Thursday, June 7, 2018

Gardening notes: F-it plants

There comes a time during the planting season when the gardener says "F-it, I am done."

That often happens before the entire garden is planted.  The gardener is confronted with a choice.  He can allow the rest of the garden to come up in weeds thereby ensuring an endless supply of weed seeds and ticks, or he can plant the rest of the garden with F-it plants.

F-it plants are those species that can be planted effortlessly and will consume hundreds of square feet of garden space.  In very rough terms, F-it plants fall into two, broad categories:  Green Manure and Vining.

Green manure plants include buckwheat, annual ryegrass, sudan grass, turnips and the like.  They are typically seeded by literally throwing the seed into the wind, that is, broadcasting.  They grow thickly enough that they choke out most weeds.

Vining plants require a little bit more work.  In my case I sprayed the weedy, unplanted remnants of my garden with glyphosate and then planted the squash and melon seeds a few days later.  The seeds of vining plants demand warm soil to germinate. That works out well because the F-it moment usually occurs in early June.

The seeds have names intended to capture the imagination of the ambitious gardener; names like Winter Sweet, Sweet Meat, Dunja, Mini Love, Suger Cube,  Sweet Beauty, and New Orchid.  My heartburn is that $3-to-$5 buys sixteen seeds.

One of the less expensive choices.
There must be a cheaper way, especially when your garden is infested with cut-worms and some seedlings suffer 70% mortality.

Are you thinking what I am thinking?  Those suckers are full of seeds.  Yeah, I know that F1 hybrids won't come true-to-type from seeds, but I bet both parents were delicious melons.  While the vines are not likely to be as productive and will ripen melons at different times and the melons will be different sizes and shapes, I am willing to bet my time that nearly every melon will be delicious.

About three hundred seeds by my rough count.
If challenged I might respond, "Sure, they are hybrids.  They are F-it hybrids."

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