It’s spring in the Bay Area, and I’m sure many of you are eagerly visiting nurseries, snatching up seeds and seedlings for your home garden. But right now, did you know you just may be able to collect some free, fresh seed from your garden or a friend’s? Earlier this spring, I shared with you some pix of early bloomers. Ornamentals and all those cool season veggies have gone to seed. And if you love FREE, it’s time to harvest some free seeds!
While these plants are not nearly as colorful as they were a few weeks ago, I find the seedheads just as interesting, and I’m in awe of the true bounty of seed which they have provided me. I’m currently collecting the following seeds from the backyard – poppy, sage, mustard, kale, kohlrabi. Want to see? Well, I have a video for you!!!
Yeah, I know. My excitement over this stuff is goofy. Alright folks, in addition to cool seeds, there is a lot of color sprouting in the garden right now, too.
Crazy daisies that I started from seed over a year ago are finally sending out blossoms. This plant is much bigger than I expected, forming a mound that’s about as high as my waist and stems that reach up to my chest! I love daisies, and as soon as we moved into this home, I wanted to make sure I grew them to remember my maternal grandmother who was given the American name, Daisy, by missionaries in Korea. She died too early during World War II when my mom was just a little girl. Even though I never knew her, growing these gives me a connection to my grandmother and is my way of honoring her.
The Feijoa tree (aka Pineapple Guava) that I planted with my niece earlier this spring is already blooming. Look at that pink! I’m in love with this tree – its leaves are really handsome, with finely textured grey backsides. It is clearly content in a rather undesirable shaded section of the garden, which is awesome! And of course there are these crazy EDIBLE flowers. The other day, I sampled a few petals – they are velvety, substantial, and sweet. I can imagine sprinkling them over fancy cupcakes and eating them straight away! You can eat the petals guilt-free as the fruit will still develop, as long as you leave the central area with the fuchsia stamens intact.
This carefree calendula is one of many that reseeded themselves from last year. That orange hue sure is yummy, don’t you think? Calendula petals are also edible, and I’ve read they have antiseptic properties which make them great in facial toners, too, although I haven’t tried that yet.
Let’s talk a little bit about beneficial insects.
I dislike flies. The really big ones yuck! If one gets in the house, a small part of me starts freaking out. If it noxiously buzzes too close, I may even yelp.
BUT… in the garden, I love syrphid flies aka hoverflies. Yes, they are pollinators. And yes, their larva eat up all the aphids, which is fantastic. But when I’m strolling in the back, I find their energy palpable, and I love how I feel when I’m close to them – more aware, more sensitive, more alive. They are attracted to white blossoms with easily accessible nectar – alyssum and cilantro flowers are favorites. Cilantro is featured in the photo above. What I love in particular about cilantro and Ammi majus aka Queen Anne’s Lace (the latter reseeds like crazy, so if you don’t want that, cut it down before it goes to seed), is that their flowers reach up high, bringing these pollinators closer so you can enjoy them.
These are just a few seeds of hundreds that I could harvest from my single culinary sage plant. Its leaves flavor your food. Once it starts blooming, it feeds swarms of bees. Then, it gives you the means to set the cycle in motion again, if you so please. And what’s left of the plant after seed harvest can be composted. Self-sufficiency, dude. Growing our own food has been so incredibly satisfying that I’ve decided to allocate a bit more garden real estate to food crops and put a hold on pure ornamentals.
How is your garden shaping up this lovely month of May? What’s growing on in your neck of the woods?