Do marigolds self seed

African marigold and sweet alyssum are annuals that self-sow in the garden

Note: the following was written in 2000. Some years ago, the marigold planter was converted to artificial turf.

If you want to learn about the importance of soil in the life of a plant, pay a visit to the gas station at the corner of Moorpark Street and Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.
At the corner of the gas station – perilously close to the sidewalk and street – in a modest-sized planter, more than a thousand marigolds are growing. You will not be overwhelmed by a burst of color, for the plants are still in the seedling stage. Come back in a month for a riotous display of orange and gold.
The seeds from which these marigolds are growing were not sown by any human agent. Last year, marigolds in six-pack plastic containers were planted here. The plants bloomed and bloomed. By late December, flowering had practically ceased, but the faded and dried-up blooms were not snipped off. In time, seeds ripened within the moribund flowers. When the spent marigolds were finally removed from the planter early this year, hundreds of fully developed seeds had already been deposited on the soil below. For a few weeks, the soil looked bare. But then the miracle of germination began and, lo and behold, a carpet of marigold sprouts was soon visible.
If you planted a packet of marigold seeds in your garden, you could probably expect a handful of them to germinate, as long as you had a fairly well-drained soil and scattered the seeds over the surface, dusting a little peat moss or compost over them before watering. If you buried the seeds in the ground, it is quite likely that they would rot prior to germination.
The success of the marigold seeds in the gas station planter may be attributed almost entirely to the soil, a fast-draining sandy loam. Sandy loam contains 50 to 80 percent sand.
Most nurseries carry sandy loam soil, usually marketed as “topsoil,” and sold at a cost of around $2 per cubic-foot bag. If you want to improve the drainage in your soil, adding topsoil will certainly help.
Another use for topsoil is in balcony or patio containers. In a container filled with sandy topsoil mixed with compost, you can grow just about anything. Such a soil mix will be pleasing not only to annual flowers such as marigolds, petunias and snapdragons, but to herbs, vegetables, perennials and even palm trees. Conventional potting mix is not only costly but, being highly composted, readily decomposes – that is, disappears – when used in pots. Topsoil, on the other hand, will remain at or near the same level for years.
Remember, topsoil is somewhat low in organic matter and drains rapidly. It should be mixed liberally with compost both to increase its fertility and to improve its water-holding capacity
After the rains, the crust which has formed on the soil surface may give you a feeling that your soil is dried up underneath. To the contrary, this crust prevents evaporation of water from the soil below and should not be broken. The practice of constant cultivation increases the rate of water loss from the soil and destroys beneficial microorganisms that live near the soil surface. It is much wiser to put a layer of mulch – be it compost, shredded bark or straw – on the soil surface both to preserve moisture and to protect the soil ecosystem.
< Grand geraniums
Marshall Maydeck e-mailed an inquiry about sources for unusual geraniums. One of the country’s most important geranium growers, Grand View Geranium Gardens, is located just south of Los Angeles in Carson and grows more than 500 varieties of Martha Washington, zonal, ivy and scented geraniums. Grand View is a wholesale nursery closed to the public. However, the nursery does have an online catalog at Grand View supplies all the major garden centers in the Valley. If you see a geranium in the catalog that you like, your local garden center should be able to order it for you.

I was a totally inexperienced gardener when I planted pot marigolds for the first time. It was my first gardening season and I didn’t have the chance to collect my own seeds yet. So I had to buy them in a store. That was the only way for me to grow these beautiful and valuable garden flowers…

The seeds weren’t expensive at all. They still aren’t. I could afford them every year. However, I soon realized one important thing. The seeds of pot marigold plants are so easy to collect it would be stupid of me to keep buying them year after year!

It’s needless to say that I collect my own pot marigold seeds ever since. It’s easy. It’s quick. You save a couple of euros or dollars. And most importantly, the plants you grow from your own seeds become more adapt to your local climate and growing conditions.

Do you too want to learn how to collect and store the seeds of this garden flower, so you can grow it next year as well? You have come to the right place then. Keep reading…

You can let the pot marigolds to self seed and do all the heavy-lifting for you..

Each year I try to plant as many pot marigolds as I can. It’s because I like the way they brighten up my growing space with their vivid orange as well as yellow colours. They create a truly amazing sight the moment they start flowering!

My garden is usually full of them as a consequence. However, not every one of them actually grows from the seeds I planted. In fact, many of them are so called “volunteers” – plants that have self seeded themselves…

You see, the thing with pot marigolds is you need to pick or harvest them regularly to ensure they keep flowering throughout the whole season. If you don’t, they soon start forming seed heads instead of new flower heads. Obviously, it’s easy to miss a plant or two every know and then when you have a bunch of them growing all over your garden. It happens to me all the time!

It’s these missed plants then that go on and form the seeds and drop them on the ground. Next year these self sown seeds then sprout and develop into new plants…

So the truth is, you don’t have to do anything and still end up with the abundance of pot marigolds in the next season. All you have to do is let the nature go it’s course.

