While everyone else is talking about how tall their tomato plants are, I am more excited about the height of the ruby chard, which has run to seed and will provide me with thousands of seeds for sowing later.
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful and creative are the different stages of plant growth. From a tiny, knobbly, chard seed sprouts a vivid red stem and lime green first leaves. Next come oval shaped, darker green leaves which are still without their final display of texture and a brilliant red main vein.
The whole plant then shoots skyward. The red stem becomes a solid trunk, the leaves shrink and give their energy to insignificant flowers. Before you know it, there are thousands of green seed heads becoming heavy as they mature, causing the plant to topple. I tie one or 2 to a stake and remove the rest….. but it breaks my heart to pull them out before the end of their life as they have given so much.
This is the job I did yesterday, finding that, once staked, they reached far above my head. I stood and looked at them. Awesome. As I lifted them to the stake I saw new life emerging below. Seeds from last season’s chard is germinating everywhere. Seeing new life made me feel ok about pulling out the old life (or cutting them off at ground level so as not to disturb the babies).
Once you have your favourite chard growing, you never have to buy or sow the seeds again. Food, for free, forever, with no work….. that’s my kind of food and my kind of garden.