It happens all the time. I know I should just put that lovely perfect plump key lime seed in the compost bin but I could nearly just as easily pop it into a little pot and sprout it, right? I know in my head that the odds of my ever getting a fruit from this plant are somewhere in the region of never, but I just can’t help myself. Same with rooting or sprouting stuff. Same with buying strange plants. My seed collection is getting ridiculous. Looking around at the plants in the sunroom, where I’m sitting by the fireplace happily surrounded by weekend reading of gardening books and cookbooks, there is: passion fruit, avocado, coffee, kumquat, lime, pineapple, guava, lemongrass grown from a stalk, a big pot of experimental ginger about ready for harvest, a big pot of bay laurel plants and some sort of orange tree that I bought so long ago I can’t remember what it is (it has never given me fruit, but one of these days I will successfully impregnate a bloom). And a bunch of the usual suspects: orchids, African violets, aloe, cyclamen, goldfish plant, paperwhites, jade plant and a couple small trees.
Upstairs in my day job office/grow-room (which is pretty empty since sowing season is still a couple months away) there’s a key lime, hot peppers, a Meyer lemon with three different ages of lemon (ripe, half way there and little green lemon nubs still surrounded by petals and pollen), sprouting garlic bulbils, lemongrass grown from seed and wait for it, broad beans (I acknowledge this one may have been overly optimistic but it is about to bloom). Also there is a plant waste bin containing the remains of the vanilla orchid I have finally killed and other not successful experiments which I will not list. This habit has crept into the regular garden as well. We now pretty much only grow open pollinated so we can save seed and mostly but not all heirloom plants.
After I had already sown the garden this year, I read Mark Diacono’s The Food Lover’s Garden. The message of this book was basically that it makes more sense to grow food that you love that is hard to find and let other people grow the usual food (also usually cheap to buy) rather than waste your garden space/resources on it. My bed of common yellow onions immediately came to mind at the time and this fall I’ve planted Egyptian wandering onions which are both unusual and practical as they will just spread around the garden for ever more. I recently ordered tea plant seeds and hope to be drinking Stanley Cottage Tea in the future (just for us, not a business). I am contemplating new herbs and fruits to grow that would be good for tea blends and I am researching tea leaf processing.
I am in full seed catalogue anticipation mode (that lovely feeling you get as you wait for them to arrive through the slot in the door, same as Winnie the Pooh felt as he looked forward to eating his honey).
And lastly, on the same subject of seeds, we picked and ate our first salsify this week. They say it tastes like oysters. I’m not sure about that but it is lovely roasted and unlike any other root veg we’ve had to date.