Over the past number of years, I have strategically let some of the plants in my garden go to seed. It all started with me just being lazy and leaving plants in the ground longer than I was hoping. However, there were a number of benefits that came from letting these plants go to seed. Here are 3 reasons to let your plants go to seed:
1. Beautiful Flowers
Most of the plants I have let go to seed have surprisingly beautiful flowers. These include a variety of lettuces, kale, arugula, basil, radishes, and cilantro. When these plants have flowered, they add a striking beauty to my entire garden space with white, yellow,and pink flowers. For this reason alone, it is worth letting some of the plants in your garden go to seed.
2. Seeds for Next Year
The second benefit to letting your plants go to seed is that you can collect and save seeds for next year. If you haven’t let your plants go to seed and saved the seeds before, you will be surprised at how many seeds you can collect from each plant. The key is to allow the seed pods to dry out as much as possible before picking them. Then, let the seeds dry out a little more before putting them into an envelope to preserve for the next year’s planting. Last year I saved almost an entire mason jar full of scarlet runner beans. I have even just saved the entire stalks of basil that went to seed and then planted the whole stock in a little trench in the garden the next year. The basil sprouted perfectly and I enjoyed incredible basil all summer long.
3. Free Volunteer Plants each Spring
The last reason I let my plants go to seed is that I always get free volunteer plants each spring. This has been particularly true for my beets, tomatillos, tomatoes, radishes, nasturtium, and arugula. In fact, bought 3 tomatillo plants 4 years ago and have not bought another start since then. Each year I allow some of the tomatillos to remain on the plant until they drop into the garden bed. I leave them in the garden bed all winter long. Each Spring, I get dozens of tomatillo plants – so many that I have to weed many of them out and give them to friends and neighbors. This year, I also have about 7 nasturtium plants that came up from last year’s plants that went to seed and dropped into the garden bed. Nasturtiums give beautiful and edible flowers all season long.
For these 3 reasons, I highly recommending choosing to strategically let some of your plants go to seed each season. It will save you time and money buying starts each year as well as add incredible beauty to your garden beds throughout the growing season.
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