Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Accidental Garden

Sometimes you get things you don't plan for. These two thick patches of collard greens came up spontaneously in new beds created for red raspberries. The seed was in home-cooked compost that was spread on the beds in late summer. I was going to pull out all of those "weeds," but it has been so long since we've had homegrown greens, and we eat lots of them. You can see the few raspberry canes I've planted in the forward bed.

The only watermelons I harvested this year came from this vine that came up on its own in a flower bed that had been the site of a compost heap last year. Compost heaps are a rich source of these "volunteers." We've always got something growing at the edges of the compost heap.

Although the watermelon and collards were accidental, I always plan for some things to set seed and sprout in the garden each year. The arugula plant below is from seed that fell from the spring crop. These "self-sown" seeds always produce before the ones I plant.
The flower and herb garden also is full of things that I depend on to self sow each year. Poppies seem to do better this way. I also always have nigella, calendula, thyme, sage, dill, coriander and others from last year's upstarts. The ornamental amaranth below is a descendant of several generations of plants that come from self-sown seed (seed dropped to the garden directly from the plant).

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