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)

plants

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

Zinnia’s

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.

seed

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.

seed

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.

Caladium

caladium

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

daffodil ‘butter and eggs’

tulips,

tulips

alliums

Allium 'Globemaster'

Allium ‘Globemaster’

or crocus (just to name a few)

crocus

crocus

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!

Brenda

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About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
This entry was posted in Arkansas, bulbs, Flowers, Garden, Home, Okra, Seeds and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Planning for Spring

  1. Heh…my version of seed saving is a bit different this year:
    Take all the dried seedheads from the flowers. Put them in a bucket.
    Give the bucket to a grandchild.
    Point to a spot.
    Let the child throw the seeds on the ground.
    Cover with compost.
    See what comes up in the spring
    😀

    Like

  2. bittster says:

    Just when I thought I could spend a lazy day sitting in he warm autumn sun, you reminded me of a hundred things I need to do! Doesn’t mean I’ll do them but at least I’m thinking 😉

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  3. Wow! Blessed with garden riches, for sure!

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  4. bhoyt10 says:

    I’m glad to hear someone else has trouble with caladiums. I dig mine each fall with my elephant ears and replanted them in the Spring. My elephant ears do great, but not my caladiums. I’m trying to hold off digging everything up for a few more weeks. My garden looks so bare without the huge elephant ears!

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  5. From one blonde gardener to another: you seem to be quite organised with the seed-collecting. I’m impressed. I also love free plants, my favourites being bulbs. Here in Australia we are in the middle of Spring.

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    • I have to be organized with the seed collection. They take up my entire dining room table when they are drying and when they are ready to be put away I just do it all at once. This is the only thing in my life that’s organized! 🙂

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  6. ChgoJohn says:

    Your garden is beautiful and even more impressive learning that many of the plants were germinated from seeds you collected the prior year. Nicely done! 🙂

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  7. Annette says:

    Seed saving is such a pleasure, true, and the knowledge to have hundreds or thousands of flowers waiting in that little box! I save Cosmos, Cerinthe major Purpurascens, Marigolds etc. Thanks for the enjoyable post.

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  8. My you have been busy…I am running out of time to do the bare maintenance so I will have to skip much of this for this year…

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  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    I love the autumn chores because there is a slower pace about them. We can plant our spring bulbs as late as the end of December and still have a show. Seeds must be saved when they’er ripe but most things can be done at a more leisurely pace. What a fun reminder post!

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