Part of my plan for next year’s garden is to concentrate on plants that don’t have to be tended to (sown/ potted on/ planted out and so on) in spring and summer. That means more perennials, and self-seeding annuals, but it also includes sowing things outside the main sowing season. Ornamental hardy annuals are often sown in autumn to put on an earlier show in spring, and there are vegetables that can be treated the same way – one of the main ones being broad beans.
So when I read in the current edition of Grow Your Own that scorzonera can be sown now, to harvest next autumn, I dug out a packet of seeds that was kicking around in my seed box and had a go.
I sowed them into long rootrainers, and let them germinate inside. As I’m going to have more self-seeding plants, I also started a new project – photographing seedlings so that I can learn to recognise the ones I want to keep. The photo above shows scorzonera seedlings three days after germination.
As you can see, they look like grass. Nine days on, they still look like grass. I have just planted four of them out in the garden, but I think it is too soon – they don’t have substantial root systems yet. And they look so much like grass that it was hard enough for me to find them again to water them in, let alone check on them later in the week! I brought the rest back inside to get a bit bigger.
While I was outside I also trimmed the lavender (I now have a very fragrant compost heap!) and ended up brushing past the burred seeds of the wild geum weeds that crop up all over the garden. The easiest way to get rid of the seeds is to stand in the chicken run and let the chooks peck them off my trousers. This was a new thing for Chewie and Cluck, and Princess had to show them what to do 🙂
This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.