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Garlic and endive

Self-sown bonanza

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Penny Woodward says she doesn't have to do anything, these vegies and flowers just appear.

Right now my garden is full of weeds, which I am gradually pulling out. They either go into the compost, or I cut and drop them onto the soil. But the ‘weeds’ I love the best are my self-sown vegies and flowers. I haven’t had to plant seed, and hover over them willing them to grow, then nurture them once they appear and finally transplant them into the garden. These wonderful plants just appear. I DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING.

Often they are not where I want them to be, but in that case I can eat them, or move them, or both. A case in point are the hundreds of curly endive seedlings that appeared in the garlic bed (see pic). Garlic hates competition so I have been pulling them out – to eat, to give to friends, to feed to the chooks – and I’ve transplanted 15 or so to a spot where I can leave them to grow. I’ve been picking and eating them now for more than six weeks and when young they make a delicious and tasty lettuce substitute. Older leaves are slightly bitter, which I love, they add real substance to a range of dishes. The garlic is at the stage where it really resents the competition, so all the endive will be gone soon and the bed mulched. Later I can cut all the leaves off the ones I transplanted and put a pot over the top to exclude light, and the new creamy white leaves that grow will make a wonderful vegie.

Other self-sown vegies are landcress (a hot, mustardy leaf), red-stemmed celery and both annual and perennial rocket. On the flower front I have seedlings of three or four different poppies, love-in-a-mist and forget-me-nots. All will be flowering beautifully in a few weeks, and the forget-me-nots that I cut and drop (which will be most of them) break down really quickly to replenish the soil.