I have been weeding again this week! Thanks to the warm weather and now the rain, all the areas I had already turned over, for autumn planting or winter rest, are covered in tiny weed seedlings!

I am hoping that the extra weeding time I’ve been forced in to, will benefit me in spring – having sprouted this side of winter and already been removed, fewer should emerge in between new plants in the herbaceous border during spring, but I am not holding out much hope.

In winter I like to shut down some areas of my garden just to ease my workload, but the extra weeding is forcing me to carry on in areas that should be resting. Another problem with late autumn weeding is the disturbance of annual flower seeds that are germinating.

It is difficult to distinguish between them, even though I have been taught the difference between each weed and its stages of growth, I still weed too fast and take out annual flowers that are germinating too.

For this reason I very rarely use a hoe; a hand weeder is the best tool to stop me massacring my annuals. Not all are saved but most survive.

This week I have also been collecting the last of my sunflower seeds. I cut the heads off and allow them to dry indoors before harvesting the seeds. This year I grew a variety called ‘Velvet Queen’ from The Real seed catalogue they had a gorgeous red colour and looked beautiful at the entrance to my veg patch.

I want them all over the garden next year, so before the birds could get to the seed, I placed paper bags over the finished flower heads. I’ve been harvesting them one head per week, separating the seed to ensure it dries properly to reduce germination problems next year. I’ll be harvesting the last one this Sunday, with my morning coffee while the rest of the house is still sleeping.

Separating sunflower seeds for drying and sowing next season