Planting seeds for next year

Erin Fox gives advice on planting seeds for next summer

It's that time of the year when the last of the summer flowers are dying and it is time to start planting bulbs for new flowers next year. When helping tidy up the garden in autumn, donít dispose of dying flowers. Collect the seeds and store them in homemade envelopes. You can give these to the keen gardeners in the family as a gift for Christmas or an occasion any other time of the year. It is much cheaper than buying packets of seeds from the shop.

Damp and mould

Damp and mould are enemies of seeds so it is important to pick the seeds on a dry day. Hang them up in a dry warm place if they are still in their pods and store in dry conditions. You can collect seeds from flowers such as sweet pea, corn flowers, poppies, sunflowers and marigolds. For the seed packets you will need: card, scissors, glue, brown paper envelopes, colouring pencils or crayons.

Pop your seeds into the brown envelopes and seal. Label them so they donít get muddled up later. Make another envelope out of the card. Repeat until you have the number of envelopes you need. Place the brown paper envelopes containing the seeds into the card ones. Putting the seeds into two envelopes will keep them dry and protect them from damp.

Colouring pencils

Dig out your colouring pencils and crayons and write the plant names on the front of envelopes. Sketch a picture of the flower next to its name and colour in. Store the seed packets in a tin until you are ready to plant them or give them away as a gift.

You may not get to plant your seeds for a few months, but in the mean time you can plant bulbs. Plant daffodil bulbs this month and tulip bulbs in November.

Plant the bulbs

Find an area to plant the bulbs and get rid of any weeds or foliage. Loosen the soil with a trowel and dig deep holes, spacing them a few inches apart to give each flower room to grow. The bigger the bulb, the deeper the hole must be. Sprinkle the soil over the bulbs, packing it down with your hands and then water the soil lightly. You wonít need to water the bulbs again until it gets very dry. Look out for little shoots pushing through the soil in a few months time!