Here in Arrakis, I mean California, we’re in the midst of a terrible drought. And unfortunately, most of the seeds we buy for our vegetable gardens are adapted to require lots of water. One solution is to find veggies that have reseeded accidentally without supplemental irrigation. Here’s a short list of reseeding rogue veggies from our garden that have thrived with just the small burst of rain we got last month. New Zealand Spinach
The one I’m most excited about is New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides). It’s reappeared for at lest three years now. And for us it’s much easier to grow than (unrelated) spinach.
Fennel also comes back every year–so much so that if we don’t stay on top of weeding we’d end up with a fennel forest. I wouldn’t plant this if I lived on the edge of a nature preserve, but here in the middle of the city I find it useful. When in bloom it’s also host to an incredible array of pollinators.
This rogue squash is a real surprise. It popped up in a new raised bed and is already almost five feet long. I’m not going to let this one grow because I don’t have the space to take a chance with a, most likely, bitter squash.
I threw a bunch of expired mustard seeds from a friend’s pantry around the yard in the fall. This was a bit foolish. Mustard has popped up everywhere. I’ve been feeding most of it to our cooped up chickens.
It doesn’t rain here in the summer, so I suspect most of these plants will fade out if I don’t water them. And the mustard is already going to seed. My big regret with this unintentional garden is that I did not take notes as to when these plants sprouted. A little citizen science would really help when it comes time to figuring out when to plant things in our quirky, rare and changing climate.
What volunteers do you have in your climate?