CIAR BYRNE Essential jobs for your garden this week
Collect seeds for next year
Saving seeds from your garden is economical, satisfying and means you can grow your favorite flowers next year.
Most seeds ripen a few months after the flowers fade. Harvesting seeds is an insurance policy against the death of more tender plants, such as sage, during the winter.
While species, such as some types of action and Meconopsis, die after flowering only once.
It’s also a good idea to exchange seeds with fellow gardeners to expand your stock.
However, most varieties will not come true from seed, but will either revert to the original type or produce something new.
Choose a dry, calm day to collect the seeds. Different plants require different methods.
Some seed heads such as those of impatiens and viola are explosive – they do this to scatter seeds over a wide area – so place a paper bag over them and shake them to collect.
The berries should be picked when ripe before birds and squirrels get to them, and then mashed to extract the seeds. They should be washed and dried on paper towels.
Paper envelopes are better for storing seeds than plastic bags, which can retain moisture and cause mold.
When you collect the seeds, remove any husks and dry them for a few days. Place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or other cool place until ready to plant.
Pumpkin patch basics
If you’re growing winter squash, they’re probably late everywhere by now.
If space is limited in your pumpkin patch, arrange the stems so no one trips over them.
Being careful not to break them, bend the stems in a circular motion using small bamboo canes to hold them in place if necessary.
Place an old tile under each pumpkin to prevent it from rotting on the ground in wet weather.
Continue watering the plants in dry weather until they are ready to harvest in time for their glorious display on Halloween.
Early fall session
Cyclamen or ivy Cyclamen hedirifolium It comes into flower in early fall in shades from dark pink to pure white and everything in between.
It is ideal for dry shade under moisture-starved trees. When the flowers fade, they leave behind distinctive green leaves, creating an attractive ground cover.
Or you can keep them in containers filled with peat-free compost.
Buy a flower now to plant it. Alternatively, you can purchase dried corms to place in the ground in late spring or early summer when the plant is dormant.
Plant several in a hole or singly. Mulch annually with leaf mold.
Factory of the week
Crab apples come in fall with masses of small, shiny fruit.
Award-winning ‘Laura’ plants are naturally compact, growing slowly in an upright column shape, making them ideal for small gardens.
In spring, the tree is covered in dark pink, two-tone flowers with lighter centers, while in autumn it bears large, maroon-coloured fruit with red flesh perfect for making crab apple jelly.
At the beginning of the year the leaves are purple, then they turn green in the summer.
Like most species, it prefers moist but well-drained soil in a sunny location. Planting trees with bare roots during the winter.
Why isn’t the zucchini plant in my yard producing much fruit this year?
Helen Cleverley, Leeds.
Have the zucchini been picked regularly?
If you leave fruit on a mature plant for too long, it will reduce yield, because the plant only wants to produce as much as it can support.
Zucchini or zucchini are best picked when they are young and tender.
It’s also possible that your plant has become stressed due to the harsh weather conditions this summer.
Make sure to feed and water it regularly and you may have some zucchini before the end of the growing season.
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