June 11, 2015

Go With The Flow Gardening

Last month I showed you my popcorn patch, which seemed to be loaded with more volunteer amaranth than popcorn plants. The other day I went out to weed that patch, but I could find only two seedling popcorns. That was disappointing. Popcorn isn't a gardening essential, but I do like having it for an homegrown treat. I considered pulling all the amaranth and replanting the popcorn, but then it occurred to me that if the amaranth wanted to grow there, why not? The entire amaranth plant is a useful food for our animals, so why try to plant it elsewhere when it was happy here?

Volunteer amaranth mulched with old straw

While mulching, I found another volunteer in that patch.

Volunteer Nutmeg melon

There are a couple of these nutmeg melon plants staking their claim there as well. I usually only grow one variety of melon each year to avoid cross pollination for simpler seed saving - last summer it was nutmeg, this year it was to be cantaloupe. But who am I to argue?

If only the rest of the garden could be this easy.

34 comments:

Dani said...

I, too, "go with the flow". Thought it was my (ancient) Scottish roots... lol

Leigh said...

Dani, I have Scottish roots as well so that may be it. :)

Farmer Barb said...

Hey, amaranth is a nifty sauté green for humans, too! We love it. Pick the leaves small, though. They get stringy. You know how I like that free food...My Lamb's Quarters is all over the place this year along with the arugula and lemon balm. The healthiest plants seem to be the ones where I DON'T want them! :)

Leigh said...

Barb, +1 for amaranth greens. The thing I haven't tried yet is the grain for our consumption; it's so teeny I fear I'll lose it all in winnowing, LOL.

I finally had enough lambs quarter to can a load this year. Last summer I was delighted to find a few plants and let them go to seed. I like them better than spinach (which doesn't like our heat anyway).

I have to agree about volunteers, they always seem to be healthier than the ones I sow. I figure my garden always looks like a mess, anyway, so just let them grow as they will. :)

Gill - That British Woman said...

sometimes it's easier to let plants do their own thing than fight them.

Frank and Fern said...

We have volunteer potatoes, tomatoes and green beans coming up in the turnips, collards, carrots and beets. I guess the good thing is that these early crops will soon be finished, then the volunteers can really take over. Interesting thought to relinquish the space to the volunteers, Leigh. Sometimes it makes sense to do things their way instead of our, doesn't it?

Fern

M.E. Masterson said...

Had to go look this up. I believe I have seen this in my garden before. Hmm will have to some more research on uses. Thanks Leigh!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

I miss so much our old garden where I knew what grew best where. On our new spread it's all haphazard chance taking but it's all part of the process I know.

Renee Nefe said...

I was surprised to find some lettuce this year. I need to get out there and plant more.

Kev Alviti said...

I do the same sometimes, if flowers come up I generally leave them but some veg I do pull up and transplant. The popcorn I sowed directly in the garden hasn't come up but the stuff in the root trainers has so I'll be transplantjng it out soon. No doubt the other will show its head as soon as I do!

Leigh said...

Gill, that's what I figured. :)

Leigh said...

I agree. Perhaps we should think of it as providential gardening. :)

Leigh said...

There are different types of amaranth, some cultivated varieties, and some wild. I plant an heirloom seed type called Golden Giant. Makes huge seed heads and grows very tall.

DFW said...

At least the plants are beneficial ones!

Leigh said...

You're right that it takes time to learn a garden spot, but I'm guessing you'll get it figured out pretty quickly. Experience truly is the best teacher.

Leigh said...

Well, that's good news! I hope you can get lots more.

Leigh said...

That'll just mean more popcorn!

Leigh said...

Amen to that! There are actually very few that can't be used for something, such as the deadly nightshade. The wiregrass is the biggest nuisance but it can be cut, dried, and fed to the goats. It just grows faster than I can keep up with.

barbara woods said...

last year we had a tomato plant in our dog pen, know i dogs dion't eat tomato's

Ed said...

Growing up as a kid, I would have considered homegrown popcorn essential. We used to shell about a half dozen five gallon buckets full of popcorn kernels to get us through the year.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Leigh, Even though your garden is not going as planned it still sounds pretty wonderful to me. Doesn't amaranth have a pretty bloom too? If so that will be so pretty out there. Nancy

Bill said...

Makes me smile. One year I had lots of volunteer tomato plants in my bean garden. I decided to just let them grow and see what happened. They turned out to be vigourous cherry tomatoes that started producing right as the beans petered out. I couldn't have timed it better if I'd been trying. :)

Sandy said...

Leigh,

I love a garden that just volunteers to grow stuff :-)
It makes life a bit easier when this happens.
Every time I plant amaranth it fails to grow, obviously I'm doing something wrong.

Lynda D said...

I already have volunteer tomato seedlings trying to grow. Someone has forgotten to tell them its winter. They wont mature but im in for yet another swag of volunteers next season. I've always found the volunteers to be healthy strong plants with good roots. It helps that i leave all the fallen fruit on the ground where they land.

Leigh said...

Barbara, how strange! Funny how plants can show up in unexpected places like that.

Leigh said...

That's a lot of popcorn! I may have to give mine a new home. I sure do love popcorn with homemade goat butter.

Crg said...

Check out Masanobu Fukuoka's Natural Way of Farming and Green Philosophy. Sounds like your perspective has hit that point I hope countless others can discover too. Nature makes no wrong choices, only our human intelligence and intentions complicate things. The book is out of print now, but a few of us have physical copies and some can be found on amazon. However, if youre up for it, there are digital copies, http://www.rivendellvillage.org/Natural-Way-Of-Farming-Masanobu-Fukuoka-Green-Philosophy.pdf

Leigh said...

Crg, The One Straw Revolution is on my nightstand right now. :)

Julene said...

Like you, I have volunteer plants joining my garden and I've let them do what they want, too. A pumpkin in the strawberry patch should do just fine! :) It appears that the straw keeps the weeds down? Is it as easy as that?

Leigh said...

Nancy, one kind of amaranth I've tried to grow is Love Lies Bleeding. I think it looks so pretty in photos but I've not been successful with that one yet.

Leigh said...

Oh Bill, aren't you glad you let them grow? Volunteers usually seem quite healthy and vigorous, both great pluses.

Leigh said...

Sandy, who knows why some plants do well in one place and not in another? That's a puzzle I'm always trying to figure out, LOL

Leigh said...

Aw, poor things. They are clueless that your winter is about to begin. I have to agree that volunteers seems stronger and healthier than most plants. Like you, all of my volunteers are growing where their parents fell last year.

Leigh said...

Julene, theoretically the straw helps keep weeds down. :) One thing that doesn't respect it is wiregrass. It grows right on up through any mulch I put down (even cardboard after it begins to deteriorate) and establishes itself right on top. That stuff drives me crazy.