Projects – Saving Seeds

Vinca Seedpod and Seeds

I have seedpods and seeds strewn all over my house. It’s time to get serious about letting a few plants go to seed so that I will not have to buy the same seed packets again next year.

I’ve even collected a few wildflower pods. Milkweed attracts monarch butterflies so I collected a pod from a roadside plant.

I let my collected seeds dry out for several days, either on the windowsill, or inside a glass.

I then enclose the seeds in aluminum foil and store this packet inside a recycled tea bag wrapper.

Finally, I file these seed packets, and any leftover seeds from spring, inside a recycled plastic container. In the picture below I’ve used a baby wipes container. These are kept in my refrigerator until I begin to plant once again.


Projects & Plants – Rooting Cuttings with Honey

My Lemon Verbena plant is thriving, but it is in definite need of a trim. I want to grow several lemon verbena plants in my herb garden this year so today was the perfect day to take cuttings. In the past I have used rooting hormone on the stem ends of the cuttings, but this year I am aiming to go as natural and organic as possible. I have heard in the past that Honey is a natural rooting compound. I always have honey in my pantry so I pulled it out and gave it a try.

I followed the same protocol I use with rooting hormone. I punched out a drainage hole in 3 oz plastic cups and filled these with sterile soil. I watered the potting medium and created a hole with a plastic highlighter.

I dipped the lower inch and a half of the verbena cuttings into the honey and inserted them into the soil. I avoided brushing the sides of the planting hole to keep the honey intact on the stem end.

I gently firmed up the soil around the stem and then inserted the cup in a plastic bag and sealed it. The honey is anti-fungal and will create a seal on the cut end of the cutting and help retain moisture.

When I was finished I had six small pots. I used a recycled cookie tray to hold the six cuttings steady, and placed them under lights in my basement.

The lovely smelling leaves I stripped away were also put to good  use. I simmered them in a pot of water and freshened up the house with a little extra moisture and lemon scent in the air.

Plantings – Update Winter Sowing Progress

I’ve been steadily adding to my cache of winter sown containers. The warm springlike weather of the past weeks has helped many to sprout. As they are HHA (Half Hardy Annuals) and cold tolerant vegetables, I have no worries about the possible onset of colder temperatures through the next weeks. The plastic containers work as mini-greenhouses and protect the seedlings from frost. The cold will only strengthen them and keep them from becoming leggy and outgrowing their containers. I’ve had a lot of fun with this project. I also have set aside a portion of each type of seed so that in the event that some of the containers fail I will have a backup.

A view of some of the sprouts inside their containers. The above photos show my recycled orange juice bottles. These mini-greenhouses are light in weight. To windproof them I wedge them in amongst the heavier milk jugs.

A bird’s eye view through the top of a milk jug. The seedlings inside are asters.

I noticed two of my mini-greenhouses had indications of the dirt drying out. I placed these inside a plastic shoebox filled with water, a perfect fit, and let them soak up a little moisture through the drainage holes in the bottom. This worked perfectly and within a half hour they were thoroughly watered.