September in the Garden

When the Ex is over and the kids go back to school, there’s lots to do in the garden. Late summer/early fall is the time for taking cuttings of those annuals that can’t survive a frost (our average first frost date is September 16!) Take cuttings from plants that you really want to have again next summer: that special coleus, that brilliant geranium, that hard-to-find brugmansia. Take more cuttings than you want just in case.

And now is the time to scatter the seeds of some of the self-sowers: nigella, Shirley poppies, cleome, annual coreopsis (tickseed), and larkspur, to name a few. They’ll overwinter and sprout in your garden next spring. And of course, cosmos will continue to appear in the spring for years and years after the initial planting!

Gather seeds from your garden plants to keep over winter and start next spring. To ensure success, be sure the seeds are ripe; unripe seeds won’t germinate. Sometimes it’s a good idea to cut an entire flower stalk and hang it upside down in a paper bag in a dry place. As the seeds ripen, they will drop into the bag. Remember to keep your seeds in a cool, dry area exposed to air until they are ready to store.

Store seeds in airtight jars (baby food jars are super). Place the jars in a cool, dark, dry place. Avoid opening the container until you are ready to plant.

And do donate some of your seeds to the seed exchange. Oh, and be sure to label all your seeds and cuttings. If you’re like me, you won’t remember which is which although at the time you were sure you would.