Early Spring Gardening Classes
Class times: 9:30-10:30
March 7 - Controlling Gophers, Bugs and Disease in the Gardens (Free) includes a coupon
If you let these pest gain a foothold they are nearly impossible to rid from your garden, until now. Learn all the rat deadly secrets to a disease free garden this spring. This free class fills early so bring a cup of coffee, a notepad and your owns chair and learn how to shoo those pest away this spring.
March 14 – Salad Gardening with Herbs & Edible Flowers ($20 take away salad bowl)
Listen to this class for free, but the first participants to sign up get all the attention. Learn the hardiest herbs for mountain gardens and how to plant them with other edible highlights that are not only pretty, but fun to eat. Student will be harvesting fresh herbs within weeks of this class.
March 21 – Advanced Container Designs $35
Lisa Lain has been creating container designs for decades. This 3 step program puts the floral style back into your garden. The class is free to onlookers, but the first 12 students to sign up create their own design with her professional guidance and take it home same day. Come ready to get your hands dirty and your container beautiful. Bring your own pot, professionals are available all day to help.
March 28 – Grape, Brambles & Blueberries to the Kitchen (Free) includes a coupon
Students learn the best grapes, berries and all things vegetable along with plant foods and an ever increasing harvest. Dozens and dozens of fruiting varieties will be on hand and all the professionals to help you increase the eats in your landscape. 10% coupon off any fertilizer, sprays and pest controls mentioned at the class.
April 4 - Drip Irrigation Design and Installation (Free)
Newest technologies in irrigation introduced. It's time to turn that irrigation back on. Learn the benefits of drip irrigation, the best emitters and parts, how to set a system up or add to it. With the right system you can save water and have healthier plants at the same time. We will also go over how to properly set up and run an irrigation clock.
April 11 - Planting Advice that Works
Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success. This is an information pack class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year. The first 10 students to bring a soil sample receive a soil test done on sight with advice on how to improve the garden. You will know exactly what to do in the gardens this year.
April 18– Grow Your Own Groceries From Tomatoes 2 Fruits (Free)
This fun filled class has everything edible for the garden this spring. Plants, soils, best foods, care, culture, heirloom and non-heirloom plus more. We'll have 100's of tomatoes, demonstrations and hanging tomato baskets. This and everything else possibly pertaining to groceries this spring.
April 25 - Landscapes Filled with Low Care Native Plants (Free) includes a coupon
This class coincides with our annual native plant sale along with a host of other Low, LOW, LOW water use plants that once established require little to no water and even less care. No other nursery has so many native and low care plants in the region with the horticulturalist to help you plant it right.
May 2 – Mood Altering Flower Gardening (Free)
Some flowers are easier to grow than others. Students learn which flowers provide the easiest care color for the mountains of Arizona. See this springs new rose collection with a focus on super easy to bloom flowers your grandmother only dreamed of. Learn all the fragrant details and more with this class.
Of 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, and 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 it emerges.
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, especially when ordering online.
Freshness – verify your seeds’ freshness. Do not buy seed that is past it's 'Sell Buy' date or older than 9 months since last tested for vitality.
May 8th ~ Average Last Frost Date for the mountains of Arizona.
The 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
One 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 weather ruining your gardens.
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 individual seeds.
Plant 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 spring into summer.
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 blooms.
Until next week, I'll see you in the garden center.