Saturday, 7 November 2015

Let Nature Take Its Course... Self-Seeding Vegetables
A bed of self-seeded choy sum

If you are prepared to allow your vegetable patch to take on a relatively untidy appearance for a short time, you should consider letting your best veggie specimens flower and then set their seed. Allowing vegetables to self-seed is allowing nature to take its course. 
The beautiful flowers of coriander

Some vegetables are ideally suited to this method of cultivation. Pictured right is a bed of self-seeded choy sum plants. Pick them when small and young: if allowed to 'mature' (or if they experience a degree of water stress), they can take on a slightly bitter taste. Then allow one or two of your best specimens to flower and run to seed. When mature the seed pods will brown, the precious seeds dropping into your garden. Make sure to collect some of the seeds for your seed bank for future use.

When the season and weather conditions are favourable, new plants will sprout and you will be rewarded with an abundance of baby choy sum plants. 

After two crops, 'rest' your garden bed by planting a rotational crop - peas and beans are the best. Fertilise and mulch well.

In the background of this photo you can see the white flowers of coriander. Coriander is a perfect subject for this method of cultivation, along with yao mak (little gem lettuce) and wo sun (celtuce). Try it also with kai laan, other Asian greens and even radishes and carrots.

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