It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. Nothing significant was going on in the garden. Every week we oohed and ahhed over the beautiful fall plants. Now it’s time for action.
It’s time to take some cuttings so we can get a head start on our plants for next Spring. This gives the inside of the house some color as well as helps your pocket book come next Spring when it’s time to plant containers. It’s also time to dry some herbs if you have them in your garden. What’s better than free plants?
Many of the annuals that we use in our containers may be cut and rooted easily in water. Geraniums, blood leaf, begonias and coleus are favorites. Any of your plants that have that nice big stems with joints should be successful. Succulents are very easy as well. They don’t need to root in water, you can just break them off and stick them in soil and they will start growing. If you have room you can root some bushes as well. Willow roots very easily when kept in water. It may even leaf out while you’re rooting it during the winter. Gosh, if you’re really ambitious you can root rose cuttings too.
You don’t need a grow light but you certainly could do that if you have one. A window sill is perfect and adds some color during the drab winter months. If the plants get leggy while they are rooting you can keep cutting them back. This will give more energy to the roots being established and the plant will become bushier.
Take a cutting that is at least 6 inches long with a joint close to the bottom. Strip off most of the leaves (leave a few for color). Stick it in a jar of water. Easy peasy. Make sure there are no leaves in the water. If you have a tall jar then cut your stem longer so the leaves are above the top of the jar. They can rot and cause bacteria. If the water starts to turn brown just change it out. Use a mason jar or if you want some color use a decorative jar.
It’s also time to dry some herbs. Basil, oregano, thyme etc. It’s easy with some scissors, string and somewhere for them to hang and dry. A clothes drying rack works well. A clothes line would work or if you have something to hang them on in a basement that would work too. A fun thing to do with mint is put some in an ice cube tray and fill it with water and freeze it. You can use the cubes in drinks. You can also preserve other herbs this way and use them for cooking. After your herbs have dried you can chop them up and store them in labeled containers or little bottles.
If you haven’t planted Spring bulbs yet you could do that too. One of my favorites is to take some tulip and daffodil bulbs and put them in plastic pots and make the soil damp (not soggy or too wet). Keep them in a cool dark place over winter. If they get extremely dry you can add a little water. Not a lot. You don’t want them to start growing but you don’t want them to shrivel up either. Come mid to late march you can start watering them and you will have an early pot of Spring flowers. You can insert this into the middle of a larger pot and plant pansies around it and have a beautiful Spring container.
It is also time to plant garlic. Garlic is a Fall bulb and you harvest it in the summer. Check out your local garden center for some great selections of different type garlic. There are some great varieties from other countries. There’s different colors and flavors. It’s interesting all the different types of garlic that are offered. I wouldn’t trust the garlic you buy at the grocery store for planting. If it’s organic you should be able to use it because you know it hasn’t been treated. Some garlic is grown so you can’t reproduce it. Bah Humbug to them!!