Monday, February 20, 2012

Living mulch and self seeding

Finally, I found some time to do a bit of spring cleaning of my upper garden. I was happy to note underneath all the debris, my deliberate action to let to let some herb go to seed and self seed has played off. A blanket of seedlings covered the planting beds. 

In line with the edible landscaping I am practicing in Temecula, I decided to try to grow a living mulch in my existing garden. The idea is the living mulch will crowd out the weeds. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley is my go to herb and I buy it every week for my cooking. I use it in Chinese dishes as well Italian dishes. So, at the end of last fall, I let the plant go to seed. I am rewarded by a blanket of parsley plants this spring. If you look at the photo above, you will notice while there are some weeds, it is a lot less than would have been if that living mulch of parsley was not present.
The red cabbages overwinter in the garden. Among the weeds, you can see seedlings of parsley. I planted some lettuce for a spring crop.
In this bed, I let the cilantro or coriander go to seed. If you look closely, you will see the sword like leaves of the serrated Vietnamese or Mexican cilantro or rather culantro. I failed to keep culantro alive the first time I planted them, now they are everywhere!! They have naturalized in my garden. Luckily, they are easy to `weed' out. Also in this bed, you will see the flower/ seed stalk of basil had not been removed. While cleaning the bed, I sprinkled the basil seed over the bed. Hopefully, I will be rewarded with some basil plants shortly.
Culantro seeded in my asparagus bed. I have more than I can ever use. If you look closely at the bottom right corner you will see a regular cilantro seedling.
A tomato plant that overwintered in the garden, produced some fruits during the hot spell of winter that can only occur in San Diego. I really should remove it as it is stunted and will not produce much fruit for summer. But for now, I am letting it grace the beds until my tomato seedlings are big enough to be transplanted to replace it.

The Fennel is the only plant I regret letting go to seed last fall. It really is everywhere in the garden and is not so easily weeded away. Not everyone in the family is as fond of the Fennel as I am. It also takes up a lot of space. I will be removing these plants as I come across them this spring. I have decided instead I will purchase the Fennel from the market when I need them.

Early baby potatoes are ready for harvest from potato plants that overwinter. I find it easier to grow them in pots as there is less chance that I leave a potato behind at harvest time. Invariably, when planted in the beds, some are left behind and sprout at a different spot either because I `move' them when cultivating the bed or the root/spud forms far from the mother plant. This not always a bad thing- something it is like finding a bonus.
The artichoke plant has awaken from its winter sleep. Looking forward to the delicious treats. It is a perennial in zone 24 garden. I find that artichoke is one vegetable most of Malaysian friends have not eaten. If they are in season, I try to introduce this special vegetable to them. Lavender is in bloom behind the artichoke plant.

Another plant that has naturalized and self seed in my garden, is the Geranium Johnson's Blue Cranesbill (Geranium x Johnson Blue). It had practically taken over this planting bed after I harvested the fall crop. It huge planting of the geranium will be transplanted into a pot, so that it can drape over the garden wall. I need the planting bed for edible plants.

1 comment:

  1. I don't mind herbs being naturalised in the garden. How nice to have edible weeds we can just pull out and eat?
    You are right about Malaysian taste. I have never eaten fennel and artichoke either. Please send an email to because if possible, I wanna have your email address.