A Pocket full of Seeds

| Gardening, Kitchen Garden, Urban Permaculture | comments | Author :

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A pocket full of seeds. Ever since I heard of the concept, I’ve loved this idea. The idea of always, always having something in your pocket to sprinkle on any bare patch of ground that you see.

A day could start out completely ordinary. Nothing to see here.

But then, you’re walking along, and you spy a bare spot. Aha!

A sprinkle and a scuff (in lieu of mulch or covering the seed somehow, if there’s not time), and you’re done.

And maybe one day, someday soon, some gorgeous greenstuff will rise.

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It doesn’t have to be edible plants.

Indeed, sometimes, it’s better that they’re not edible – say if you’re in an industrial area, or somewhere with heavy metal loadings to consider (roadsides, etc).

But that doesn’t mean your pocket full of seeds can’t potentially help out.

Pollinators are everywhere – wasps, bees, small birds of all sorts. Critters of the ‘hood.

And they need nectar, pollen, seeds and habitat, to do what they do best.

So it’s a sprinkle of buckwheat, or queen anne’s lace. Of cosmos, coriander, clover or yarrow.

A sprinkle and a scuff, and you’re done.

Maybe it won’t all grow. And maybe it will.

If it doesn’t, the local ants (and maybe mice) will help you out.

And if it does – before you know it, the biodiversity of that patch of ground will have leapt ahead – with all sorts of miniature consequences.

In these times of change, in a world out of balance, this can only be a good thing.

Lately, I’ve had Good Bug Mix from Green Harvest Seeds in my pocket – it’s a mix of red clover, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, Queen Anne’s Lace, buckwheat, lucerne, dill, caraway, coriander, phacelia and gypsophila.

But you could use whatever is hardy, likely to grow, non-invasive and beneficial to your local pollinators.

You know what else? Any day I have a pocket full of seeds is a good day –  partly just because I know they’re there, this pocket of future flowers, food and forage.

It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do, about so very many things that deeply and truly matter. But then…

A sprinkle and a scuff, and there you go.

Potential small revolutions, in the face of all that’s around us.

I think this is what my pockets are for.

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Comments

7 responses to “A Pocket full of Seeds

  1. What is a friend to one can be a weed to another. A lovely sentiment about indiscriminate planting can result in ugly unintended consequences of European herbs and weeds colonising our precious bush and grassland reserves. Please take care when it comes to planting seeds….and make sure it is not another case of humans randomly interfering with nature even though the intention is benign.

    1. It’s a state of mind David. I heard someone up in the NT once claim that dingoes did not belong in Australia because they have only been here for 50,000 years. What does that say about us who have only been here for 200 years? Are you a native to your region David? If your ancestors are recent to your region are you then prepared to remove yourself from your location as a ‘human weed’. I read today that dwarf crocs have learned how to consume the legs of cane toads and avoid poisoning themselves. Nature will take care of itself no matter how much a nativist feels that they need to ‘rescue it’. My garden is full of natives and non natives. For me, the proof is in the pudding. This garden is full of life and it will only get better. When I am asked to do garden maintenance in more formal gardens, I see a lack of life and unnecessary labour. The war against weeds is futile and often involves the use of biocides which is one hell of a great way to kill all life not just non natives. Aside from that the seeds recommended in this column are just some of the most brilliant plants around for attracting life into a situation. This world will be greatly harmed by the continued use of plastics, chemicals and the pollutants of modern living long before it can possibly be harmed by plants ‘out of place’.

    2. Couldn’t agree more with David and hope something will be added to the post about being mindful about the seeds you plant and where you plant them.

      I hoped permaculturalists had got over this ‘nativist’ stuff Dean. There are many wonderful ideas in permaculture but this isn’t one of them.

      1. Su, I do volunteer work with my local conservation group. A terrific group of well meaning people. I love the work and I am just as keen to learn about natives as I am keen to learn about plants in general but when it is said over a cup of tea that Borage is a weed, then that is a position that I do not share. My observation is that wild nature will adapt itself to non natives quite readily. I saw the rare and endangered, solitary Blue Spotted bee one day in amongst the Chinese Forget Me Nots and I always see native birds making use of non native plants. The position of the conservationist is that the gumtree forest should be preserved or re-established in the urban landscape. Bill, has always pointed out that this reluctance to grow food in the suburbs only leads to pressure on old growth wilderness to be cleared for agriculture. In fact it has just been in the news that 500,000 hectares of the Great Western Woodlands in WA is under threat to be cleared for agriculture. To me this underlines Mollison’s argument. Where I live in the Blue Mountains, has been under the strong influence of local conservationists for many years and the result is a landscape full of gums and pines with almost no evidence of any food production. (it is difficult to grow food under pines and gums) Then, when the hot north westerlies blow we are in trouble from fires. When I look out over the valley from my window and I see the developed landscape that should be producing food or planted out with fire resistant plantings like drought tolerant Australian rainforest trees. Instead we have a landscape, which used to be cleared landscape back in the 20’s and 30’s, dotted with fire attracting species. I am all for leaving the old growth forest alone but we have to measure how we view the suburbs against the pressure we place on old growth forest in places that we don’t see. A ‘weed’, is nothing less than a hardworking immigrant doing its job of repairing the landscape. There was a small city near Chernobyl that was abandoned overnight when the meltdown happened. The local football field is now a re-growth forest. The first plants to grow as that forest re grew would have been the weeds that were in the grass. We worry about weeds when in fact there is nothing to worry about. All the permie is trying to do is to mimic the actions of the forest while stacking it with foods and wildlife attracting species of all kinds. It not exclusive of natives nor is it exclusive of exotics.

    3. there’s nothing indiscriminate about planting carefully selected seeds of plants that are all non-invasive and all-round useful to any human or animal that comes across their path, in my opinion 🙂

      If you want to talk weeds, environmental destruction and plants out of place, let’s start with those causing the most adverse impact in this continent’s ecosystems – wheat, or rice, or canola, or sugarcane etc… the list is long!

  2. Lovely idea Kirsten, and interesting comments David and Dean. I think permaculture could embrace the notion of bushfoods more – especially here in Australia where the native plants have fed people since the time before time began. At the same time I always prefer green to concrete … but I do think David has a point 🙂

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