The disadvantage of the self-seeding method is that you can’t always control where “volunteers” are going to show up. But even this is not really a problem. You can always transplant them to other parts of the garden. They don’t mind!

Or you can collect the seeds by yourself…

Now what if you would like to have more control over the location of pot marigolds in your garden without having to transplant them?

Or what if you want to expand your garden next year or move it to a new location? Or what if you would like to create the seedlings or trade the seeds with other gardeners in your area?

Then you may want to collect and store the seeds by yourself so you can plant them whenever and wherever you want. The good news is both collecting and storing the seeds of pot marigolds is rather simple. Here’s how I do it:

The first thing I do is choose a handful of plants from which I would like to get seeds. Three to five plants with multiple flower heads give me more seeds than I need, but you can always go with more…

Next I stop picking (or deadheading if you prefer) the selected plants, so they can start forming the seed heads. I usually do this in September once the plants recover from the summer heat. You can also do it earlier. Or even later if the weather conditions allow you.

Once you let the plants go to seed, you soon notice how their flower heads slowly start to wither and drop off petals. It doesn’t take long before they turn into seed heads. The developing seeds on them are green at first, but as they mature their color changes into dull grey and brown. The seeds vary both in size and shape. To me, they look like little curved, gnarled worms with little bumps on the edges.

The seed head of pot marigold is ready for you to collect it once it is entirely dry and once all the seeds on it are grey or brown. The maturing process takes some time so be patient.

Store the seeds correctly to ensure they stay viable…

Once the seeds are mature, it’s time to collect them. What I do is grab the seed head with my fingers and pull it off the stalk. Then I spread some paper on the ground and crumble the seed head over it so the seeds fall down onto the paper.

I repeat this with other seed heads as well until I have enough seeds for the next season’s plantings.

Now before I store them, I always make sure they are dry enough. So I grab the paper with the seeds on it and place it somewhere dry for a week or so. You can do this outside, if the weather is dry and warm. However, if it’s cool and rainy, it’s better to do it indoors.

The last thing I do is get rid of the chaff, put the seeds in a glass jar and store it in a dry, dark place. I leave them there until the next gardening season starts. Then I simply take them out of the jar and plant them in the garden. This is after I prepare the garden, of course…

And once the plants come out of the ground, I care for them and watch how they grow into beautiful flowers!

However, I don’t just admire them. I also pick or harvest them almost daily so they keep producing new flower heads. And, at one point, I also collect their seeds so I can grow them again in the next season. And that’s how the pot marigold growing cycle is complete!

African Marigold Care: How To Grow African Marigolds

“The marigold abroad her leaves doth spread, because the sun and her power is the same,” wrote poet Henry Constable in a 1592 sonnet. The marigold has long been associated with the sun. African marigolds (Tagetes erecta), which are actually native to Mexico and Central America, were sacred to the Aztecs, who used them as a medicine and as a ceremonial offering to the sun gods. Marigolds are still called the herb of the sun because of this. In Mexico, African marigolds are a traditional flower placed on altars on The Day of the Dead. Continue reading for more African marigold information.

African Marigold Information

Also called American marigolds or Aztec marigolds, African marigolds are annuals that bloom from early summer until frost. African marigolds are taller and more tolerant of hot, dry conditions than French marigolds. They also have larger flowers that can be up to 6 inches in diameter. If deadheaded regularly, African marigold plants will usually produce many large blooms. They grow best in full sun and actually seem to prefer poor soil.

Growing African marigolds or French marigolds around vegetable gardens to repel harmful insects, rabbits and deer is a gardening habit that goes back for centuries. The scent of marigolds is said to deter these pests. Marigold roots also emit a substance that is toxic to harmful root nematodes. This toxin can stay in the soil for a few years.

Be careful when handling marigolds because some people can get skin irritations from the plant’s oils. While marigolds deter pests, they attract bees, butterflies and ladybugs to the garden.

How to Grow African Marigolds

African marigold plants propagate easily from seed started indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date or sown directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Seeds usually germinate in 4-14 days.

African marigold plants can also be purchased at most garden centers in the spring. When planting or transplanting African marigold plants, be sure to plant them slightly deeper than they were originally growing. This helps them stabilize to support their heavy flower tops. Tall varieties may need to be staked for support.

Some popular African marigold varieties are:

  • Jubilee
  • Gold Coin
  • Safari
  • Galore
  • Inca
  • Antigua
  • Crush
  • Aurora

Self-Seeding Flowers: Easy to Grow, Spectacular to Enjoy

Written by The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 20 August 2018

Some gardeners strive for slide-rule precision in their planting and designs. Others opt for a wilder look, whether this is by preference or through a simple acceptance that nature tends to win out in the end.

Whichever gardening style you prefer, self-seeding flowers offer an excellent middle ground between orderly cultivation and the exuberance of nature.

What Are Self-Seeding Flowers?

Self-seeding flowers are mostly annual or biennial species, producing seeds that are happy to grow without any special attention. Wind-borne seeds will germinate on the soil’s surface, producing vigorous and dense growth as the population becomes established over several years.

