds in water the 24 hours before planting and notice a similar germination rate without all the work of nicking

sweet pea old spice blendPlant seeds one to two inches deep in the garden. If you prefer, start seedlings indoors in a cool place, six to eight weeks before the last frost date of May 8th. Before transplanting, pinch off any flower buds to encourage roots. A thick layer of mulch will keep roots warm when weather is cool and cool as days warm to extend blooming as long as possible.

The best planting locations offer rich soil, good air circulation, and full sun (except in really hot areas where late afternoon shade is advisable). Plant in March for the best flowers. Flowering will last from

Sweet peas will scramble up all manner of fences, trellises, and arbors, attaching themselves by their slender tendrils. Supports should be small in diameter for the tendrils to wrap around them easily.

Sweet peas can be used like clematis to trail up through landscape shrubs that are out of bloom. This creates a wonderful floral combo that spices up otherwise boring landscapes. Since sweet peas are annuals, they won’t accumulate a mass of vines from year to year to overwhelm their shrub “host.”

When trained up bean teepees in the vegetable garden sweet peas add an element of beauty and attract pollinators, which will benefit your fruit and veggie plants.

Sweet peas make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers. With their heavenly scent, a handful in a small vase brings a room the romance of a cottage garden. Regularly cutting flowers encourages more

Until next week, I’ll see you in the garden center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or Facebook page .

2 Replies to “Seed Packets and Sweet Peas”

  1. Where should I store left-over vegetable seed? Is the refrigerator a good bet for storage?

    1. I would recommend a cool, dry place preferably out of direct light. I wouldn’t suggest the refrigerator because the cold and dampness might cause them to mold.

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