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The Self-Seeding, Self-Sowing Vegetable Garden

Updated on May 16, 2011

Organic Gardening


Some vegetables can be left in place in the garden to reseed, or re-sow themselves, propagating the following season’s crops.

Plants that seed themselves naturally select the most hardy, and the most suited to your area.  When you have a number of plants going to seed, their flowers are one of the best and most prolific predator attractors available to gardeners.  They also keep your soils fresh with nutrients and free from weeds.

Always allow the best of your plants to self-seeds.  Stake them well so that they do not topple over and rot.  If you don’t want them to grow in that same spot, simply transport them.

*  Remember that hybrid plants will not seed true to type.


Self-sown beans can be left to germinate in Spring, particularly if you grow climbing beans on a trellis so that the beans are kept away from the spoil and split open when the pods are dry the following Spring.


Several different varieties of carrots can be grown, with self-seeded carrots germinating in Autumn and Spring.


Chinese Cabbage cross pollinates, so you may end up with some unusual results, but they are edible and delicious.


As per Garlic and Spring Onions.


Leave a bulb in the ground at harvest time and more garlic will grow.


Once Japanese Turnips are set, the next generation springs up quickly and easily.


When leeks self-sow, a clump of very small, but very tender leeks form.  These can be eaten from top to bottom.


Some varieties of lettuce will thrive all year round, such as red and green mignonette, oak leaf and cos.  Once you have let two or three crops of mignonette go to see, you should start having them all year round.

PARSLEY  (Italian)

With time, Parsley allowed to self-sow forms a thicket of re-sprouting, fresh Parsley.


Allow Parsnips to self-seed and self-sow and you’ll never run out.


Peas can germinate in much the same way as beans.  (*See Beans)


Potatoes don’t need to be dug.  Simply burrow under the earth/mulch, and take what you need.  Leave the rest to regrow so that you have year round potatoes.


A pumpkin left in the garden will rot slowly, and the seeds will germinate in Spring.


Radish self-sows extremely easily; almost to the point that it becomes a weed in the vegetable garden.  The older the radish, the hotter they taste.


Silver beet is a vegetable that readily self-seeds, once established.

The first years’ crop self-sown silver beet won’t be a continuous supply as the seeds won’t germinate till well after the prime of the parent plants.  Irregular germination will solve that problem in successive years.


Spring Onions never need to be pulled up, as the tops can be picked and the clumps go on expanding, becoming year round greens.


Cherry Tomatoes reseed and re-sow themselves prolifically, and when grown amongst other crops, will bear fruit throughout the winter months.  They can also be put into a pot and taken indoors.


A very ripe zucchini will rot and the seeds will germinate when left in the garden.


Allowing certain plants to self-seed and self-sow will ensure that you have year round greens in your vegetable garden.



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