Plants have one primary goal: to reproduce themselves. As much as we'd like to think their whole M.O. is to find themselves on our dinner plate, if we don't interrupt them, they'll flower and then make seeds. Sometimes these seeds are inside the fruit and vegetables we eat (think tomatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers), but sometimes the seeds grow on the plant itself if we let it (herbs, onions, lettuce, greens). We don't often see the seeds that grow on plants unless we let the plant continue in its life cycle beyond the harvest season and "go to seed." If we're not too impatient or pressed for space in the garden, there are lots of reasons to let this happen. Read on for our top three reasons to get a little seedy in the garden patch:
1. Flowers on herbs and veggies attract pollinators and beneficial insects such a bees, butterflies, birds, and green lacewing, keeping the garden ecosystem healthy and balanced.
2. Seeds are delicious! Harvest seeds of coriander, mustard, and dill for pickling and spicing food. Wait until the seedpods are completely mature and dried before harvesting.
3. Many plants reseed themselves--we like to plant basil (summer) and cilantro (winter) in the same bed-they share space and grow again and again in alternating seasons from the previous season's seeds.