Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
But one thing you don’t want to forget is to plant those sweet peas now for a spectacular spring show.
Sweet peas in the fall? Absolutely! In mild-winter climates, where the soil doesn’t freeze, these seedlings grow best when they can enjoy the warm sunny days along with the cool night temperatures. Cool temperatures allow the plant to establish large and deep root systems throughout the winter so once spring arrives the plant is ready to jump into action, rewarding you with bushels of the sweetest smelling flowers to grace your garden.
To help you remember this yearly task, pick a consistent day that you’ll plant the seeds each year. For me it’s Halloween, though Thanksgiving would work just as well. The point is to try and get into an annual routine since spring will sneak up on you before you know it.
Here’s how I get started:
First, I choose which variety I want to grow (my favorite part, next to actually picking a bouquet). There are so many colors and growth habits to choose from, I always try something different so I can experience them all. One of my favorites is this delicious variety by Renee’s Garden, appropriately named ‘Watermelon’. While this variety grows tall and stately, there’s also mid-sized sweet peas as well as window-box varieties, perfect for gently draping over the sides of a window box or container.
After I’ve purchased my seeds I give them a head start by nicking them gently with fingernail clippers. Why? These seeds are hard as rocks, and while they’ll germinate on their own I speed up the process by breaking the outer layer. By doing this I not only speed up the germination process by a few days, but it helps them absorb water faster and increases the amount of seeds which will germinate. The result is earlier and larger blooms.
But be careful when doing this, as you only want to nick through the brown outer coating of the seed, not cut into the tender part of it!
Once you’ve prepared the ground by adding healthy, rich soil and compost, you’ll want to plant your seeds 1” deep and lightly cover them with soil. Keep your seeds moist until you see their little leaves pop up.
At this point you need to be very, very careful as birds love to snack on these tender seedlings. You’ll need to protect them until they’re about 4-5” tall. I use those green plastic strawberry baskets as ‘cage’ around the seedlings. Not only are these cages the perfect size, letting in plenty of sunlight and rain, but I always love the chance to re-use something normally headed for the landfill. U-shaped bobby pins help secure the basket to the ground should a determined bird try and tip it over.
Throughout the winter you won’t see much action from your sweet peas, but rest assured their roots are growing by leaps and bounds underground. This is important, as once the warm days of spring arrive your plants will have the strength to jump into action much faster than spring planted seedlings. Sweet peas with a deep root system have an added advantage of surviving dry spells longer than spring planted plants with their shallow root systems. Hot temperatures are the worst enemy of sweet peas, causing them to ‘bolt’ and stop blooming.
One of the reasons I love sweet peas so much (besides their heavenly fragrance) is the fact that they actually want you to pick their flowers. The more you pick, the more they’ll bloom! So no more guilt about picking huge bouquets for your house since you’re really doing the plant a favor, right?
So when you’re getting ready for Halloween or Thanksgiving this year, don’t forget about spring! Spending an hour with your sweet pea seeds now will pay off in a few months with weeks and weeks of fragrance and beauty.