One of the most important tricks that I have learned in the garden is collecting seeds. Since collecting my own seeds, I have never relied on what I can get in the shop, nor have I spent any money buying a small amount of seeds. If you grow your own plants/herbs/food and you let them go to seed, you will save a lot of money as buying seeds can get pretty costly very quickly. Plus, you do not have the option to eat the seeds if you rely on buying seeds.
This time of the growing season is harvesting seeds time! In my previous garden update, I wrote about how I harvested the seed heads of the amaranth. It has been almost two weeks now and the seed heads have completely dried out by now. Now, I just need to find the time to remove the stalks and sift through the chaff.
It is a thing of beauty, for me, when I rub these dried-out seed heads between my fingers, releasing the many tiny seeds to fall into my hands. My girlfriend played model for me as I showed her how the little seeds fall out of the seed heads.
Collecting at the bottom of the container, I see the many little seeds. It is always astonishing to me how much you grow your yield only in one growing season. I started with about a handful as is evident from this post when I sowed the seed. In the photograph below, you can see how much there is already, doubling, tripling, what I started with.
The strange mustard seed plant that also grew dropped its seeds as well. I dried out in less than a week, and from one tiny seed, I probably got 100 seeds or so. There are still some green seed pods on the plant, hopefully still growing as my rocket completely took over (more on this below...).
More good news! All four of my rosemary cuttings are growing at such a pace that I might soon plant them out. In this post, I look back at the weeks since sticking them into some ground.. It is amazing how much you can achieve in the garden if you just have some patience. Not a lot of people will grow their own food, as it really takes time. It is so much quicker to buy something and use it. But for a gardener, to wait a while is not a problem! It has taken me about a month and a half now to grow these cuttings, watering them almost daily. Soon, I will have four new plants from the three original ones I bought!
It has been an exceptionally warm week. The poor original rosemary plants are feeling it, hanging their little heads in the summer heat. I just hope that they will grow big and strong before I need to leave again at the end of the year...
And then there is the salad rocket situation... It kind of got out of hand. Now, I have a field of rocket flowers, but very little rocket leaves production.
The little path that was there is completely covered. They seed heads fell to the ground and as they did this they produced more and more offshoots. I could not step in, as I was a bit busy, and I am still very busy, and I cannot do anything about the situation. But now I am merely waiting for the flowers to stop and the seed pods to dry out before I harvest them. I think this will be one of the biggest harvests that I will ever have of rocket seeds, as something in the soil just produced so many seeds! I have never seen this before.
But this is a good thing, as I want to make some rocket seed mustard! I have read somewhere that you can do this, and I see it as the perfect opportunity to use many of the seeds, as I will never really in my lifetime need to plant so many.
And this is the magic of growing your own food, especially crops that yield so much seed. Amaranth, rocket, and mustard, all of these plants are technically considered weeds because of their potential to spread rapidly due to their high seed yield. But if you keep this in order, or under control, you can use it to your advantage, and I am surely going to do just that!
In the future, you will hear about the rocket seed mustard! Maybe it will be better than the original stuff... But that experiment is for later in the future when I harvest all of these seeds (which will be an incredibly labour-intensive job).
For now, happy gardening and keep well!
All of the writings are my own, albeit inspired by all of the rocket pollen that I inhaled whilst taking photographs. The photographs are also my own, taken with my Nikon D300.