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Gone to seed

By Penny Stine

Usually, when plants go to seed, they don't look good. Interesting, yes. Good or tasty, no. This tall thing with a little yellow flower that looks surprisingly like a dandelion is actually lettuce. 

I tend to let things go to seed in my garden, however, because I've discovered it's a cool way to get stuff to come back every year. Or at least that sounds good. The reality is that my garden is big and trying to stay on top of it is the impossible dream. So I let stuff go to seed. 

It's always a fortunate coincidence when young seedlings come up the following year and actually turn out to be something you'd want to eat. 

Although I'm not the word blogger here at the Sentinel, the term, "go to seed," can also mean to get a rundown appearance, as if you no longer care. 

Personally, I think these plants look pretty cool once they go to seed. Perhaps it's because the plant is actually a biennial plant (i.e., one that takes two growing season to complete it's life cycle), even though we grow it as an annual. 

This allium-looking plant is a carrot. A couple of years ago, a few carrots went to seed in a cramped corner of my garden, and I got the most carrots (produced with the least amount of effort EVER) the following year. So I deliberately left a few carrots in the ground last fall, intending that I'd let them go to seed this year and give me boatloads of carrots next year. 

There's nothing wrong with long-range garden plans. 

I've got kale going to seed, too, getting about 3 or 4 feet tall and producing these seed pods on long stems. I'm picking the pods and letting them dry simply because I'm curious to see if they'll produce good kale plants next year. I've never had kale go to seed like this before. 

Btw, gardening experts say that you shouldn't let carrots go to seed, because most carrots are hybrid and the carrots that come up the following year may not breed true to form, so you don't know what type you'll actually get. 

That's OK with me, since I can't seem to get any carrots when I actually purchase seeds and plant them. 


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