Grow Write Guild No. 7 - In Bloom
Right now it feels like my garden has turned a corner. Spring is officially over and all my plants associated with that time have spent their blossoms, set fruit, and either been harvested or have been allowed to go to seed. Currently all that is blooming in my garden is some accidental buckwheat, some nasturtiums, and some wildflower seeds that I received in a few mixes from West Coast Seeds. Some were throw-ins with my order - blends to encourage beneficial insects and pollinators. Some were in a mix designed to discourage deer from coming around. I haven't been able to put it to the test yet, but currently I am hoping the plants in this blend will co-exist with my three sisters garden. So far there have been a few deer coming around. We haven't seen our friend "Tom Unibrow" yet, but I'm sure he will return. Usually the deer get really close to our place in August, but there was a new house build next door in what used to be an empty lot they used to like to wander through. Now with that and a new retaining wall separating their usual trail from my garden I am curious if that will give me some more protection or not.
In this mix are some of the tiniest poppies I have ever seen. I am not sure if they are supposed to be that small, or if they were stunted from being crowded in with the buckwheat and the peas, but they are super cute like that! For reference they are about the size of a Canadian two dollar coin.
The buckwheat is blooming somewhat by accident. I had planted it as a cover crop before I put the peas in, but it never came up before it was time for the peas to be planted, so I figured the seed was no longer viable as it had been several weeks. I threw in the peas, and a little while later all the buckwheat started popping up! I tried initially to pull it out (tedious), but eventually gave up and allowed it to grow together with the peas. I was worried it would shade them out, but the peas came up faster and the opposite almost happened. Buckwheat is tenacious, and didn't allow that to stop it from blooming. Right now it is going to seed and I am hand harvesting it (also tedious) to get the largest yield possible from my small accidental crop. The amount I have growing makes this feasible, but I would not recommend it if you were growing any more than me! Normally you should wait until somewhere between 75-90% of the seed is ready on the plant and harvest then. The seeds mature at all different times, so you don't want to wait too long or the seeds will drop and you will have more buckwheat growing. Did I mention it was tenacious?
Most people let buckwheat grow and then till it under for green manure, but there is a benefit to allowing it to flower since bees absolutely love it! I am trying to incorporate more flowers in my garden (bonus points if they are also edible like the nasturtiums!) to encourage more pollinators and beneficial insects to visit.