An uncharitable soul could describe these plants as weeds. Indeed, the best-known self-seeder is probably that enemy of the perfect lawn, the dandelion.

But self-seeders’ great saving grace is that they produce blooms to rival any cultivated ornamental, while also offering many other benefits to a garden.

  • They’re a perfect choice for an informal cottage garden look, either in a small dedicated patch or spread throughout the garden.
  • The natural seeding patterns can throw up interesting and surprising combinations of colour and structure.
  • Banks of self-seeding flowers help to soften hard lines between different parts of the garden, as the seeded areas merge together over time.
  • Once you’ve sown your first seeds, the flowers will return year after year. Self-seeders combine the permanence of perennials with the ease of annuals.
  • They also make successional planning easy. With the right starter mix of seeds, you can enjoy colourful blooms throughout the year with no extra effort.
  • Self-seeding plants are vigorous and need very little time or gardening skill to maintain. They also need little or nothing in the way of fertilisers.
  • Many varieties will grow in difficult areas where more highly cultivated plants struggle.
  • Their fast and vigorous growth can also work to suppress weeds.
  • Lastly, most of these flowers are magnets for bees, aphid predators, and other beneficial insects you’ll want to encourage into your garden.

Which Self-Seeding Flowers to Grow

There are countless flower species which will reseed themselves given the chance, but some varieties have proven to be particularly popular.

Californian Poppy – Exceptionally robust and happy to grow in scorched, sandy, or stony ground, Californian poppies are a great way to cover up a problem patch in your garden. They also come in a variety of attractive shades from gentle white to vivid red.

Sweet William – Neatly bridging the gap between ornamental plants and wild blooms, sweet williams provide brightly coloured and highly perfumed flowers over a long period. Once the flowers have died back, the attractive foliage holds its shape well for continued interest later in the year.

Alyssum – Blooming from early spring through to autumn, alyssum produces masses of tiny flowers in a variety of pastel shades. It’s also notable for being one of the most sweetly fragrant flowers, and its low profile provides good ground cover.

Cosmos – Producing impressive single or double blooms on stems reaching over a meter, cosmos adds height as well as glorious colour to a border.

Nasturtium – Nasturtiums are a versatile self-seeding choice, producing attractive flowers in red, yellow, white, and many other shades. Varieties are available with bush, trailing, or climbing habits. And as a welcome bonus, the leaves, flowers, and seed heads are all edible with a peppery bite.

Sweet Pea – Sweet peas are climbing annuals that can reach over two meters in height with support. The flowers are attractive enough to be grown specifically as annual ornamentals, but the plant will happily self-seed in the right conditions.

Candytuft – Providing pink-to-white flowers in mid-spring, candytuft is a favourite of bees and butterflies. Its low, dense, dark-green foliage makes it ideal as ground cover at the front of a border.

Calendula – Also known as pot marigold, calendula produces bright yellow and orange flowers in abundance. The petals were traditionally used as a fabric dye, and can also be used in the kitchen as a saffron alternative. Calendula plants are frost tolerant, and can bloom from spring through to autumn with regular deadheading.

How to Grow Self-Seeding Flowers

Growing self-seeding flowers has to be one of the easiest tasks in gardening. So long as a species is suitable for your climate, you can just sprinkle seeds over an area of ground, then step back and wait.

After blooming, either deadhead to prolong the flowering period, or allow the seeds to develop and disperse naturally. Once they’ve taken hold, they’ll return indefinitely.

You can also sow seeds in wall crevices, paving cracks, and other locations where less vigorous plants may struggle to establish themselves. This may or may not work out well, but thanks to the productive nature of self-seeders, little is lost by trying.

Lastly, although flowers are the undoubted stars of self-seeding plants, less visually impressive plants can also be grown in the same way. Rocket, mustard greens, mizuna, and other salad greens will all happily self-seed, as will parsley, coriander, borage, and many other herbs.

Just let a few plants bolt to seed and then die back rather than harvesting your entire crop, and you’ll add a no-fuss, no-effort edible patch to your flower garden.

Containing Growth

However, the great advantage of self-seeding plants can also be a drawback. Once they’re introduced to your garden, their vigorous reproduction means it can be very difficult to completely eliminate them.

Think carefully before sowing your first set of seeds, only choosing species you’re sure you’ll enjoy. And whichever seeds you sow, learn to identify the juvenile plants so that you can deal with unwanted spreading before things get out of hand.

That warning aside, self-seeding flowers are a great addition to any garden. They’re easy to grow and maintain, but add a spectacular natural look which will delight for years to come.


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Self-Seeding Crops You’ll Never Need to Replant

When seed pods dry and begin to shatter, gather and store some of the seeds as usual for replanting next year (just in case the reseeding effort isn’t successful). Shake and crumble the rest where you want the next crop to grow, and pat the soil to get good contact between soil and seeds. Or, simply lay well-broken seed-bearing branches over a prepared bed and walk over them. This will shatter seed pods and push seeds into the soil at the same time, and the stem pieces will serve as a starter mulch. With fast-sprouting crops such as arugula, a drenching rain or good hand-watering is all it will take to bring on a lovely fall crop.

