Collecting seeds has begun, as each summer blossom dies and produces seeds, you can save a lot of money by collecting them for next year’s sowing or to share or swap with other gardeners.
I cut off the Phacelia seed heads and they are now in a brown paper bag to dry, they are a must for next year as a bee-friendly plant. Being from the same family as Borage (Boraginaceae) I hope will have as as much success in germinating Borage next year as I had with the Phacelia. Nasturtiums are notorious self seeders but seldom have I managed to get them to seed where I wanted them so I will collect them as well. The other bee-friendly plant is the Poached Egg plant, I see the seeds have already started to fall so I have collected a few of them.
You do need to dry seeds if they are to be stored, otherwise they will go mouldy and won’t germinate. Some producers treat the seed with a germination inhibitor so it’s best to soak some seeds to remove the inhibitor, then dry. I always do that for tomatoes anyway. Some seeds need to go through a period of stratification before they will germinate but that can be easily done by keeping them in the fridge for a few weeks. I know there is a method of planting seeds in containers and leaving them in the snow to germinate and I am hoping to try this after New Year. It’s worth having a look at this site for information on harvesting and keeping seeds. How to Save Seeds
Achocha Fat Babies have been so easy, cut open the fruit and there is a couple of rows of large black seeds just waiting for you. However Achocha Exploding is a different matter. I have poked, prodded and shook the fruit I thought was ripe and nothing happened-until I turned my back. I was still determined to see this and it became a battle of wits. I almost made it too but it happens so fast, you don’t actually see the seed. I was startled when it did pop. I heard them hit something, it was more of a tinkling sound which I think came from the seeds hitting either the rustic arch or planters and I think the fruit on the arch at the other side, popped and sent it’s seeds to the pond which would be about a metre from where it was. I was there in the middle of it and never saw a thing! I thought I had the answer by putting a paper bag over a ripe fruit, I clipped it on to the stem and tried teasing it a bit but it remained defiant. Next morning the bag was still there but it was empty. The Achocha had burst open, it must have fired itself out the bag, and still not a seed to be seen. I would need to set up a high speed camera to catch it although that doesn’t help with catching the seeds.
Some years ago I was given perpetual Spring Onions and a Walking Onion, both which I managed to keep going until last year when I thought I had lost them both. However I have one of them and labelled them as Spring Onions but now I’m not so sure. There are little bulblets growing on them and now I think they could well be the Walking Onion.
They are also known as, Tree Onion, Egyptian Onion etc. but when I got it, I was told it was a Walking Onion which apparently gets it’s name from the weight of the bulblets bringing the stem down to ground level where they take root and grow another bunch of onions until the same thing happens and so they regenerate by ‘walking’. Of course if you don’t realise their method of reproduction, it can create a reasonable amount of imagination and hilarity as happened when my neighbour informed some of his comrades in the local pub.
I have quite a pretty Rhododendron in my front garden which has been admired by many and I have been asked for a cutting. This is a challenge to me because it’s not in a suitable place to pin down a branch to get it to root. I have taken a cutting to try to root it and I will also try layering. I’ve never tried propagating a Rhododendron before so it should be interesting to see if it works.
The carnations we have in pots are becoming a bit leggy and woody so will take cuttings once the flowers die down, they should be easy to keep though. Geraniums are usually fairly cheap to buy but you can easily take cuttings late autumn. These are the easy ones though, I will need to split some plants in the garden and I am dreading that, the Hosta is by the pond, it’s awkward to get to and I will probably need help by some male muscle to split it. The other is the waterlily, the pond is tiny and the lily has taken over. I’ve only split it once before and had to take a saw to cut the roots. That’s the easy part but it’s planted in aquatic compost which is unbelievably heavy and being like a very heavy clay, it’s a sure guarantee, by the time I finish, I will have blended into it and could be easily mistaken for the creature from the Black Lagoon.
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