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May 3 harvest and musings on weeds

02 May 2009
Sunny 12°C / 53°F

Sorry about today’s harvest photo. I realized I forgot to take a photo halfway through dinner. I didn’t actually harvest the veggie burger; I more or less went outside to make salad and came inside and there it was (my partner is so cool).

Today’s salad was mostly spinach. I realized the bed where the tomatoes are going to go wasn’t thinned near as much as I thought it was and things were uncomfortably close together, which was bad, since things are simultaneously starting to get really big. I added two little beetberry plants; I meant to add one for thinning, but they were both right on top of each other and pulling one brought up the other. I also added a couple of arugula and creasy green leaves. Then I added all the nice looking lamb’s quarters I could find, and all the mustard seedlings from the backyard.

Now that I’ve gotten into harvesting weeds, it’s changing my perspective on growing greens. The mustard I let go to seed last year spread its seeds very far, although I think the furthest natural seed is about 6 feet away (in the spinach); the others were, I think, spread via the compost pile. And it’s red/purple, so the little mustard plants are beautiful and easy to find against the grass. It was almost more exciting to discover all the mustard seedlings than it was to harvest the neat plantings in the bed. I also took a bunch of the mustard microgreens that were leftover from the winter. They’re a pain to harvest; I think if I do them again, I need to do them in an inside pot in the dead of winter when I’m really enthusiastic about it, and not just a few weeks before I’ll be able to get the same thing faster and easier outside.

I don’t know what to make of red orach. I planted a bunch of it and gave a bunch of it to katxena; neither of us got it to sprout. I ended up with one measly plant that I let go to seed, and it’s popping up in a fairly contained area within a foot or so of where the parent plant went down last fall. But again, none of the plants I tried to start myself this year did anything. Go figure.

I’ve got purslane coming up between my stepping stones again. I couldn’t for the life of me get it to grow from planted seeds, but it just comes up for free, so why put it in the limited bed space?

I also let one lettuce go to seed because I didn’t notice it behind the longbean until it was pretty far along. Several plants have come up within a couple of feet of where it was.

If I can arrange my garden in an appropriate fashion, I think I’m going to double check which plants are inbreeding vs. outbreeding and make a patch of appropriate varieties and just let them do their thing without interference from me. I might plant one of each green of each variety for insurance, but it would open up more space in the beds.


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ceae

ceae

Folia Helper

Canada6a

Hey, if your plants hybridize right, you could come up with your own ‘new green’ Cristyn’s Creasy Kress or something … that’d be cool!

It’s interesting that the reseeded plants are doing so much better than the seed you sowed yourself. Could it be fresher seed, or did you save seed last year?

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)
cristyn

cristyn

Folia Helper

United States5b

In both cases it was seed that I bought that year. I didn’t even get the orach seeds from the same place. Last year’s was in a mesclun mix from cooks garden and this year’s was in its own package from territorial (I think). It could be that orach just doesn’t have a high germination rate, but I don’t buy it. My plant last year was tiny and pathetic; I don’t think there were many more seed heads than I got plants this year. I’m not sure what the issue is. Possibly it does best sown in the ground in the winter and left to fend for itself?

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)
urbandogsgarden

urbandogsgarden

Folia Helper

United States5b

This is interesting. I have the same issue, not with greens but with flowers. (This is my first year for greens.) Why do some things will reseed like crazy even in my crappy soil and yet when I sow them myself I get one sprout out of 25 seeds sown. You would think that wintersowing (the only way I can start seeds) would be similar to reseeding so why the discrepancy? Unless, starting them indoors would give me no seedlings whereas wintersowing gave me one. Like you said, maybe I should just throw them on the ground in the fall and be done with it.

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)

It’s Darwin at work folks. You have no way to know which of the tiny selection of seeds in a packet are viable. I mean, in a plant that creates maybe hundreds of thousands of seeds, what percentage are viable? And then the commercial packets give you, what, 60 of them? Whereas the reseeders, if they aren’t viable, they don’t come up. What I’ve noticed from my flower reseeders (cleome, alyssum, tobacco, marigold) is that the first few years of self-seeding the plants are hit-and-miss, and after a few years these plants are absolutely vibrant. They’re selecting for the fittest, and not only that, but the absolute best strain for your particular microsystem.

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)
Katxena

Katxena

Folia Helper

United States7

I think it might be your orach seeds, unfortunately. I received some red orach seeds from an SSE member as a gift with some seeds I requested, and those seeds have sprouted just fine. I’ve been thinking about letting greens go to seed in a similar way — I was inspired by Spidra’s Swiss Chard. I have a bare spot in my lawn right now, where my wintersown containers were, that I’m thinking of seeding with greens and letting them do their thing. The only problem is that my HOA does the mowing, and I’m sure they would mow it.

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)
cristyn

cristyn

Folia Helper

United States5b

Yeah, but if you planted cut and come again seeds and cut the entire tops off, leaving just an inch, instead of doing the ouside leaf thing, it might work. Especially if they mow weekly at a particular time; you can just cut them all off below the mow line and keep them in the ’fridge until you need them.

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)
Katxena

Katxena

Folia Helper

United States7

That’s a good idea. I was going to search around and see if I could find a few rocks to set up a kind of border. I can’t really afford to built a whole new bed in that spot right now, although I’d like to eventually. I’ll see what I can come up with.

Posted on 04 May 09 (about 10 years ago)

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Gardener

cristyn

Albany, New York

United States



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