Many of the seeds that hit the ground will rot or be eaten, but hundreds will survive winter and sprout in spring. Their strength is in their numbers. When you sow a bed of cilantro, for example, you might plant between 25 and 50 seeds. But when nature is in charge, a single plant may shower your garden with a thousand fresh, plump seeds. Cilantro seedlings are easy to dig and move, and they make well-behaved “weeds.”

Managing Annual Self-Seeding Crops

Many annual crops will reseed themselves if you leave them in the garden long enough for the seeds to mature and the fruit to decompose. Annual veggies that frequently reseed and provide volunteer seedlings include winter squash and pumpkins, tomatoes and tomatillos, watermelon, and New Zealand spinach.

There are two issues to consider when managing this band of garden volunteers: disease and location. The two most serious diseases of potato and tomato — early and late blights — can actually be perpetrated by encouraging disease-carrying volunteer plants. Especially if you saw late blight in your garden the previous season, you should seriously consider breaking the disease cycle by digging up and composting potatoes that sprout from the previous year’s patch, along with all volunteer tomatoes and tomatillos that appear early in the season.

However, sometimes in late summer, I do adopt tomato volunteers that have a potato-type leaf, because I know what they are. ‘Brandywine’ is the only potatoleaf tomato variety I’ve grown in the last five years, so any potatoleaf volunteers are highly likely to be ‘Brandywines.’ You also can recruit healthy volunteer tomatillos based on their distinctive leaf shapes. I locate these foster children around the garden as single plants, spaced far from my main ripening crop. Or you can consider moving volunteers to containers and growing them outside of your garden as a disease safety precaution. With late blight, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Volunteer Veggies

If you’re growing open-pollinated (OP) varieties, it can be fun to let volunteer winter squash, pumpkins, gourds and watermelons ramble along the garden’s edge, or scramble over wire fencing. (Remember that seeds from hybrid varieties usually won’t grow “true to type.”) Check the plants weekly for signs of powdery mildew disease, which is a common problem with older open-pollinated varieties. Squash or pumpkin plants that show signs of powdery mildew before the fruits have set should be pulled out, but don’t worry if the white mildew patches appear later on when the fruits are almost ripe. The plants will still bear a good crop. If volunteer winter squash are always a part of your garden’s landscape because so many seeds survive in your compost, you can introduce powdery mildew resistance to your local population by growing OP varieties which are resistant to powdery mildew, such as ‘Honey Nut’ butternut and ‘Cornell’s Bush Delicata.’

Controlling Rampant Self-Seeders

Several useful herbs and greens reseed with such abandon they must be handled as potentially invasive plants. Plants behave differently depending on the climate, but in general, expect the following crops to become obnoxious if not given appropriate discipline: borage, chives, garlic chives, edible docks and sorrels, herb fennel, lemon balm, horseradish and valerian. Here are the house rules:

  1. Grow only as many plants as you can monitor.
  2. Don’t allow seeds to be shed in your garden without your permission. This is done by pruning off flowers or immature seed heads, many of which make fine cut flowers.

When experimenting with herbs from around the world, I have learned to be cautious, because one year’s seed can be many years’ weeds. Start with small plantings of nigella, perilla, and seed-producing sorrels and docks to make sure you can keep them under control. Intervene early should a reseeding plant you don’t want start popping up everywhere. Weed ruthlessly until it’s gone, because ill-mannered thug plants have no place in a well-managed garden.


34 Easy Self-Seeders

Herbs: basil, chamomile, cilantro, cutting celery, dill, parsley

Flowers: bachelor button, calendula, celosia, cosmos, nasturtiums, poppies, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, viola

Bountiful Biennials Set Seeds in the Spring

If you can get them through winter in good shape (a challenge north of Zone 7), openpollinated varieties of beets, carrots, collards, kale (especially Russian strains), broccoli, parsnips and parsley can be added to your list of self-sown crops. These crops produce their seeds in the second year. Cold frames or low tunnels work surprisingly well at enhancing the winter survival of these plants, or you can try replanting stored beets, carrots or parsnips in late winter, as soon as the soil thaws.

To get prompt, strong flowering and seed production from most biennial vegetables, it’s important to have nearly mature plants that have been exposed to at least six weeks of cold with soil temperatures in the 40-degree-Fahrenheit range. In the spring, warming temperatures and lengthening days trigger overwintered biennials to flower profusely, eventually producing great stalks of flowers for bees and beneficials, followed by thousands of seeds — a single parsley plant may shed the equivalent of 10 packets of seeds. You will see most of these seedlings in the first two seasons after a reseeding. By the third year, it’s time to repeat the drill.

The best time to plant biennial seeds is late summer to early fall, using the seed ark approach described earlier. For example, you might grow pairs of carrots, Russian kale, and parsnips together, and protect the young plants through winter with a low plastic-covered tunnel. By midsummer the following year, you should have enough fresh seeds to save and scatter where you want new seedlings to grow, just in time for fall planting.

