So what edible/useful plants pop up in lead contaminated soil along a hot, dry alternately sun-baked and deep-shaded south side of a house in Southern California? After dumping a load of compost along our side yard, mother nature is doing her own food forestry experiment. This month the following things popped up out of that load of compost:
- stinging nettle
Elsewhere in the yard, New Zealand spinach has popped up on its own. I doubt the stinging nettle or nasturtium will hang on for long (it’s out of season for those plants here). But I’m willing to bet that the tomatoes, New Zealand spinach, fennel and cardoon will take. Because of the lead, the only thing I would eat of that bunch are the tomatoes (fruit usually does not take up heavy metals). Still, I think bio-activity in the soil in the form of microorganisms and plants will, over a very long period, help remediate that contamination.
More and more, I’m drawn to vegetables that easily re-seed themselves and grow without any fuss. And knowing when to plant things can be tricky, so watching nature’s own timing can provide important clues. I’ve taken to moving some of these self-seeded plants to our raised beds. And I’ve pledged to take better notes (this blog post, for instance) to keep a record of what comes up on its own and when.
So tell us where you are and what’s sprouting on it’s own this spring in your garden?