August, 4th Week - Flowers In The Veg Patch
Dirty Nails writes from personal experience, having supplied his family of four over the years with enough fresh produce to eat their fill. His book combines his love of gardening with the natural pleasures of being outdoors and 'in amongst it'. The author seeks to de-mystify the art of kitchen and allotment gardening, making the thrills, spills, triumphs and tribulations accessible to all-comers, whatever their level of gardening experience.
FLOWERS IN THE VEG PATCH
Dirty Nails loves traditional agricultural weeds like poppies, corn cockle, cornflower, corn marigold and the wild pansy, heartsease. These flowers grew in vast numbers before the use of weedkillers became widespread. If given a chance they will still thrive on regularly disturbed land and are very at home growing in amongst his vegetables. Dirty Nails does not allow these flowers to take over, and is constantly weeding them out. However he always allows a few specimens of his favourite species to bloom and set seed.
This week he has been collecting the ripe seeds of corn cockle and heartsease so he can sow them and grow them where he wants to next year. He gathers flower seeds during dry sunny weather, shaking them into paper bags. Wild flowers in the veg patch can be very pleasing to look at and will attract all sorts of bees and other useful insects. He is convinced that growing wild flowers and veg together like this creates a healthy, naturally balanced environment.
NATURAL HISTORY IN THE GARDEN
Badgers in August
The calendula, or pot marigold, which Dirty Nails grows around the edges of his veg patch, are now thick with both flowers and ripe seeds. This plant is grown to stop encroaching couch grass, which cannot tolerate residing in amongst calendula roots. He has been filling jam jars with their dry seeds, in preparation for sowing next spring. This will not only keep the plot free of troublesome couch, but also saves Dirty Nails a packet on purchasing seeds.