More time at home means more time to enjoy in the garden. To help you keep growing this autumn we've put together some handy ways to plant more crops and flowers.
This includes ways to grow plants for free from cuttings, growing from seed, saving seeds and swapping plants with your neighbours!
Grow from seeds
Seeds are still available from supermarkets and you can also use seeds you may have saved from previous plantings. Crops like carrots and peas prefer to be sown direct into the garden.
Make DIY cloches with glass or cloth you have on hand to speed germination. Check out our Growing from Seed Guide.
Grow from cuttings - plants for free!
Take cuttings from plants already growing for free plants. Herbs including rosemary are particularly good for this. Other top plants to take cuttings from include lavender, buxus, hydrangeas, fuchsias, hebes, miniature roses and succulents.
The best way to root cuttings is as follows:
- Use sharp secateurs to make a clean cut.
- Take cuttings at a node, that is where the leaf is on the stem of the plant, because this is where most of the plants natural hormones are concentrated.
- Depending upon the plant, make cuttings approx. 10-15cm long.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
- Reduce leaves to about three or four and reduce the leaf area by approximately half.
- Place cuttings in a cutting mix, pumice or perlite, anything that is free draining.
- Dipping cuttings into a rooting hormone before planting will improve success, particularly for semi hardwood and hardwood cuttings.
- Seed raising mix can be used, however it should have some pumice added to it as it may be too moisture retentive for some cuttings.
- Water the cuttings well, cover the pot that the cuttings are in with a plastic bag or place in a shady spot out of direct sunlight and wait.
Follow our Cuttings Grow Guide here
Collect seeds from existing plants
Collecting seeds from existing plants (including those summer favourites!) means free plants to grow from seed in upcoming seasons. It is important to save ripe seed that has matured fully prior to harvesting from healthy, disease-free plants.
Collect seeds from the following plants:
- Pumpkins and melons: seeds need to be washed and set aside to dry for a week or so before storage.
- Lettuce, celery, parsnip, rocket, carrots, leeks, onions and radicchio: allow plants to set seed (tall stems of flowers will eventually appear), pick once the seed heads are brown and crisp sounding. Hang upside down in plastic bags for a week or so, rustle the remaining seeds out of the stems and store.
- Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, chillies and capsicums: scoop out flesh and wash through a sieve. Lay the seeds on a kitchen towel and place somewhere warm and dry for a week or two before storing. Be careful with chilli seeds as they can sting, so avoid touching your eyes after touching the seeds. Once completely dry, cut the kitchen towel into small pieces and store seeds on the towel in an envelope. The paper towel and seed combo can be sown in the spring onto Tui Seed Raising Mix.
- Beans and peas: remove husks and allow seeds to dry out – this may take a couple of weeks, then remove casings and store.
Share and swap seeds and seedlings
Share and swap seeds and seedlings with your neighbours or garden groups in a non-contact way! Many seedlings come in six packs or more and sometimes that can be too many. They may also be happy for you to take cuttings from some of their plants.
Check out our Planting Calendar here for what to plant now in your region.
Share your ideas to help inspire and help others
- Harvest in 50-65 days