One of the important industries of Santa Barbara county is the great seed farm of the W. Atlee Burpee Company, one of the most successful and widely known, as well as one of the oldest, seed companies in this country, having its chief offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Santa Barbara County Farm, which is located on Floradale Avenue, two and a half miles west of Lompoc, is devoted almost entirely to producing flower seeds….
So large is the sweet pea crop that the peas are harvested like wheat. With the exception of the special, late, and early new varitities, they are cut with a reaper and are threshed in a specially constructed thresher. The new varieties are all picked by hand, for every seed of every new variety is valuable, selling six for twenty-five cents and upwards. Since all the new sweet pea varieites put out by this firm are grown on the Lompoc farm, where many of them are originated, the industry gains unusual importance. Altogether the firm grows and markets seeds for two hundred varieties of sweet peas, all of them grown here.
~History of Santa Barbara County, 1927 (pg 137)
Mr. Zvolanek had many interesting bits of new to relate regarding the seed growing industry in his district, which he says is 160 miles or more north of Los Angeles, and has a cold climate. The area under Sweet Peas in the Lompoc neighborhood is vast, Burpee and other well-known firms having large tracts under cultivation.
When one hears of soil so good and so deep that crops require no manure or fertilizer whatever, and, despite the fact that for six months or so not a wet day hinders work, the root run remains beautifully moist, he begins to understand how it is that the California Seed Growers can own and work such large farms and produce seeds on such a huge scale.
~ Horticulture, v.32 (1920) pg 320 – image 404