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Sow Seeds For Next Spring

The cooler temperatures may be making gardens look a little dead, but The Early Show gardener Charlie Dimmock recommends looking toward spring, because now is a good time of year to sow seeds for next year's flower beds.

Dimmock calls sweet peas and cornflowers "cheap and cheerful" plants. They will bloom in vibrant colors all summer and are easy to grow, but are very commonplace plants.

She says to plant the seeds in a shoebox or seedling tray. Dimmock likes placing a toilet paper tube or a rolled-up newspaper in the center of the soil and then dropping the seed inside. This makes it easier to move the plant into the ground.

Sweet peas have a very hard seed. If you soak the seeds in water overnight, however, they will soften and then shoot up faster.

Place your seedlings on a cool windowsill, meaning there is no heating vent blowing near the window. Expect the seeds to show little green shoots before the first frost. Although you won't be able to see this, they will also put down a lot of roots during this time.

Dimmock says that it's essential to pinch off the tops of the shoots when they start to look fragile. Doing so will double the amount of flowers that bloom on the plant. If you don't pinch off the top, that shoot will develop into the plant's only stem.

Anyone hoping to have hyacinths blooming in time for the holidays needs to get those bulbs planted in the next week or so. These beautiful flowers are a traditional holiday favorite and have a lovely scent. You can drop a bulb into soil in a pot, or place in the neck of a narrow glass vase or jar.

If you go this route, fill the container with water so it's just touching the bottom of the bulb. Place the potted bulbs in a cool, dark place. The bulbs in glass containers should still be in a cool spot, but they don't need to be in the dark.

Right before Christmas, you can put the bulbs someplace slightly warmer.