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Hardy Volunteers

December 23, 2011

In August 2010 I spread some arugula seeds in a temporary bed that I overwintered with a scrap of contractors plastic. The plants didn’t do so particularly well; last spring I uprooted the bed and reconfigured the area inside the west half of the boxwood garden. A plant or two came up in one of the new beds shortly thereafter, presumably from the ungerminated seed I disturbed moving the beds. These plants suffered through a blistering summer and I let them run their course and by August they were covered with drying seed pods.

Arugula seed pods are best left on the plant until they begin to brown and dry. The trick is to collect them before they get so dry that they burst open @ the touch.

Obviously several opened as there are volunteers now in the are around the bed and towards the shed where I stowed the seeds. Of course there is a thicket of plants in the same spot as the parent plants; a hearty stand of tasty arugula sweetened by the light freezes that have nipped at it so far this year.
The outliers are the healthiest ones I’ve ever seen though- wild arugula competing with their cousins the wild dandelions for space in the mulch breaks tight against the boxwoods. Yum:

The french breakfast radish seed saving experiment allowed for similar escapees, although these mutant wild offspring look like they were downwind from the Fukushima reactor. Normally these long radishes are harvested about the time they are the size of my big toe. Give one perfect conditions (like in compost next to a rotting Magnolia stump maybe…) and the next thing you know you have a monster FBR:

I don’t pull volunteers 99% of the time- I figure they probably have good genetic stock if they manage to get that far and my usual mode is to let them go all the way to seed (for saving). This practice has given me Tommy Toe tomatoes along the perimeters as well as dozens of beautiful Thai basil plants in and between the beds.

I guess arugula and radish are just now joining the insurrection….

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2011 5:36 am

    I agree…volunteers do seem to be hardier and it’s from them that I save the next lot of Seeds.
    Hope you have a happy peaceful Christmas!

    • December 24, 2011 8:49 am

      Thanks.. I hope you have the same… please give Enid an extra carrot in celebration. 😉

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