I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner. It's brilliant—the best thing to happen to gardening since sliced bread. Yeah, well … hey—gardeners eat sandwiches too. I mean, as long as they're gluten-free—for this gardener anyway. So I guess it's the best thing to happen to gardening since gluten-free sliced bread … which, If I'm going to be completely honest, and with few exceptions, is pretty awful. But at least it's bread. And it's sliced. So that's something. Maybe, in retrospect, not something to include on a great-moments-in-gardening timeline, but if you stick around you'll see that this post deals in part with laziness, and, that being the case, I see no reason to waste my time deleting things I've already committed to text. So butter yourself a nice slice of particle-board GF toast and pretend this first paragraph never happened.
What in the name of gobsmacked heck am I talking about? Well, if you'd bothered to read the title, you'd see I'm newly enamored with the time-honored gardening tradition of “saving seed”. Yes, in quotation marks. It started out without them—a genuine desire to leave various heirloom vegetable crops in the ground long enough for them to flower and produce seed, which could then be collected, dried, and saved for sowing at a later date. In this way, I could theoretically do away with the overflowing grab bag of impulse-buys that is my annual seed catalog order.
In practice, however, and to date, I have saved … no seed. None. Sorry. One of two possible fates awaits each crop I leave in the ground tagged for seed-collecting: 1.) After a couple weeks it becomes so overgrown, pest-riddled, and generally hideous I am compelled to attack it by some urgent combination of horror, shame, and self-defense or, 2.) I just forget about it, becoming gradually more desensitized to its malignant presence until the window for meaningful seed-collecting shuts behind my back and I'm left wondering what all those brown, brittle corpses in the vegetable garden are.
|Beets, firmly in category 2.|
The previously alluded-to brilliance (and the origin of those suspicious quotation-marks) lies in the latter fate. For, as it turns out, I can justify almost any failed gardening experiment, fatal procrastination, poor plant placement, general lapse in sound horticultural practice, or just plain laziness as part of my grand “seed-saving” scheme. Nope, that plant's not dead. Just waitin' for those seeds. Yep, that one too. And that one. And that one—look, I've got a lot of “seed to save”, okay?
Do note, however, that this cunning little strategy does not translate well into other branches of domestic/professional life. Repeated failures to fold my laundry, for example, are not so easily written off as “saving seed”, no matter how insistent my appeals to time-honoredness or economic efficiency. And the neighbors' dirty looks, unfortunately, can only be averted from your overgrown lawn for so long before your “saving seed” argument wears thin.