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March 1, 2012

In the past here I’ve posted about my slackness and propensity to generally neglect plants or beds that are past their prime. More often than not the neglect means nature eventually runs its course and the end result is positive. A good example was the bolting spinach I just let go brown and dry on the stem (see Seed-Saving-Shame); the end result was I realized I never will have to purchase spinach seed again….

Soon after I learned that the more you ignore arugula, the more arugula you have to ignore.

This picture of volunteer arugula is from December’s “Hardy Volunteers” post.

Two months later this beautiful specimen is a little long in the tooth after having leaves periodically snatched from it to spice up winter salads. But that’s fine, it has long since passed the prime edible stage and is now diligently flowering:

This plant (and several others around it) were volunteers from the seeds that spilled from the dried seed pods I was carefully handling (or so I thought)after harvesting them from the previous season’s volunteers. We’ve enjoyed having these popping up all over the place like dandelions (a cousin btw) over the last 16 months; as little as dragging a hose over them would release the great peppery aroma to float throughout the garden.

I think I’ll honor this plant by taking the neglect of it to the next level: I won’t cull the plant or harvest the seeds; I’ll let it go full cycle and complete the whole “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” process. The seeds will fall where they may and we’ll see what comes from it.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

One other bit of neglect may come back to haunt me. Last November I left a few late luffa gourds on the rock piles to finish drying. Unfortunately they remain there still, mostly with the skins disintegrating naturally and dozens of seeds quietly falling into the cracks between the rocks. These are the Cucurbitaceae family’s equivalent of kudzu; the vines grew 30+ feet in every direction last summer, on and over everything within reach.


Summer could be fun.


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