Heirloom Vegetable Seeds
By Sandy Swegel
I was noticing very happy pollinators this week: honey bees and native bees, tiny flies, lacewings.
And the air was abuzz with hummingbirds and their look-a-likes sphinx moth. Noticing that pollinators were all around is the first step. Then I looked for where they were gathered….because that meant I had somehow (accidentally) created a habitat that they loved.
The best habitat of the day was a patch of carrots abandoned last year in the back of the garden which had entirely gone to seed. There were dozens of different kinds of happy flying beneficials on it. It was at a slightly wet end of the row so that helped. I’ll never pull the last carrot again. What I didn’t know until this week is that carrot flowers are pale pink. Very sweet in a big patch.
I like to leave carrots in the ground in winter. I eat them until the ground freezes because they get sweeter and sweeter each day. Then I’m happy for them to get frozen solid because many of them turn to mush and by the time I dig them in early spring, there are writhing masses of earthworms feast. But the carrots that don’t turn to mush, make beautiful flowers their second year.
There was another surprise areas abuzz yesterday. I headed out to a patch of fallen lambs ear that looked spent. From a distance, the flowers were all brown. Lambs ear are beautiful and drought tolerant, but they will seed everywhere. I was about to pull out fifty or so plants that barely had any flowers left…but the bees had a strong opinion that they wanted the last of those flowers. So one more week for the lamb’s ears. I know they’ll drop seeds. But the bees had the final say. Everything for our bee overlords.