Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Harvest's Dragon Vetch

I have been encouraging this spring wild flower to inter-grow in my beds and borders for a number of years. It’s not invasive, it’s a great nitrogen fixer, it produces a good amount of organic matter, it’s easy to pull or cut, and it is cheerful and attractive.

This year I noticed something totally new about the Dragon Vetch growing in my yard. The pods no longer pop flinging the seed far and wide as soon as they are ripe. In fact on the wreath pictured only one pod has popped, even though we have been in triple digits for the better part of a week.

In the book, “The Emergence of Agriculture,” by Bruce D. Smith, the author discusses how one of the first morphological changes plants make on the road from wild to cultivated - is losing the ability to disperse seed. I am pretty dang excited to be seeing that exact thing happening in my yard.

Since I have been collecting the seeds and then tossing them where I want to grow – I have, really without even thinking about it, been selecting for pods that don’t pop. Those non-popping pods' seeds get to grow places I want them, and the seeds from pods that pop are more likely to end up getting mowed or weeded out. So, now I have these fabulous black pods for wreathes and dry arrangements . . . (I have another pic of the whole wreathe, and for some reason Blogger won't let me up load it. If you really want to see it leave me a comment and I will up load it another day . . .)

Bruce Smith, in the afore mentioned book, states that the next morphological change found in early cultivated plants is enlarged seeds. So, I collected a bunch of the pods for seeds and I think I will hand select out the larger seeds, just to see what happens. If you would like to grow some of my Dragon Vetch for your projects add it to your list of free seeds to request from me this fall.

Search my blog for “free seeds” and stay tuned to find out what all is being offered. To order your free seeds you will need to send me two stamps, a self addressed mailing label, and small labled zip-lock bags for each type of seed you would like. There is a limit of ten varieties per request. Once you get your list together, e-mail me to make sure that the seeds are still in stock. I can’t garentee that I won’t run out before I get your request – but at least you will have a better idea. e-mail: harvest95546@yahoo.com And seeds do not do well when shipped in the heat of summer – but if you send your request in the summer I will send them out as soon as I can.

For more information on the book: “The Emergence of Agriculture,” see: http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com/2006/01/seedy-perspective.html

Oh, and by the way, I have started another blog for a piece of fiction I am working on. You can read the chapters as I draft them:
http://360.yahoo.com/harvest95546 (Look for the section called “Blog.”) Now that I have two main writing projects, I may only post here once a week or so . . .