Food for free: the joyful abundance of self-seeding vegetables

What a beautiful pumpkin!  It's from an abundant vine that grew by itself around my nursery. Did you know pumpkin leaves are also edible? Steam them for a few minutes to make an excellent gluten free wrap, or just cook like any leafy green. 

Actually, as well as the fleshy bit, the young shoots are edible, the flowers are edible, the seeds are edible, and the pumpkin skin is edible too. Thank you pumpkin! I have previously written about the 7 Ways to Use All of Your Pumpkin Plant.

I didn't plant this, water it or do anything but harvest.  This lovely large one that Hugh is holding has been delicious as pumpkin soup for the past few nights.  

The kids and I found a treasure trove of hidden pumpkins the other day - we thought we'd finished our crop for the season.

I love self-seeding vegetables. They add so much to my garden - food for free!  I think for the past decade I have not planted pumpkin, tomato or mustard spinach - they seem to keep getting stronger each season. The pumpkins are getting sweeter and the cherry tomatoes bigger.

I regularly have rocket, lettuce and other salads popping up, as well as cosmos, fennel and parsley just to name a few. I focus on making sure the soil is healthy and consider it an vitally important seed bank.

Self-seeding and perennial vegetables form the central part of my abundant and easy gardening strategy. I only plant where I see gaps forming or if I want new and different varieties of food growing.

In My Permaculture Garden, a little film (33mins) I just made, I talk about how I have integrated self-seeding and perennial plants into my permaculture kitchen garden design for abundant food production.

To keep the pumpkins coming year after year, I make sure I leave at least one fully ripe pumpkin out in the garden.  As the pumpkin flesh decomposes it creates the perfect environment for the seeds to sprout (of course). We tend to forget this, thinking of the fruits as the bits for us. Pumpkin growing almost always creates a shared harvest - some for us, some for friends, some for the soil - simply wonderful!

Monty (when he was younger), helping Costa with his pumpkin during a presentation at the World Environment Day Festival, University of the Sunshine Coast (opening the Moving Feast Community Garden).

Labels: , , , , , , ,