Planning for Spring

Gardeners never rest.
In the winter, we are reading seed catalogs and planning and dreaming of our perfect garden for spring (dreams are fun)
In the spring, we are busy fulfilling those visions (for the most part)

where am I going to put all of these?
In the summer, we are harvesting and enjoying the fruits of our labor (hopefully)
In the fall, we start thinking about what we will change the following year (most likely)
This time of year, I am busy collecting seeds from various flowers and vegetables.  I am also taking cuttings and digging up bulbs to overwinter and trying to decide if I want to plant more bulbs.
butterfly, monarch, zinnia
Saving seeds for your favorite flower is so easy.  If your flower is not a hybrid, you will be able to get the same flower you enjoyed all summer.  If your flower is a hybrid, you can still save the seeds just be aware that a different size, shape, or color of flower may emerge next year.
The best way to collect seeds is to leave the flowers on the stem until they are brown.
mexican sunflower seed
Mexican sunflower seed pod
Cut the dried flowers off and place in a brown paper bag.  Be sure and label your bag!  When I get inside I get a paper plate and place a paper towel on top of the plate.  Then I dump my seeds on the paper towel and let dry.
basil seed
basil seed
marigold seed
marigold seed
I have even left them in the paper sack for extended periods of time and they have been fine.  When I find time, I go through and remove all the dried petals and chaff, put the seeds in a labeled envelope and seal.  I store my seeds in a tub with some desiccant packets to keep moisture out.
This tub is left in a cool, seldom used room until I am ready in the spring.
It’s also helpful if you know what the seeds look like you are wanting to save.
celosia seed
celosia seed
celosia seed on the plant
allium stellatum seed
allium stellatum seed
Asclepias seed
Asclepias tuberosa seed
Seeds that are easy to save include:  celosia, petunia, 4 o’clocks, salvia, zinnia, marigolds, asclepias, dill, basil, tomato, okra, beans, peppers–and a host of other plants.
We are talking free plants for next year!
My coleus this year has been outstanding and I will be taking cuttings of all.
coleus-chocolate covered cherry
chocolate covered cherry
Sun Coleus
Sun Coleus
Kong Coleus
Kong Coleus
For more on this, see my post from last year.   Who Cut the Coleus?
Every year, I dig up my caladiums to store for next year.
I have so, so results with this. I don’t feel they get as large as the previous year but they do come back.  I know they are not that expensive, but I have so many flower beds to fill, I feel I must a least try.
If you remember anything at all about me it’s this:  I love free plants.
I usually dig my caladiums up when I have a chance.  I’ve heard the best way is to let the first frost kill the leaves and then dig up the bulb.   It looks like I will be trying that this year as I have more pressing chores to tend to right now.
creeping jenny, lime coleus, coleus 'chocolate covered cherry', caladium,  white impatiens
coleus and caladium
Let the bulbs dry on layers of newspaper and then place in a box with shredded newspaper.  Store in  dark, cool closet.
Other bulbs to dig up (but I won’t make you) are:  elephant ears, dahlias, canna and pineapple lilies and any other tropical bulbs you planted in the spring.
If you are wanting flowers like daffodils,
daffodil ‘butter and eggs’
Allium 'Globemaster'
Allium ‘Globemaster’
or crocus (just to name a few)
these need to be planted soon.
I know you can pick up bulbs at the big box stores, but I like trying unique varieties and these can be found at my favorite bulb stores listed below.
Old House Gardens
John Scheepers
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
The bad thing about planting bulbs in the fall is waiting until spring to see the effects of your plantings.  But the great thing about these bulbs is they usually multiply quickly and when you divide them in a few years, you are getting more free plants.
And I’m all about free plants!