I admit to frequently saying ‘no extra cost’ which I suppose makes me a bit of a skinflint but seriously, when one can do something for nothing then why spend money.
Obviously I am referring to gardening. Last week I suggested cutting back excessive growth on some shrubs just as a means to keep them tidy. Just think of all those cuttings, trim off some of the lower leaves off a cutting and stick it in the ground or a plant pot.
Infact whilst at it, do the same with about half a dozen of those trimmings, you may well surprise yourself by seeing more than one of these that has taken root and is happily growing new leaves. When the new cutting looks mature enough, give it its own plant pot and watch it grow into a healthy new shrub. Lantana, Lavender, Rosemary, Geraniums, Bougainvillea, Datura. All of these I have grown in my garden simply from a cutting. You can always give some away if they all take root.
Next let’s take a look at seeds. Four 0’clock Jack is really at its best with masses of fragrant flowers every night, you can be sure next morning the plant will be full of seeds, collect a handful of these and there you have all the new plants you will ever need besides those seeds that just scatter naturally around the garden and germinate just where they fall.
Others that are easy to collect are the seed pods of Love in the Mist, any of the Poppy family, Nasturtiums, the choice is endless.
Seeds of course must be looked after untill the next growing season so be sure to put them in a paper bag or envelope or some such, never a plastic bag as that could encourage condensation inside and rot the seeds. Also, always write the name of the seed on the packet, its easy to ‘think’ you will recognise a handful of little black seeds in a year's time! Anyway it’s fun to produce plants for your garden ‘at no extra cost’.
I am going to add bulbs today, a reader has asked what should be done with what remains of a pot of bulbs when the flowers have faded. If you want to keep the bulbs to grow again they are best left in the pot until the greenery has died back. In fact the bulb itself is absorbing whatever is left in the leaves.
When the leaves drop off completely then the bulb can be lifted and left to dry out until the next growing season, it may well have an extra little bulb just forming from itself. Store the bulbs in a dry place, remember where you have put them! Then plant them again in a fresh pot next spring.
In a garden many bulbs can be just left in the ground to come back year after year, they as well may multiply just where they are so will need careful separating out before the next growing season.
In the vegetable garden it's time to dig up the onions to string up and keep for the winter. A fun and easy way to hang up onions it to take an old nylon stocking, pop an onion in down to the toe and tie a knot in the stocking. Continue to add onions then knot it in until the stocking is full then hang it from its usual hook in a cool dark place until you need them. When you do need an onion just cut one off below the knot, the rest will just stay there in place until needed.
Watch the Garlic in your kitchen, if the small cloves of Garlic have a small shoot showing or even just turning green in its centre then it will be ready to plant, break apart the cloves from the whole bulb of Garlic and plant them individualy giving them each space to fill out. They will of course need watering regularly until it starts to rain, as does the rest of the garden.
The heat of the summer months does bring on a certain inertia when we tend to do the bare minimum in the garden, keeping it watered and weeded are probably the most obvious jobs to be done as well as cutting the lawn which tends to grow before your very eyes in the summer. Roses still need to be dead-headed to help yet another flowering this season, this way you will probably have Roses in bloom until Christmas which will be the time to prune them.
The new Orange and Lemon crop will already be showing their small new green fruit which of course don’t actually ripen until midwinter. Every season has its ripening crops and fruit which of course all need water during the summer.