Middle South

October, 2003
Regional Report

Gather Seeds

Collect seeds from cosmos, morning glories, marigolds, zinnias, and other non-hybrid flowers. I keep mine in paper envelopes culled from my junk mail, and store my homegrown collection in a plastic freezer bag alongside my store-bought seeds.

Select Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Buy daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs, and keep them in your refrigerator until you have time to plant them. Usually I wait until the end of October to begin putting bulbs in the ground, but this year's early fall means we can start planting earlier, like now.

Plant Hardy Wildflowers

If you're tinkering with a wildflower meadow, now is the time to plant seeds of hardy annuals and perennials, including corn poppies, larkspur, bachelor buttons, purple coneflowers, and many others. When sowing a wildflower mixture, plant half of the seeds now, and sow the rest in early spring.

Set Up Tunnels

Erect plastic tunnels over half-hardy crops that are likely to be damaged by hard freezes, such as lettuce, parsley, and many types of Asian greens. Tunnels need to be left open on sunny days, and be sure to water the plants beneath them often.

Tag Asters

If you see a fantastic wild aster blooming its heart out near your house, mark its base with a stick or golf tee now. Then go back in early spring, dig it up, and transplant it to your garden. When grown in garden-quality soil, don't be surprised if your wild thing grows into a huge cloud of blue by next fall!

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