Saving Seeds for Next Year’s Garden

Here are a few helpful hints on saving seeds for next year’s garden.

seeds- 3 plates of seeds

To save vegetable seeds from “dry” vegetables such as beans, simply remove the bean seeds from the green pod and place in a single layer on a paper plate. Turn occasionally and allow to dry for about 2 weeks. Next, place dried beans in a paper envelope and store in a dry, dark spot until spring.

seeds- zuchiniFor “wet” vegetables such as watermelon, zucchini, or tomatoes simply remove the seeds and wrap them in a strong paper towel. Rinse the seeds under running water as if they were in a tea bag so the seeds do not fall down the drain. Then place the seeds on a paper plate to dry for about 2 weeks. Next, place dried seeds in a paper envelope and store in a dry, dark spot until spring.

To save flower seeds from flowers such as Rose of Sharon, hollyhocks, marigolds, zinnias, and black-eyed Susans, collect old flower heads from plant and dry on a paper plate for a week or two until the seeds can be easily separated from the dried flower heads. Keep the removed seeds on the paper plate for an additional week to ensure they are good and dry, then place the seeds in a paper envelope and store in a dry, dark spot until spring.

Don’t forget to label the envelope with the seed name and the year it was harvested. Good luck!

Weeping Cherry Tree

We had a very pretty flowering weeping cherry tree at our previous home. Unfortunately, we could not allow it to grow naturally due to overhead wires and had to prune it substantially every year. Below is a picture taken this spring.

weeping cherry

Weeping cherry at our previous home all trimmed and blooming this spring.

I was at Home Depot about a week ago looking for shade trees for our front yard when I ran across a weeping subhirtella cherry (pendula Prunus subhirtella) marked 50% off. I loved our old tree so much that I knew I couldn’t pass it up. It is now planted in our new front yard. It should only be a few years before it fills out nicely. Our old tree grew like wild fire. Every year my husband would trim it up so he could mow around it more easily and every year it grew till it was almost touching the ground. I hope the new tree follows in its footsteps.

Weeping Cherry 1

Weeping Cherry Tree
Planted July 2013
6 ft tall

I plan on planting some perennials around the tree either this fall or next spring to add extra color and interest.

Weeping Cherry May 2016

Weeping Cherry May 2016

Here is a picture of the tag that came with the tree. It shows what it will hopefully look like one of these days.

Here is a picture of the tag that came with the tree. It shows what it will hopefully look like one of these days.

Hydrangea and Rose of Sharon Bed

The previous owner loved Rose of Sharon bushes. You can find them in many places as you mosey about the farm.

One lonely rather large Rose of Sharon stood in the front yard. I decided it needed a little company, so I brought 4 hydrangeas home to share its space. My nieces came from New Carlisle to help me take out the sod and plant 2 dark pink hydrangeas (Leuchtfeuer hydrangea) and 2 blue hydrangeas (Brestenburg hydrangea). After the mulching was done I added a cute bird feeder that my mother bought for me. Next spring, I will fill in with a few annuals.

My new hydrangea bed around an existing Rose of Sharon bush.

My new hydrangea bed around an existing Rose of Sharon bush.

Typically I would have the made the main focal point be best viewed from the street, however, the front yard sits up on a hill and passersby cannot see the yard very well. Instead I decided that the main focal point would face my office window. Now I can sit at my desk and look out and see beautiful flowers.

Hydrangeas, The View from My Office Window

The view from my office window.

Keep in mind that flowers and shrubs need room to grow. Plan ahead to ensure that they have enough room to spread and not over crowd one another. These are expected to be 4 ft tall and 4 ft wide. As they grow they should fill in rather nicely.

Update: My mother brought me a present Tuesday, September 24. It was four potted aster plants. I planted three of them around the Rose of Sharon and Hydrangeas and the fourth I planted in a pot that sits on our front stoop. Unfortunately the hydrangeas and Rose of Sharon are out of bloom at the moment but everything should look awesome next year! 🙂

Hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, and Aster bed

Potted Aster

How to Make a New Flowerbed

This is our new flowerbed that I made this week. I chose Knock Out Roses (Rosa Radrazz) and Hollyhocks (Alcea Rosea Fiesta Time) as the larger center plants. Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia Fulgida Goldstrum), salmon colored lilies (Tiny Double You Asiatic Lily), and Stella de Oro Daylilies make up the outer layers. Though I still need to mulch, it looks pretty good. Next year it will be gorgeous! Continue reading below for step by step instructions on how to create your own flowerbed.

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Still need to mulch. The rain came just as I finished cleaning up.

Freshly Mulched Flowerbed

Freshly Mulched Flowerbed

How to Make a New Flowerbed

  1. Decide where you want your flowerbed located. Be mindful of how many hours of full sun your chosen spot receives per day. This will determine if it can support full sun, part-sun, or shade loving plants.
  2. Determine the size and shape that you prefer or that will fit your space. Easy tip– take a long outdoor electric cord (commonly orange) and use it to outline different patterns that may make a great flowerbed.
  3. When you have the shape you like outlined with the extension cord, take a flat long handled spade and cut around the extension cord into the grass about 2-3 inches deep.
  4. Move the extension cord out of your way after you get the whole outline cut, and go back around a second time with the flat spade at a sharp angle to remove the grass and its roots (about 2 inches deep). I find its easiest to cut strips about 6 inches wide and 3 feet long.
  5. Once the turf and roots are removed, hold each strip over the new flowerbed and beat the dirt surrounding the roots with the edge of a garden trowel. This will remove the excess dirt from the turf and put it back into your flower bed without the roots or grass. Pick up any roots or grass that may fall into the flowerbed.
  6. Take your flat long handled spade and circle the flower bed once more cutting a small trench about 4 -5 inches deep.
  7. After cutting the trench, unroll a plastic edger and place it in the trench keeping the top above ground level. Back fill with soil to keep the edger in place. This plastic edger will help keep your flowerbed safe from the encroaching lawn.
  8. Take a hoe to level the dirt.
  9. Amend your soil at this point if you so choose.
  10. Now that you have your prepared flowerbed, visualize what flowers will fill the space and their arrangement. Often a trip to the garden center will provide plants that you were not even planning to buy so keep an open design until after you return from plant shopping.
  11. Place the plants in the flowerbed while still in their pots and play with their arrangement. Make sure that taller plants are in the back if your flowerbed is up against a structure or that they are in the middle if the flowerbed can be viewed from all angles.
  12. Start digging the first hole in the middle or in the back for your tallest plants. Leave as many of your other plants sitting in the flowerbed to hold their spot and keep you on track. I like to dig and plant one plant at a time but in the past have dug a few holes and planted a few at a time. Its up to you. Make sure you dig your hole wider and deeper than you need it to be. Plants like the loosened soil to stretch their roots in.
  13. Place each plant in its hole so that ground level is right at the soil level in the pot. Plants can suffocate if buried too deep and dry-out if not planted deep enough. For best results, consult the plant tag for specific planting instructions.
  14. After each planting, level the soil in the area.
  15. After all the plants are planted, it is time to mulch. You can mulch directly over the dirt or lay newspaper, paper grocery bags, or brown moving/packing/craft paper down then mulch over top of it. The second method ensures the fewest weeds in your garden. It will also decompose and add nourishment to your soil.
The flower garden at the end of the summer. Most plants have stopped blooming now but the garden is still beautiful thanks to my pretty little garden gnomes and knockout roses.

The flower garden at the end of the summer. Most plants have stopped blooming now but the garden is still beautiful thanks to my pretty little garden gnomes and knockout roses.