Managing Self-Seeders

  • In the fall, toss seed heads wherever you want seeds to germinate. Or, next spring, transplant volunteers to the spots where you want them to grow.
  • Be sure not to hoe “weeds” too early in the spring.
  • Learn to identify the self-seeder seedlings.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on Google+.

  • ‘Another option is to cut sod from a less visible area of your lawn to patch a priority area and reseed the area where the patch was taken.’
  • ‘For example, some seed mixtures work well in shady areas, while other mixtures are made for reseeding sunny areas.’
  • ‘Shade under a tree is difficult to solve without the drastic step of cutting it back or completely removing, but it is worth reseeding the area with a grass variety that will tolerate those conditions.’
  • ‘Now that the ploughing match is over and the weather holding up many farmers in the parish are ploughing and reseeding areas from two to ten acres.’
  • ‘Companies are also required to reseed disturbed areas, keep fencing up and livestock away from on-site toxic chemicals, close gates, and fully reclaim the land and water after a well is no longer producing.’
  • ‘Mixes that contain only wildflowers usually need reseeding the first few years until the plants produce enough seed to become self-sustaining.’
  • ‘A considerable amount of hay and pasture land is being reseeded, he noted, suggesting flooding last summer and winter kill appear to have set the crop back.’
  • ‘You’ll have to spray all the grass in the area, then reseed with good quality grass seed.’
  • ‘You want to consider fertilizing and reseeding your lawn twice before the winter.’
  • ‘And fescue turf can always be reseeded this fall.’
  • ‘If you have cool season turf, you can reseed it now.’
  • ‘Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.’
  • ‘The best time to establish a new lawn from seed is in the fall, but many homeowners will need to reseed patches of lawn that have been damaged during the winter.’
  • ‘Then, reseed the entire lawn if necessary, or simply patch certain areas as required.’
  • ‘There’s alfalfa that needs to be killed and removed, and the ground has to be reseeded with grass.’
  • ‘If possible, relocate fencing so the previously infested area can be reseeded and mowed regularly.’
  • ‘The grass seed mix should contain very little tetraploid varieties if heavy land is being reseeded.’
  • ‘Fall is a prime time to reseed bare patches in the lawn.’
  • ‘When it comes to annual vines, there is one sure favorite that I reseed every year.’
  • ‘It survives all but the harshest winters, and even then reseeds itself very effectively.’

Grassland Reseeding

24 May 2019
Type Media Article

By Nicholas McKenna, Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Masters Student, Teagasc Longford

With the fine weather this Spring farmers should be considering some reseeding on their farm this year. So why should I reseed my grass fields? Reseeding is extremely important to increase the productivity of a farm. High quality reseeds can carry more stock, increase live-weight gain, regrow faster, use nitrogen fertiliser more efficiently, begin growing earlier in the year and also grow later in the year. Reseeding also helps to improve silage quality. With silage being the main feed on farms over the winter months it is important to have the highest quality possible. Increase silage DMD % from 68-72 will reduce meal feeding by 1kg/head/day. Reseeding can be done either in the Autumn or Spring, in most drystock and beef farms Spring reseeding has more advantages than Autumn. Lower stocked farms can afford to have a block of grazing/silage grounds closed during reseeding and not find themselves with a grass deficit. Old swards will in fact grow more grass after Spring reseeding than they would have grown had they not been reseeded. If sowing clover it is important to sow earlier in the year as it takes up to 10 weeks for it to establish properly, heavier wet soils also need to be reseeded earlier in the year and for this reason Spring reseeding is ideal. Increasing soil temperatures and hours of sunshine will help improve grass/clover establishment. Opportunity to graze the reseed several times over the summer months allows the sward to tiller and thicken out meaning the following spring the sward will be of higher quality than a reseed carried out in the autumn.

The first stage of carrying out a reseed is to take soil samples from the area to be reseeded. One soil sample should be taken from every 5 ha planned for reseeding, the samples should representative of the entire field/paddock. If ploughing samples should be taken after ploughing as this will give the most accurate result. Soil tests are crucial to find out what levels of Lime, Phosphorous and Potassium are needed at reseeding, over applications are wasting money but also can have huge negative environment impacts while under application will lead to poor sward growth, establishment and overall production.

There are two main methods of reseeding, conventional and minimum cultivation. Conventional is using a plough and minimum cultivation techniques are carried out without a plough, most commonly direct drilling and power harrowing. The paddock/field for reseeding should be sprayed off with a glyphosate product in order to kill off any existing vegetation present. Where ploughing has been done without spraying off it is common for weed grasses to regrow quickly and are then very hard to control. Where minimum cultivation is being practiced the vegetation needs to be either grazed off or topped to allow a cleaner surface with little trash as possible.


  • Once the vegetation has died off about 10 days after spraying the field is ready for ploughing, during ploughing any trash on the surface is buried. After ploughing it is time to spread lime and fertiliser based on the soil sample results.
  • Surface is then power harrowed to produce a fine, firm and level seed bed which will give the optimal conditions for sowing.
  • In order to achieve a firm seed bed the field should be rolled before sowing.
  • Avoid having a fluffy seed bed as this will cause the grass seed to go too deep into the soil and lead to poor germination/establishment.
  • Weather permitting the reseed should be rolled again in an opposite direction to compress the seedbed and increase seed/soil contact.

