Identity problems in the garden

My gardens are full of excitement at the moment and it was a real joy to get out and muddy this morning. πŸ™‚ However, I’ve been having some identification problems.

The front garden is destined to become a perennial food forest with fruit trees and all manner of perennial fruits and flowers (bee fodder) and slowly it’s heading that way. I like things that self sow, grow easily, nutrient dense and that will all grow well together and so I’ve been doing what I call the mad fairy seed dance around the garden. It involves taking whatever seed I intend to let run wild and dancing around the garden like a demented marionette in the hands of a drunk lunatic throwing seed left right and centre. It’s rather amusing although likely scares the neighbours somewhat. I know they already think I’m crazy but this is a whole new level. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’ve been looking at 2 garden beds in particular that appear to be full of grass. It looks like it needs a heavy-duty weeding session but something inside me has warned me not to do so but I could not figure out why. Today I sat down and gave them a partial weed, pulling out those plants I could easily identify as grass that was not welcome. However the remaining grassy stems I left, greatly puzzled as to what they were.

One of the garden beds in question.

One of the garden beds in question.

The unidentified plant

The unidentified plant

Chives I got. I transplanted these here not long ago. Not very healthy at the moment but they should come back in Spring ready to take over the world.

Chives I got. I transplanted these here not long ago. Not very healthy at the moment but they should come back in Spring ready to take over the world.

I even recognised the baby rainbow chard. So did the snails I guess.

I even recognised the baby rainbow chard. So did the snails I guess.

And the spring onions were no problem either. Even the comfrey (bottom left) was recognisable easily.

And the spring onions were no problem either. Even the comfrey (bottom left) was recognisable easily.

But this one... Wanted or not?

But this one… Wanted or not?

I finally figured it out. FoodnStuff should pick this one I think. If not, here’s a hint. “My fluffy bits are bigger than your fluffy bits!” Got it yet? πŸ˜‰

It’s a rather pretty plant, tall grass-like leaves (edible) and pretty purple flowers that turn into massive fluffy seed heads. Grows wild and is usually harvested for its roots. Yep, Salsify! It is EVERYWHERE so I guess I’d better start researching recipes! πŸ˜€ I am so glad my mad fairy dances are working. πŸ˜‰

I built a rather long hugel bed the other weed and buried it all about 6 inches deep in pondweed and rotting manure. I took a chance and planted out into it the other day and so far everything is thriving. I guess it’s the equivalent to me being planted in raw, organic, fair trade chocolate or some such. πŸ˜›Β There are bulbs coming up, plants with their flowers still going strong and everything looks as happy as that pig in, well, manure! I guess they are after all. πŸ˜‰ I repotted my rather pathetic water chestnut corms too. From reading I’ve since done, the crop was tinyΒ due to a too small pot. I’ve separated the 9 corms into 9 much larger pots, put them in good potting mix and topped them off with pebbles (to hold the soil in place) and into the pond they’ve gone. As much as I read you store them in the fridge over winter until you’re ready to plant again I figure in the wild they’d stay immersed in the mud until spring so no refrigeration here.

I saw severalΒ tadpoles in the pond too, all just starting to grow their back legs in. Boatmen, midges and several large water snails went about their business as I submerged pots. It’s great to see such life in the pond. Fish once again come spring though. I miss my fish.

Garlic and onions are popping up their sprouting leaves, broad beans and turnips are waving at the sun. Even my frost sensitive Mangle wurzel keeps keeping on and the frosts haven’t slowed my passionfruit in the slightest so I have hopes of its survival now. Still, too early to count those chickens. πŸ˜‰

I just adore gardening in autumn. So much life and so few concerns. No worries about frosts killing things as they’re all frost-hardy,Β and aside from watching to make sure we get enough rain (Thursday nights deluge saw that we do), there is so little to do. Leaves for composting, the grass is growing again and that means mowing for more composting supplies. Eggs are back in season here with up to 6 (including 2 duck eggs) a day and the weather is also helping the breakdown of the straw and manure too. Bulbs are coming up which means soon lots of delicious erlicheer jonquils and some daffodils to smile about and Ignisa is burning away merrily each night where we cook on her heat too which keeps those electric bills down. The solar hot water and the water jacket on the back of the fire mean guaranteed hot water one way or the other and once again all is verdant green.

What is happening in your garden?

 

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9 thoughts on “Identity problems in the garden

  1. Sounds like paradise to me πŸ™‚

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Had a smile at the ‘fluffy bits’ Actually when I looked at the picture I was going to say ‘plantain’, but the description soon gave it away. I haven’t grown it this year; I had so much trouble digging up the roots last year that I’m going to have to create a really deep bed of soft soil for it.

    I grew water chestnuts a few years ago in an old bath tub. I got hundreds but they were small and I could never find out how to peel them. Any clues? I would grow them again if I could find out.

    Eggs are NOT back on the menu here and we DIDN’T get a deluge last Thursday (sob!), otherwise I agree with autumn gardening as good.

    Like the previous commenter said: sounds like paradise out there.

    • I think it’s paradise. It’s MY paradise I guess and that’s what counts for me. πŸ™‚

      I have no advice on water chestnuts either but I have read that they are best cooked as they can harbour a nasty parasite when raw.

      Your fluffy bits post had me giggling when first I read it and just had to share it again!. πŸ™‚ Plantain I have too. It’s right throughout the green stuff we rather amusingly think of as lawn around here. πŸ˜‰

  3. You sound positively joyful this week πŸ™‚ Your garden sounds like ours in Spring, but not Autumn! What’s happening in ours? An awful lot of frosty mornings and that’s about it πŸ™‚

  4. Lynda says:

    I’ll have these please

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/09/salsify-recipes-hugh-fearnley-whittingstall

    If you are wanting some plant labels i have a box of them at work made from the traffolyte offcuts – i used the guillotine to make them into plant labels. Just write on them and stick them in the ground.

    Rob and i were laughing about the image of you dancing around your garden – i hope you had your “Heidi” braids and an apron on.

    You are such a wordsmith and i love your writing. πŸ™‚

    • Plant labels, yes please Lynda! And thanks for the link too. I’m off to read it now. πŸ™‚
      Wordsmith is a bit generous but thank you for the intensely wonderful compliment! πŸ™‚ Made my day reading that. πŸ˜€

  5. narf77 says:

    How would I know what is happening in the garden…I am hiding under the bed! πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, I WISH I was as organised as you are but alas, I am not. I wonder if that salsify was from what I sent to Bev from here? (That’s if you got seed from Bev?) Do you know when to harvest yacon and what the heck to do with it in order to replant it? I have yacon tubers and my yacon is still growing so I have NO idea what to do with it! Let me know ASAP so I can do what has to be done with it…(please) πŸ˜‰

    • No our salsify are from our own garden. I found this pretty purple flower growing like weeds all through our grass (there is no way I could call this lawn) but didn’t identify it until I saw a post on permapoesis about them. Google helped me confirm positive identity and so I dug up a heap and replanted them in the garden. They took, despite being a root crop and I collected and mad fairy danced the seeds around the garden. πŸ™‚
      As for yacon, you know more than I do! Truly. I wouldn’t have a clue although Bev might as she grows it too. πŸ™‚

      • narf77 says:

        I will fire a missive off to Bev, cheers for that gem. I have tubers and need to know when to harvest them and how to keep the rhizomes happy till they have to be planted out again (or if I just leave them in place? WHO KNOWS!) πŸ˜‰

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