The following is a guest post with some fun seed planting suggestions from regular reader TB. -DTG
Planting seeds does not have to be “clean”. Some gardeners believe that if they are to plant seeds, they must be clean – washed, dried, and foreign materials removed like you will get in seeds sold by a seeds store. This is not the case, obviously.
You can take the innards of a melon – wet seeds plus those “strings” and plant them, right out of the melon.
Ditto for butternut and other winter squashes.
Tomatoes – only heirloom tomatoes are true to form; modern hybrids may produce tiny cherry tomatoes – similar to those in tomatoes that grow out of sewage sludge or the over-romanticized Everglades tomato (which almost surely is a seedling from sewage sludge). Anyway, mash up the tomato or slice it in small pieces – plant the mash or slices, cover with soil and wait.
This should work with eggplants but I rarely eat them and never grow them so have not tried. Peppers are often sold at an immature stage so the seeds might not sprout (green peppers).
Blueberries and Other Fruit
Blueberries – plant the whole fruit, or slice in half and plant that. Goji berries – plant the whole fruit. Fruits with large seeds in the center (mango. stone fruits in temperate climates) – bury the whole fruit (good way to use damaged or spoiled fruit).
Let Your Plants Go to Seed
Let your veggies go to seed and you may have many volunteer seedlings at a later date.
Seed planting does not have to be “orderly” or “sanitary” – after all, you will cover them with dirt at planting time!
* * *
Rachel and I have planted with some of these messy, hands-off methods and had good luck with some of them. It worked great with pumpkins and melons but didn’t work well with peppers which TB also noted.
Get out there and try some crazy planting. Nature throws seeds around – why let her have all the fun?
Every year I let my basil go to seed and leave the dried-up basil plants in my herb garden. In spring, I pull them up, and whack them on the ground; rake the dirt a bit; and voila – basil grows!
That’s great. I had a local guy tell me to try doing that with tobacco. I think I will.
Eggplant is also sold immature – ripe eggplant is usually dull and yellow or brownish. (A few varieties and turn orange.)
If you can get your hands on a ripe eggplant, you can just drop it on the ground where you want new plants. But it takes a long time for the fruit to rot completely so the seeds can sprout.
In North Florida, it works well to let a ripe eggplant drop off the plant in the fall; in spring many eggplant seedlings will come up. This also works with ripe (not green) peppers. I get volunteers every spring in the spots where I grew peppers the year before. The problem is that the seedlings sometimes come up before the last frost if there is a long warm spell in winter. Then the seedlings have to be protected until the danger of frost is past.
I don’t know whether eggplant or pepper seeds would survive the winter outside in cold winter areas.
This is exactly what I do. I have stopped ‘planting’ squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, sunflowers, vine beans, lettuce, arugula, radishes and some others. I had some luck this year with muskmelons and watermelons coming back. Tobacco kind of works in my region, but our growing season is a bit too short in the northern Midwest, so not guaranteed to reseed.
I still plant corn, upright beans, carrots, beets as these don’t seed easily in one season.
My technique to to allow some of the plants to mature, and then to trample or scatter the seeds about the surface of the garden in the Fall. Rotten tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers etc I just squash underfoot and kick around. Then in the spring till the ground. I plant whatever I plan to in rows, and as I am weeding I watch carefully and leave alone anything that looks like a veggie sprout.
This year I left one garden fallow, and scattered wildflower seeds all over the surface. In spite of planting nothing, I am getting lots of tomatoes, sage, pumpkins, a few potatoes, lettuce, arugula and whatever. The only drawback is weeding is a bit particular, since you have to know your sprouts, and nothing is in rows. Plus, my wife is a neatness freak, and this type of gardening drives her nuts. She likes rows.
That is great – I am with you. Would love to see pictures of your gardens. Self-seeded plants seem to do much better than transplants, and the very best ones thrive.
[…] Tom Bri comments on TB’s guest post Planting Seeds the Easy Way: […]