Direct drilling:

  • Existing sward needs to be sprayed off as well as grazed tightly or topped
  • Very successful if drilled after a crop of silage is removed
  • Some direct drills place seeds in a slit 2-5cm apart, others rotavate a 4cm slot and place in both seed and fertiliser
  • Both work very well but it is recommended to do an additional run over the field in a diagonal direction
  • Slug pellets are recommended to be added in order to protect the reseed when it is establishing

Power Harrow:

  • Involves using a power harrow to cultivate soil surface to a depth of 2-3 inches.
  • Ideally the field should be harrowed 3 times in different directions to ensure a fine tilt and to break up old sods sufficiently.
  • After harrowing, the field should be rolled before seeding to ensure seedbed is firm.
  • Seeding should then take place with the seed being placed on the soil rather than deep in the soil.
  • The field should then be rolled again in the opposite direction to optimise soil/seed contact.

Post reseeding: Post sowing management is as important as the sowing itself. It is important for weeds to be kept to a minimum and the best way to do this is to encourage the new grass to tiller as much as possible. A successful sward will have 10,000 tillers/m2. Tillers are what will lead to overall establishment success.

Nitrogen and grazing are the main areas that will increase tiller numbers. Nitrogen should always be applied at seeding along with P & K, according to soil test results the amount will vary for every reseed. Once the grass roots have strengthened and you can pull the grass without the roots pulling also you can graze the reseed. Short grazing intervals with young light cattle or sheep will encourage tillering while also reducing surface damage in the field.

Weeds should be monitored in the reseed and targeted with spraying if they begin to spread, through grazing and applying sufficient N the grass plant should be able to compete with weeds and not let them become an issue in the reseed.

Reseeding in the Spring/early summer followed by proper management with targeted fertiliser and grazing will allow the sward to thicken and thrive leading to a well-established and successful reseed. Grazing during the summer and autumn months and resting over the winter will have the best possible results for the reseed and mean it will increase grass production on the farm immediately for the years to come.

Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. They have offices based in Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166) and Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160), You can find us online at on Facebook @Teagascroscommonlongford.

Gardening is a wonderful activity, good for both the mind and the body. It relaxes us while at the same time stimulating our minds. It keeps us moving and doing light exercise with the bonus of healthy, homegrown produce as the result. But, let’s just be honest about it — gardening is work.

So, when a gardener can find natural advantages, he or she should take them, and self-seeding crops are definitely a sly way to get more crops without having to grow or buy seedlings. In a nutshell, these are annual plants that grow to maturity, form seeds, drop them, and new plants readily germinate.


Self-seeding gardens, of course, allow crops to simply grow like wild plants do. They often aren’t as tidy as conventional rows. They aren’t necessarily as precise as many of us are accustomed to. But, they can be extremely productive and a real treat for a time-strapped gardener.

So, what should we plant?

1. Basil

Perhaps the most popular fresh herb in the garden, basil is a favorite for its flavor. Savvy gardeners also know that it makes a fantastic companion plant for other crops because it repels pests and attracts pollinators. After harvesting leaves for a month or two, let basil go to flower, and it will self-sow for another round.

2. Garlic


Like basil, garlic is a good companion plant for most crops as it, too, is good for repelling pests and pulling the pollinators. Both the greens (like chives) and bulbs can be eaten. Garlic self-sows very easily. Simply leave the bulb in the ground, and each clove becomes a new plant. (Also try multiplying onions.)

3. Dill

Dill is an underutilized herb with a fantastic aroma and taste. As is the case with most herbs in the garden, it’s helpful with keeping insects off of other crops, and in the kitchen, it needs to appear far more often than with pickles. Dill will really jazz up a pot of pulses or pasta. (Also try cilantro.)


4. Arugula

Arugula is a very easy plant to grow, makes a fine ground cover (living mulch), and provides harvestable leaves very quickly. After a few weeks of harvesting leaves, let the plant do its thing, flower, and reseed. Arugula will continually pop up in the garden to provide more salads. (Try this with other leafy salad crops.)

5. Mustard

Mustard is a double-impact crop, providing both seeds and greens. The mustard family is not a shy plant and will often show up in fields as weeds. For those who enjoy eating mustard greens and/or making DIY mustard at home, mustard is a fantastic self-seeding crop to include in the garden.


6. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is an awesome, colorful addition to gardens. It’s often used to distract pests away from other plants. Not only is this plant beautiful, with colorful flowers, but also the flowers, leaves, and seeds are edible. Let some seeds fall to the ground, and it’ll likely grow anew.

7. Sunflowers

Like nasturtiums, sunflowers will distract pests from the vegetables, and it’s tough enough to withstand attacks. Aside from being pretty flowers, obviously sunflowers are nice food, the seeds at least, with quality fats and proteins, to harvest. Those seeds also mean more sunflowers!

