Self-Seeding Veg & Herbs

This is just a small sample of the enormous range of veg and herbs that if left to their own devices will propagate themselves. I call this ‘whole life cycle’ gardening. It has enormous benefits not just for us but also for wildlife. When you leave a vegetable to flower and set seed, you firstly benefit insects who benefit from the nectar and then you help birds and small mammals, who benefit from the seeds (finches love brassica seeds!). There is always plenty of seed, so what the birds don’t eat, falls on the ground and then hey presto! seedlings start to germinate and produce fresh green and tasty leaves for your salad. If you allow this to happen you will have salad leaves for the entire year – yes every single month of year, including the middle of winter, you will be able to find some fresh leaves to add to your meal. Eating like this has great health benefits, not only with the wealth of vitamins, minerals and fibre that are added to your daily diet but it is fantastic for your gut biome. But eating straight from your garden also has another surprising additional benefit – by eating leaves that aren’t washed in chlorophyll and are literally minutes from being harvested, you are also ingesting beneficial bacteria. Studies have shown that adding good bacteria to your diet increases gut health and can help to prevent ill health. (All photos  are by Michele Fitzsimmons and copyrighted unless otherwise stated.  Permission must be granted before using.)