Guest blog from Sally Nex: Sowing seed nature’s way
Bolting vegetables are generally seen as a sign of failure, but I prefer to look on them as an opportunity. Every flower spike my veg send up is the promise of thousands of new seed. And if you let them do their thing – not only ripening the seed, but shedding it, too – they’ll sow that seed for you, at the right time and usually in the place that suits them best, so you get really good germination rates: no extra watering, pricking out or potting on required.
Self-sown seedlings tend to be stronger and sturdier; they also seem to be less prone to slug damage, and spring up where there’s enough water in the ground already so need little or no aftercare. It’s a form of self-selection which leaves you with better plants right from the start.
Of course plants sowing their own seed don’t sow them in rows, or usually where you want them to be. You can make a virtue of this and just let your veg garden grow in a glorious hodge-podge of randomly-sown crops: the posh word for this is polyculture, and it’s a form of companion planting so helps keep pests at bay too (mainly by confusing them, as little clumps of their target crop growing in among other plants are more difficult to find than crops growing as a single, monoculture row).
To learn more about self-sown seedlings read Sally Nex's post on the Learning with Experts blog.