8. Amaranth

Akin to quinoa, amaranth is a protein-packed seed treated like a grain. It’s also a beautiful, tall flower with edible leaves and lots of value in the garden. Amaranth will readily sow itself, and members of its family — also edible — actually behave like weeds.

9. Radish

Radishes are a great companion plant for many things, and they have a quick turnover from seed to vegetable. If some of them are left to flower in the garden, they’ll drop new seeds and start anew, repeating the cycle for more and more radishes.

10. Potatoes


Anyone who has grown potatoes likely knows that they have a habit of returning as volunteers the next year. That’s because any potatoes left in the ground will often grow new potatoes. Heck, potatoes left in a cupboard too long will start to sprout.

11. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of seeds, which is why they are known to be insane volunteer plants. Tomato plants are notorious for springing forth from home compost because rotted tomatoes have deposited hundreds of seeds in it. Let some of the tomatoes rot in the garden, and new plants will sprout where they are wanted.

12. Pumpkins

Pumpkins are ready right about the time the weather starts to get cold. They are great for storing over the winter. But, if a few are left in the field, the fruits will decompose in place and deposit new seeds in time for growing next year’s lot. (Fall squashes will do the same.)

Gardens are great spots for experimentation. And, while its soul-soothing to have neatly maintained, cultivated spots, so too is it amazing to set up nature to continually provide new crops on its own each year. It’s a great cause to dedicate a little garden space to.

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The following is adapted and extracted from the book – The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka (1978).

Upon investigatiion, my garden seemed to have just as many insects as in the surrounding fields, which had been sprayed countless times with a variety of deadly chemicals. But the populations of harmful insects were a lot less in my garden, and beneficial (predatory) insects were present in far higher numbers. I realized that my garden was being maintained in this state by means of a natural balance established among the various insect communities. If my methods were generally adopted, the problem of crop devastation by leafhoppers could be solved.

Four Principles:

The first is No Cultivation:

That is, no ploughing or turning of the soil. For centuries, farmers and gardeners have assumed that the plough is essential for growing crops. However, non-cultivation is fundamental to natural gardening and farming. The earth cultivates itself naturally by means of the penetration of plant roots and the activity of micro-organisms, small animals, and earthworms.

The second is No Chemical fertilizers:

If you give back to the earth what comes from your kitchen waste, animal waste and even your own waste products, there is no necessity for chemical fertilizers. People interfere with nature and, try as they may, they cannot heal the resulting wounds. Their careless farming practices drain the soil of essential nutrients and the result is yearly depletion of the land. If left to itself, the soil maintains its fertility naturally, in accordance with the orderly cycle of plant and animal life.

The third is No Weeding:

Weeds play their part in building soil fertility and in balancing the biological community. As a fundamental principle, weeds should be controlled, through being cut down and left where they fall, and not removed. Straw mulch, and ground cover inter-planted dense growing crops provide effective weed control.

The fourth is No Usage of Chemicals:

From the time that weak plants developed because of such unnatural practices as ploughing and fertilizing, disease and insect imbalance became a great problem in agriculture. Nature, left alone, is in perfect balance. Harmful insects and plant diseases are always present, but do not occur in nature to an extent which requires the use of poisonous chemicals. The sensible approach to disease and insect control is to grow sturdy crops in a healthy environment.

Also correct watering practices eliminate many problems as the immune system of the plants are lowered if they get shallow watering. The roots are prone to turning upwards which cause the plant to struggle and diseases get the upper hand.

Nature Does Not Change:

An object seen in isolation from the whole is not the real thing.

To the extent that people separate themselves from nature, they spin out further and further from the centre. At the same time, a centripetal effect asserts itself and the desire to return to nature arises. But if people merely become caught up in reacting, moving to the left or to the right, depending on conditions, the result is only more activity. The non-moving point of origin, which lies outside the realm of relativity, is passed over, unnoticed. I believe that even “returning-to-nature” and antipollution activities, no matter how commendable, are not moving toward a genuine solution if they are carried out solely in reaction to the over development of the present age. Nature does not change, although the way of viewing nature invariably changes from age to age. — The One-Straw Revolution, by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Growing Vegetables Like Wild Plants:

You can grow vegetables any place there is a varied and vigorous growth of weeds. It is important to become familiar with the yearly cycle and growing pattern of the weeds and grasses. By looking at the variety and the size of the weeds in a certain area, you can tell what kind of soil there is and whether or not a deficiency exists.

One can either use a backyard garden to supply kitchen vegetables for the household or else grow vegetables on open, unused land. If you are lucky to live on a farm or small holding then naturally you would have the place and space to grow your own vegetables.

The main aim of semi-wild vegetable growing is to grow crops as naturally as possible on land that would otherwise be left unused. If various kinds of herbs and vegetables are mixed together and grown among the natural vegetation, damage by insects and diseases will be minimal and there will be no need to use sprays or to pick bugs off by hand.

In growing vegetables in a “semi-wild” way, making use of a vacant plot, riverbank or open wasteland, the idea is to just toss out the seeds and let the vegetables grow up with the weeds.

