Please note that Garden Club activities have had to be suspended until further notice.
Growing Your Own
Saving seeds from the plants in your garden (or other peoples’ gardens if you have permission) can be a good, and cheap, way to fill the garden with veg and flowers. This year as we couldn’t get to garden centres to buy plants or seeds it became essential to use our own collected seed from last year which included cosmos, morning glories, evening primroses, violas, nicotiana and sweet williams. In the past I have saved seed from a particularly interesting tomato variety that we had from the greengrocer and for several years we had crops of deep purple small tomatoes from these, just keeping a few seeds from the crop each year, until eventually I forgot to do it.
The results can sometimes be surprising though; last year I saved seeds from our squashes, one of which was round and green, the other a red pointed variety. This year not only did I have some of each of those but also one which was grey skinned: where did that come from?
Saving the seed needs careful timing, often once it is ripe it is quickly shed. A good method is to gather the stems with ripening pods and put them in a paper bag and hang the bag up somewhere dry so the seed drops into the bag. Fleshy fruits like tomatoes can have the seed squeezed out, rinsed and dried on some paper towel. Once you have separated the seeds they can be put into carefully labelled paper envelopes and kept somewhere cool and dry until time for sowing.
A couple of notes of caution though; if you save the seed from varieties which are labelled as F1, the resulting plants may not resemble the parent generation, and supermarket produce is often from varieties that may not be ideally suited to outdoor cultivation in Britain (but may still be worth a try as long as you aren’t too optimistic).
Things to do in October
1. Continue planting spring bulbs
2. Divide and replant overgrown hardy perennials
3. Collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould
4. Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs and fruit bushes
For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page