Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Going to Seed

Partly out of laziness and part curiosity I have left my broccoli to go to seed for a while to see what happens. The results as you can see are a mass of brilliant yellow flowers which have attracted a large number of bees and beneficial insects. There is a real benefit to growing flowers which attract pollinating insects to the vegetable patch. I need the space now so these are being cut down, but I will definitely plan some sort of flower patch for next year.
In another part of the garden I left one of last years parsnips to go to seed just to see what happens. Parsnips are a biennial plant, ie. they have a lifespan of two years. First year you get a lovely edible root, second year you get a flower and seeds. Bearing in mind that you must always use fresh parsnip seeds every year I might see if I can harvest some seeds from this one. It is currently about 5ft tall and still growing. Might even use these lovely leaves in a vegetable stock!
Finally, a close look at one of my giant beefsteak tomatoes in the greenhouse. These are my expensive F1 hybrid tomato 'Country Taste' and in the hope of growing a whopper I have trimmed each of the flower trusses down to just two flowers. Looking good!


At 11:23 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Those are mighty pretty flowers there, even if they did come from a broccoli plant!

At 3:31 AM, Blogger WeekendFarmer said...

: ) are you going soft on flowers now Matron? Love the photos!

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

Wow Matron
You are well ahead of me with your tomatoes and i garden in the south of France!! You obviously have a cracking green thumb.
BTW Have you noticed any difference sowing your cucurbits by the moon?

At 11:30 AM, Blogger BilboWaggins said...

Love the idea of letting broccoli and parsnip go to seed; I would do it for the insects, not to collect seed (although perhaps Mrs Flummery [Veg Heaven] would like some). Definitely a good idea for Bag End in the future, thanks!

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Soilman said...

What... FLOWERS? Surely some mistake? Have you lost it?!?

At 8:29 PM, Blogger James Dougan said...

I've also left an onion and a leek to go to seed to see what they look like.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger tlc illustration said...

There are a number of veggies and herbs that I let at least some of go to seed. Sometimes because I want to save the seeds (and some of the herb seeds are good for eating - caraway, fennel, dill, sweet cicely) but mostly because I like eating the flowers. Nearly all veggie flowers are edible (not the nightshades or those related to carrots) and most are yummy. Broccoli flowers are great in salads or tossed on soup as a garnish. My arugula always bolts too quickly - but arugula blossoms taste even better than the young greens - I use those copiously. (If you scroll down the Local Foods blog a couple of entries, you can see my latest 'flower salad' entry).

At 11:57 AM, Blogger VP said...

I've got serious tomato envy here Matron.

I grew Phacelia as a green manure a couple of years ago on my plot, but let a little of it self seed each year. The bees go mad for it!

Many thanks for the link in your sidebar - what a nice surprise :)

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

Tomatoes AND broccoli flowers? Is there a warm front going on over there? I have 2 beets(roots) from last year getting ready to flower. The bees do love those broccoli flowers, don't they! Paula
PS Pumpkin seeds planted in pots. Hope for sprouts soon.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Flowers in the veggie garden are a magnet for so many beneficial insects, that is why I have a potager and it is teeming with bees, ladybirds and what have you. Thanks for showing your flowering broccoli, it looks stunning!

Country taste is looking good! On Bliss we are into artichokes.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Wild Mood Swings said...

Pah she is weak , flowers indeed , she's selling out.

Either that or she has been sniffing too much comfrey water. ;O)

At 9:25 PM, Blogger RobD said...

Flowers - lol! Get some comfrey and let that produce flowers, the bees really love it and you can use the leaves for feed, compost, etc. You'll feel less like you're selling out and joining the rest of us growing flowers ;>)

At 7:15 PM, Blogger UKBob said...

Oh no! Matron doing flowers! Whatever next? Talking of leaving your veggies to flower I have a few spring onions left over from last year about to burst in to flower. Maybe we should start a new veggie flower fashion. Bob.


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