Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Calendula or Bachelor Button

Every year, it seems, I have an unexpected plant growing in my garden.  I'm always intrigued as to how it got there and what exactly it is.

This year our mystery plant (I should say plants, because there's dozens of them) look like this:
At first I thought they might be calendula, since we actually sowed some of them last year.  It would make sense that they would reseed themselves.

My gardening neighbours suggested they might be bachelor buttons. Apparently they're everywhere in the garden plots this spring.  They're also self-seeding so it wouldn't be a big surprise to see them being distributed from one garden plot to the other by the cultivator or by wind.

Whether they're calendula or bachelor buttons, as I now suspect, do I let them grow or do I treat them like a weed?  Are they sucking precious nutrients and water from the soil?  Are they attracting pests that will harm my precious veggies?  Are they an unpleasant nuisance hindering the growth of more "superior" plants?

No. In fact, they're pretty, attract beneficial insects to the garden, and make great cut flowers.  The main concentration is growing in my squash patch, which is bare right now and will be for some time until the squash takes over.  I'd rather have them growing there than more ferocious weeds like thistles or quack grass.

Looks like I'll have some lovely flowers growing in my garden this summer - whether they're orange calendula or blue bachelor buttons.  


WolfSong said...

Great article about you in the Lance this week! I'm glad to see Fruit Share taking off, it's a wonderful idea, and benefits so many. I have recommended Fruit Share to my neighbors, who have a huge apple tree that they can never seem to use all of...even after they give tons away! It would be great for them to share the fruit. :)

getty said...

Thanks WolfSong. It's great to hear from you again, how's your gardening this year? Trying anything new?

WolfSong said...

New for me this year is leeks. I had bought some, cut their ends off, and re-rooted them. As soon as the ground was workable, out they went. They seem to be growing well. :)

My other new thing is white tomatoes. I saw the seeds on Baker Creek, and just had to try them. Now, if only the rain would stop long enough for me to get them in the ground!

Getty Stewart said...

Great idea re the leeks! I start mine from seeds. They're so little when they I set them out it's hard to separate them. But, on the other hand one seed packet goes a long long way.

Can you believe the amazing variety of tomatoes out there?! I've got black and purple ones.