Fruit seeds rarely produce a similar tree or fruit as the parent. That is one of the many reasons fruit trees are usually grafted.
— Marie Iannotti, The Spruce.com
The craziest things happen as a gardener even if you know for certain you’re not a good gardener. I like the idea of being a gardener; I like the results. At least most of the time I like the results. As life has slowed down, caring for the garden has become pleasant: preparing, planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding, deadheading, pruning, harvesting. It’s not that hard, but it’s not always productive either.
A few years back I purchased southeastern wildflower seeds for planting in the fall. Theoretically, the seeds would remain dormant until early spring when they would then bloom. Only this year did the wildflowers take hold and bloom — coreopsis, cosmos, primrose, and purple coneflowers. It’s a sight watching the blooming flowers blow in the wind. There is an abundance of flowers to cut, arrange, share and enjoy. However, this year in early spring I thought I might order a packet for spring planting. The “Cut Flower Mix” along with a packet of zinnias called “Cactus Flowered Mix” arrived. Both of the spring collections are blooming wildly. I’m sure the rain and sun has helped tremendously. The Cactus zinnia is unusual looking. Rather than the soft rounded petals of a traditional zinnia, the petals are pointed. The seed catalog said the flowers would bloom through November.
A few years ago, we started composting all of our organic throwaways. By recycling paper and plastics this leaves us with very little garbage. A small table top garbage can from one of the dollar stores with a lever that pops the top up sits on the kitchen counter beside the coffee pot. On the inside is a removable bucket. Having this little can makes composting convenient. For planting I mix half compost and half potting soil. The compost soil produces amazing earthworms helping to aerate our Prairie clay. Just last week I found squash seeds had germinated in the compost. I’m looking forward to the possibility of having recycled squash for dinner. With a number of fruits and vegetables I have tried to recycle the seed in one way or another. As it turns out not all seeds are “true.”
Planting pineapple tops resulted in about ten pineapple plants. One plant produced two pineapples and another is now producing one in the sunroom. One sweet red pepper produced about fifty pepper plants. I’m still waiting to see if I might harvest a sweet red pepper. A greenhouse tomato plant from last year survived the icy winter and produced tomatoes this year. A sweet potato having sprouted in the kitchen cabinet now has a lovely sweet potato vine trellising on the porch. The dozen or so Hass avocado seeds have three toothpicks plunged into them while they hover over jars filled with water. Of those only one is now a three-foot tree. If I should get some crazy avocado from this tree, it will not be a Hass. The Hass avocado is a cultivar-a grafted tree. Inside that golf ball size seed its DNA contains all the characteristics of its family tree. There’s one in a million chances it will produce a genuine Hass avocado. Not all seeds are true to its kind.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a writer, who lives in the Prairie. Her e-mail is email@example.com.