On missed opportunities

IMG_1167Celery seedlings by the hundreds

It is at this time of the year I start considering shortcuts.  There are too few hours in the day for all that we need much less want to do, right?  Why NOT just hop a fence here and there.

Well, even shortcuts require forethought.  Forethought, or at least opportunity.  Note, for example, the positively crazy self-germination of the open-pollinated Golden Self-Blanching celery above.  One plant (one!) out of 15 went to seed last year, its first year: these polite biennials generally wait until their second spring to do so.  Like all the umbelliferae, they’re prolific in the extreme…they believe in lots of seeds.  But anyone who’s tried to grow parsley or celery from seed will tell you it’s a trying endeavor.  They require soaking, they require up to 21 days to actually poke their heads above the soil.  They require effort, in other words.

And guess what I have in the greenhouse:  about 60 plants, three inches taller than these, that I have painstakingly sown indoors, coddled for weeks, and transplanted.

Humbug.  Where’s a fence to jump?

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11 responses to “On missed opportunities

  1. Oh, yes. I hear you, loud and clear, on the shortcuts thing. I decided to skip germinating sunflowers this year in favor of just transplanting the volunteers. And I harvested most of the sunflower heads last year to reserve for feeding the birds in midwinter – at the far end of the property from the garden. Still, up came the sunflower seedlings, unmistakable. I also gratefully accept any and all lettuce volunteers, and move them where I want them. If only my kale reseeded itself so well.

  2. Isn’t that the way it goes. I like the marigold volunteers, I’m hoping to get a bunch of them since I didn’t even bother starting seeds. If not I guess I’ll buy some from the local greenhouse.

  3. I don’t get it (celery)! I planted some starts last fall and they took forever to do anything. Now I have all this celery and I don’t know what to do with it! I use a stalk or two here and there……

  4. If you let those celery sprouts grow won’t you be selecting for celery that goes to seed a year early? I guess this would be good if you use celery seed as a seasoning but maybe not if you like celery stalks.

  5. where are the scissors?
    celery micro-greens any one?

  6. Ooh! Celery microgreens; great idea.
    So, anyway. Soaking? Coddling? 21 days? Yeah, I’ve got a yardful of celery volunteers, too. Did not realize what an “accomplishment” I’ve accomplished.
    One’s even trying to grow in a crack in the patio.

  7. LOL…that is too funny! My stevia, also notoriously difficult, also came up on its own this year..too funny. Do you think they do it on purpose?

  8. Some things are so easy if nature takes a hand. I’ve let my parsley self sow for years and it is never any work. I just have to put up with where it comes up.

  9. Isn’t this just typical!? Some of my best garden plants are volunteers. I hate pulling volunteers, so generally let them grow unless they’re absolutely in the way. I’ve got tomato seedlings volunteering in the garden now that are as big or bigger than some of my recently planted tomato seeds into peat pellets (late order!) Ah well. And I’m curious to see what the squash will turn out to be like that is volunteering…it should be true as it was an heirloom variety and no other squashes growing nearby. We shall see!

  10. Kate, yeah, it’s hard. I am so distracted at this time of the year; my mind really IS just in the garden(s). Ah well. I’ve never been able to transplant sunflowers well; they always catch on and don’t do as well out of spite. But I *should* kind of plan my planting calendar around volunteers, it’d save me some time, eh?

    Mrs Chiot at least the marigolds are something you Can plant from seed, in a row, to move around later; they don’t really require obsessive care. More better of course if they show up on their own. I have scads of calendula that pops up and I love it.

    Petunia, I hear you, especially since the home-grown stuff isn’t nearly as watered down as store-bought. I make a persillade of minced celery, onion, and parsley and I freeze it, then scoop out a hunk when I am making a soup or whatever. It’s great in the winter surely as a nice base. I tend to use it a lot at this time of year when my storage onions are limited. If that helps, anyway! I adore celery though so seeing these millions wasn’t such a hardship.

    Yeah, Sarah, I would be especially careful about what celery seed I saved; I do tend to reward “true” traits though so we’ll see. Otherwise it’s Bloody Marys for everyone!

    Sylvie, great idea. I cut some up and graced the top of a bit of pork last night.

    CC, well, some things are overzealous. But indeed if you’d tried to repeat it indoors you’d have been sadly disappointed, so congratulations!

    Christy, absolutely they do it on purpose. It’s that life-long learning thing that your garden throws at you. Watch: next year neither your stevia nor my celery will come up on their own.

    Daphne, I wish my parsley did that! I am a bit of a parsley fiend. But indeed, the other umbelliferae do readily self-sow: cilantro, chervil, parsnips, dill; plant ’em once and never again.

    Blaithin I noticed squash popping up in the compost area too already. Most of my winter squash last year WERE volunteers. It’s just as well I didn’t plant them because a lot of them are still sitting in the basement (sigh). My favorite tomato is also the one that keeps just showing up. I actually hate it (really, it’s that invasive) but if I were to do a blind taste-test with all 18 of my varieties this one would always win. It’s a purple plum tomato.

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