Plant Sweet Peas

As soon as air and ground temperatures drop, it’s time to plant seeds for sweet peas, cool season annuals with frilly blossoms and room-filling scent. Sweet pea specialist, Fragrant Garden Nursery in Brookings, Oregon, recommends Winter Elegance and Old-Fashioned varieties for San Diego gardens because they are the most heat tolerant. Choices include classics like ‘Cupani’s,’ a purple-blue and burgundy bicolor grown since 1696, the clear blue ‘Captain of the Blues’ and the deep maroon ‘Black Knight,’ as well as Winter Elegance pastels and new ‘Deep Red Elegance.’ Choose a sunny site with well draining soil dug down 12-18 inches and amended with compost. Soak the seeds for 24 hours before sowing, following package instructions. Keep soil moist, especially during Santa Anas, and provide a trellis or the like for the seedlings to climb.


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