Real Men Sow

When Vegetables Defy Logic – Am I Actually Needed on the Plot??

Every so often, something baffling happens on the plot that makes me wonder if I should throw all my seeds into one bucket and simply scatter them on my beds willy-nilly.

Take today for example. I was digging over beds and pulled up the fairly handsome carrots in the picture. They’re far from world beaters, but not bad by my erratic carrot growing standards.

Random Carrots Exceed Planned Carrots
The daft thing is, these carrots are better than anything I grew ‘properly’ last summer. I’ve not watered or weeded them. I’ve trampled on them numerous times whilst harvesting nearby veg. They’ve sat in the ground all winter, with me regularly looking at the row thinking ‘I can’t be bothered to clear that now. I’ll do it in spring’.

In the meantime, they’ve grown into reasonable carrots, despite zero attention from me.

My best ever cauliflower followed this path too. I’d almost forgotten about it, giving all my attention to summer staples instead. Then, out of nowhere, a massive cauli head appeared.

Is There Any Logic to All This GYO??
It is happenings like this that leave me pondering whether there is any rhyme nor reason to this GYO lark after all. Sure, I manure the ground, rake the soil to a fine tilth and sow the seeds, but after that does my presence and input on the plot actually make a huge amount of difference to the growing of vegetables?

I spent a few weeks on a farm in the Pyrenees once upon a time, with a couple called Jasmin and Erwin. Jasmin was adamant she didn’t need to water her veg. The rain would do it for her, she claimed. Jasmin also grew by the lunar calendar, and only ever weeded by this programme too.

There were weeds everywhere, but the veg had grown aplenty. Jasmin would have liked to weed, but she was flat out with the farm. It did go to show the strength of her plants though.

I’ve got lots more example of unexplainable veg growth, from forgotten aubergines to tomatoes and chard that sow themselves all over the place.

Tomatoes are an interesting one. I’ve got a friend who works in refuse, and tells me that the big rubbish tips are full of healthy tomato plants during summer.

So, once my soil is ready, I’m going to combine all my seeds and fling them around the plot with gay abandon. I’ll then sprinkle some soil over the top, put my feet up, and look forward for reaping vegetable rewards.

I jest, of course.

Tempting though…


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  1. Claire BensonMarch 13, 2012 at 1:21 pmReply

    Hi Jono

    Love your curly wurly carrots :) Look far more exciting ones than you would even find at the farmers market.

    When walking around anywhere I garden, I try and see where things end up self seeding themselves and growing. I then use this info as locations to grow other things similar. The lazy thinking behind this being if nature chooses to grow there then it must work so I’ll plant more of the same. Mustard was the main one that was growing wild. It self seeded under a bay tree and had grown to a fairly big cluster so that was where I grew my salad last year. It kind of makes sense – that spot gets a little bit of morning sunshine but then is shaded by the tree through the hotter parts of the day. I hardly had any bolting.

    So going back to your idea of chucking all your seeds in a bucket and then scattering them willy nilly – I think its a great idea.

    In the meantime, I will take all the mental notes of where my veg self seeds

    • Jono

      JonoMarch 15, 2012 at 8:57 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Claire, thanks for your great comment.

      Think its my stony soil that does that to my carrots. I got all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes.

      Watching what seeds itself where is a great idea. Chard seems to love self seeding itself all over the plot, but I’ve also had tomatoes, garlic, lettuce and squashes do it too. Never occurred to me that this is probably because they like it there.

  2. TimMarch 15, 2012 at 8:35 pmReply

    Jono – veg must have got somewhere without humans. That’s what I say when ever I plant something. I give them a bit of water but generally they’re on their own.

    Beetroot and carrots do seem to do their best when left alone though!

  3. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Its March! What Can I Sow?March 15, 2012 at 10:14 pmReply

    [...] When Vegetables Defy Logic – Am I Actually Needed on the Plot?? [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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