Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saving Zinnia Seeds

If you live in the Boise area, our dry spell means zinnia seed-saving is easy. Clip off dried flowers. Pull each petal off and you'll see the seed at the end. Snap off petals to save space when storing. You can leave them on, too. I put the seeds in a small paper bag. Be sure to label your seed. The zinnias in the photo are from a State Fair Mix. They generally produce true seed, but it's possible they could have been cross-pollinated with other zinnias. Four seeds heads is plenty for the next season. I'll leave the rest of the seed heads so the birds have food during the winter.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Flowers Surviving the Frosts

The zinnias in sheltered areas are still going strong, even after a few frosty mornings.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Composting Surprise

I started composting about a year ago. I put together two bins. One was "hot" and one was a holding bin I planned to start cooking when the other bin was just about done. Above is a photo of the holding bin. The surprise is that the holding bin is just about done - without me trying to get it "cook," by adding nitrogen and stirring and keeping moist. That plastic cup says "compostable" - but as you can see, it hasn't. I'll bury it and try again.

 Here is finished compost from the pile I thought was the only one really "cooking."

Now, it starts all over again.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Saving Begonias for Next Season

What are you going to save for the spring? I will attempt three "saves." Begonias, black and blue salvia and fuchsia. First, the begonias. I grew "angel wing" begonias in outdoor planters. Sure, I could probably dig up the entire plants and bring them in, but space is an issue. So I took stem cuttings. I cut about 1/4 inch below a "nodule." Then trimmed all the leaves and flowers off except for two leaves near the top. I placed them in pots prepared with "sponge wet" potting soil, and popped them into plastic bags. I puffed in a little air before sealing and set the bags in an area with indirect sunlight. They should start growing roots in a few weeks, and probably sending out new leaves. Their care will change when that happens. By the way, some people use rooting hormone for stem cuttings, but angel wing begonias are so easy to grow from cuttings, it's not required. Others put stem cuttings in a glass of water. It's important to note, however, that the roots that grow in water are not "true roots." Trim them by about 2/3 before putting in potting soil.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Neglected Compost Bin

My compost bin was ignored for about a month and this happened. It was overflowing with tomato and cucumber plants. Oops. But I take it as a sign that the pile is full of nutrients.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Last Flower Blast of the Season

The chrysanthemums are putting on a show. In my yard, I consider these the "farewell to the season" flowers. Average first frost date is the first week in October for my zone.