When I listed tasks for the fall garden in an earlier blog post, and again in the more recent one on fall tasks for herbs, I totally forgot to mention gathering and saving seeds. For many gardeners, this is such an automatic behavior — like breathing — that it is easy to forget to mention it, but I should have remembered.
The last quarterly meeting for the year for Cobb Community Gardens was held near the end of October, and it featured a seed-swap. One person who could not attend sent an enormous bag stuffed full with seedheads from her purple coneflower patch.
If I hadn’t already saved seeds from my earliest-blooming ‘Red Rubin’ basil, the meeting should have been enough of a reminder.
If there are still unexploded seedheads in your garden, for plants you’d like to have more of next year (coneflowers, coreopsis, milkweed, basil, horehound, mints, etc.), gathering those seeds now, to dry for several days and then store airtight and in-the-fridge, is a good idea.
Basil seeds typically don’t shake out easily until the stalks are dry. Removing leaves from the stalks speeds up the drying, and any leaves still in good condition can be used in the kitchen.
If you have tree onions (aka: walking onions, winter onions, top onions) that have dropped bulblets to the ground, these can be separated and replanted, to grow more onions. Mine are from my stepdad, Bill, and he called them winter onions.
These plants make bulblets (or top sets), that look like tiny onions, on a stalk. You can see a cluster of sprouting bulblets in the photo collage below. Anyone who doesn’t have a free source of these (another gardener) might look into buying a few. They multiplied in my garden pretty quickly, from an original cluster of five bulblets.
One source of bulblets is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which is a great resource for gardeners in the Southeast.
Elsewhere in my garden, I still have chicory roots to dig up. The roots have not grown as large as I had hoped, so I plan to harvest only half of the plants this year. This would leave the other half to continue growing next year, to make bigger roots for coffee-roasting. I may have to buy some extra chicory this year to stretch my supply.
Pictures in the photo-collage above are representative, but do not show all the good things growing in my garden. Kale and lettuces also are growing. There would have been beets and spinach, but critters ate those while they were still small.
The radishes you see up above are ‘French breakfast’ salad-type radishes. The winter radishes (not pictured) are bigger. We will be able to use a few in our family gathering that is coming up later this month.
How is your fall garden?