Today is predicted to be the last good weather day for a couple of weeks. So, with that in mind, I have spent the day taking care of some end of season gardening chores. I really enjoy growing plants from seed, so the first thing I did today was to gather all the seed that I wanted to save for next year. Growing from seed is not hard, and is very satisfying. The main obstacle is having a place to grow the plants, and adequate lighting. Zinnias are my favorite, or one of my favorite, annuals so I am saving seed from each color I grew this year. Zinnias are not particularly reliable. By this I mean that the plant you grow from your gathered seed may not be the same as the parent plant. I like them all, so this is not a problem for me. If you want a particular color or kind each year, you are better off to order the seed. I usually order from Park Seed Company, but there are many good companies out there.
I have also done a clean-up of the flower beds. The more weeds you pull now as small plants the less work you will have in the spring. I know for myself that the last thing I want to do in April is weed. I want to plant those new flowers. I always tell my children to work ahead and not behind, so I am trying to take my own advice and get rid of the pesky weeds now. After the first frost, which is predicted for sometime next week, I will cut back the perennials and remove the debris from the annuals from the beds. I wait until all the leaves have fallen and then also will add a layer of mulch to the beds. Basically, the work I do this fall will determine the amount of work I will have to do in the spring. By cutting back and mulching now I will reduce the chance of disease and over-wintering insects infecting my plants, and provide protection from the cold weather.
I am also moving all the plants I want to over-winter into my growing area in the basement. I am attempting to keep my seed-grown Geraniums from this past spring, as well as a Mandavilla that Mitchell gave to me this year. I would love to keep my Begonia and porch ferns, but I only have so much space to work with.
Have a great weekend!