Promoting Longer Bloom Period

Do you know how to promote a longer bloom period? If you have a flower garden that includes black-eyed Susans, bachelor’s buttons, and tall phlox, do you know how to treat them to promote long-term bloomng? Does trimming the plant help, and how soon and how severely can I trim after the blooms fade?

Annual bachelor’s buttons will rebloom freely if trimmed back to remove the spent flowers. Cut the flowers as for a bouquet, just above a branch or leaf so as not to leave bare wiry stems sticking up. Black-eyed Susans will bloom naturally over a long period, but if you deadhead the plants by cutting them back by about half once the main flush begins to fade, you may stimulate another (smaller) flush of bloom in the fall.

Some gardeners simply allow the seedheads to remain and consider them an attractive fall and winter feature in and of themselves, and the birds will enjoy the seeds. The plants would then be trimmed back very short in the spring.

Tall phlox will bloom over a longer period if spent flowers are removed one by one. In general, phlox (except creeping phlox) should be trimmed off very short in the fall once frost has browned the tops. All of these plants will give their best display in full sun with rich soil that is kept evenly moist (but not soggy).

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

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Seed Saving – How to Collect and Store Garden Seeds?

Do you want to save money by not having to buy vegetable seeds year after year? Collecting seeds from your garden and storing them for the next season is one of the most cost savings methods of gardening. The seed collection method varies with the plant variety.

Collecting and Storing Seeds of Annual Garden Plants
Plants like snapdragon, cosmos, cleome, petunia and amaranth are the best examples for collecting seeds. But you need to be careful as their seeds drop. Given below is the systematic procedure for collecting and storing seeds of annual plants.

Once you observe the seed pod, allow them to turn brown and die and then remove them from the plant. Place the pods on a tray with newspaper or wax paper. Wax paper is generally used to find those small seeds once they are evicted from the pods. Allow the pods to dry completely in cool place. After the pods have dried completely, gently shake them on to the paper causing the seeds to be released from the pod. Remove all the foliage and husk. Collect all the seeds and store them in an envelope. Do not store them in anything plastic as plastic will make them sweat and germinate preemptively. Be sure to label and date the seed envelops for the season you will be using them for and keep them in a cool dry place for next season.

Collecting and Storing Seeds from Perennial Garden Plants
Collecting seeds from perennial garden plants is easy. You can collect seeds from pods or from their fruits. Seeds of perennials in pods are ready to collect only when the pod bursts open. There are chances that the seed might drop and germinate. Hence you need to pick the pods before they open and allow them to dry. But make sure that pick mature pods as early picking will result in immature seeds.

You can even collect seeds from the fruit trees by simply taking seeds from the ripe fruit and allowing them to dry. After the seeds have dried completely, they are ready for storing or germinating for the next season. Don’t collect seeds from the fruits you bought as they won’t produce the same kind of fruit as most of them are grafted. Just like with any seed, you can store your dried seeds in a paper envelope, with a label and date, and putting them in a dry place for the next season.

Generally the shelf life of seeds is for a few seasons and is better to germinate your hand picked seeds in the following season. For best results, seed save every year and discard leftovers from the previous year as germination rates start to decline after the first year.

For more great information on seed saving and propagation, go to Organic Home and Garden.

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!