Hints and Tips


 Scattering Seeds in the Fall for Wild Blooms in the Spring:

   When wildflowers are established, we need to only make sure the spent flowers are not cut until the seeds have completely developed and dried.  The best time for sowing seeds is to broadcast them in fall and early winter. This will allow the hard freezes necessary for later growth. I like to keep the project simple so I will go over the area with a rake to rough up the top soil and give the seed a place to go for cover. If you do not get the normal spring rains, make sure you water the area when the weather warms. I had a bunch of gathered Morning Glory seed pods that had not been through any freezes. I didn't give them much chance of sprouting so I poured about 5 dozen onto a wet paper towel. I covered them with another wet towel and set all of it into a colander. Kept wet and warm with no cracking or filing, the seeds started sprouting at 4 days and kept on with nearly a 100% rate. Now, I just make sure that the seeds that fall are kept damp. Some people think Morning Glory to be a weed but I cherish the new and beautiful colors and combinations. Many brands of packaged bird seed has morning glory seed; it must be a filler since no cockatiel, parakeet, or any of the wild outdoor birds will eat it. It sprouts and produces a tiny little white bloom with a tangle of tiny vines. Those I would call weeds. 

   Some people consider morning glories to be a pest but after I had planted many varieties and enjoyed endless displays of the most beautiful flowers, the plants were allowed to drop their dried seed pods to the ground. In the spring, the entire bed was roughed up with the rake and kept well watered until they had emerged. This past year, I made the mistake of fertilizing them and when they acted stunted and were no longer growing, I consulted the plant encyclopedia. Sure enough; it said DON'T fertilize! Okay, next year will be better! The bluebonnet is the one flower I would like to start and look forward to in the spring. 


Planting bulbs in the fall:

   Only in the mild southern climates can you plant your bulbs in the fall and allow them to emerge in the spring when the time is right for each of them. In the harsh frigid temps of the north, most bulbs must be dug up and stored in an area where they can be kept from freezing and then replanted in the spring. Fall is the time for me to get out and get my iris dug and divided. The new bed was started almost a year ago and should be just right for the new bulbs. They are quite the beauties, an extra large bloom of pure white with many blooms on each stalk.

   The main problem with iris in our area is the strong North winds. I've seen a spring when all the huge beautiful blooms were tattered and the stems broken and bent to the ground. I must cut them and bring indoors and make plans to create a protected area for future beds.


Of short days and long days:

   We had done much gardening and studying on the art of gardening and enjoying it. When we read that there are onion varieties especially for the long days of the north and the short days of the south, we'd never heard of such a thing. At the end of the paragraph of explanation there was a sentence that said that a long day variety would not perform well in an area that receives fewer hours of light. Okay, what was "would not perform well." So when there was a particularly attractive variety, we ordered it. Surprise, the growth was super at first but then at about 30 days, they started flowering and would not stop. They were virtually unusable as they had the flower tube growth down the center of each onion. They continue to grow, flower and die back; it's been 3 years now and there are still about a dozen stragglers reappearing. If you want your onions to flourish from all your hard work to get their beds ready and your fertilizer, water and tending them, buy what is best for your own area.