KUSA - As warm fall weather lingers, take advantage of it to accomplish late tasks.
Saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) should be planted now. This is an autumn-flowering, easily-grown species of crocus native to the Mediterranean region. The pretty purple flowers are distinguished by the brilliant red "threads." These flower stigmas are saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. As the flowers appear, harvest the threads with tweezers or fine scissors. Let them dry on the kitchen counter for several days. Then store them in an airtight container for later use. If you select a sunny, slightly dry spot for saffron crocus, it will thrive and multiply indefinitely.
Now is also the ideal time to plant garlic. There are dozens of varieties from around the world, each with their own distinctive flavors. Select a sunny location. Plant individual cloves about three inches deep and six inches apart. They will root now and emerge in spring. Harvesting is generally in early summer; each clove will develop into a full head of garlic.
Another rewarding task is to take additional cuttings from patio plants. While it's easy to root cuttings of many plants such as geraniums and coleus in jars of water on the windowsill, it's worth expanding your skill set to propagate other plants. Use pop-up peat plugs or trays of rock wool to root cuttings of plants that need more specialized care. Petunias, verbena, lantana, flowering maple, oxalis, licorice vine and some begonias can be propagated by taking a small cutting, stripping off the lower leaves, dipping the ends in a rooting compound and inserting them in the moist growing medium. Create a greenhouse environment by covering them with a transparent plastic cover. The cuttings will form roots in this humid mini greenhouse.
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