The important thing is knowing the right time to plant.

For the spring vegetables the right time is when the winter weeds are dying back and just before the summer weeds have sprouted.

For the autumn sowing, seeds should be tossed out when the summer grasses are fading away and the winter weeds have not yet appeared. It is best to wait for a rain — one that is likely to last for several days. Cut a swath in the weed cover and put out the vegetable seeds. There is no need to cover them with soil; just lay the weeds you have cut back over the seeds to act as a mulch and to hide them from the birds and chickens until they can germinate.

Often the weeds must be cut back two or three times in order to give the vegetable seedlings a head start, but sometimes just once is enough.

Where the weeds are not so thick, you can simply toss out the seeds. The chickens will eat some of them, but many will germinate.

Organized planting:

If you plant in a row or furrow, there is a chance that beetles or other insects will devour many of the seeds. They walk in a straight line. Each type of plant has specific insects that like them and when planted in neat rows the insects have no trouble just moving down the line and eat to their heart’s content. Also chickens will spot a patch that has been cleared and come to scratch around. When there has been no tilling or moving of the earth they do not come to investigate and scratch around. It is my experience that it is best to scatter the seeds here and there.

Vegetables grown in this way are stronger than most people think. If they sprout up before the weeds, they will not be overgrown later on. There are some vegetables, such as spinach and beans which do not germinate easily. Soaking the seeds in water for a day or two and covering with heavy mulch should solve the problem.

If sown a bit densely, which can happen when plants are left to seed themselves, various leafy green autumn vegetables will be strong enough to compete successfully with the winter and early spring weeds. A few always escape harvesting, reseeding themselves year after year. Garlic, onions, and leeks, once planted, will come up by themselves year after year.

These vegetables often have a unique flavour and make very interesting eating.

Legumes are best sown in spring. They will have difficulty germinating without enough rain so at times you have to water them and keep an eye out for birds and insects.

Tomatoes and eggplants are not strong enough to compete with the weeds when they are young, and so should be grown in a starter bed and later transplanted. Instead of staking them up, let the tomatoes run along the ground. Roots will grow down from the nodes along the main stem and new shoots will come up and bear fruit. You have to take care of the young plants, occasionally cutting the weeds, but after that, the plants will grow strong.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes once planted will come up in the same place every year and never be overgrown by weeds. Just leave a few in the ground when you harvest.

If you find the soil is too hard, grow radish first. As their roots grow, they cultivate and soften the earth and after a few seasons, potatoes can be grown in their place.

Naturally this process of growing food is less labour intensive and gives great variety to your surroundings. You would be amazed at how after just a few seasons your garden virtually grows itself and you just need to replenish and keep an eye on the general well-being of your crops and see that your garden has sufficient water. Nature knows how to do it best.

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Beautiful cottage flowers that reseed themselves. A simple way to get masses of gorgeous flowers on a budget. Start with one and get a hundred more!

Cottage Flowers that Reseed Themselves. Have you seen some PINS on Pinterest that read something like this: “Don’t plant these 20 Flowers!” or “32 plants you should never grow!” then you read the article and they list tons of the plants I share here?

I really have a hard time with misinformation like that. Here is why.

For one, gardening is an ongoing endeavor. And anyone that has gardened for any length of time knows that any easy to seed plant can become a problem if you don’t keep them in check.

How do you keep them from getting to be a problem?

Easy, you dead head as the flowers begin to fade and before seed heads develop. I have an entire article on deadheading you can read here.

The added benefit to deadheading is it encourages the plants to continue blooming. So don’t be afraid to plant any of these (unless for some reason they have been listed as invasive in your area) and enjoy easy to grow flowers year after year. And the best part, it is free.

One thing I have found so very helpful in having a beautiful cottage garden is the discovery of cottage flowers that reseed themselves. There are tons of them, both annuals and perennials, but for today I am going to share just some.

1. Foxgloves

Foxgloves are a cottage garden staple. One flower that makes wonderful vertical accents in your garden borders.

They love dappled sun or part shade. Many are long lived and super long flowering.

Usually considered a bi-ennial some newer varieties will actually bloom for you the first summer if sown early enough.

2. Morning Glory

If you are looking for a great, fast growing climber that will knock your socks off with an abundance of blooms, give Morning Glories a try.

Just make sure you have something for them to climb on to show off their gorgeousness.

Some states have deemed Morning Glories as invasive plant, check before planting in case your state is one.

More on Growing Morning Glories

3. Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams put on a dazzling show in borders, beds and containers. As the name suggests they add a beautiful sweet fragrance to your garden.

Though typically blooming in Spring and early Summer there are new varieties that are day neutral and will bloom all summer long with dead heading.

Pollinators love them!

More on Growing Sweet Williams

4. Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas live up to their name, they have the loveliest scent and keep on blooming all summer long with constant cutting. They make wonderful bouquets to bring indoors and enjoy.

Only the annual sweet peas have scent, the perennial one does not.

How to Grow Sweet Peas

5. Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks are described as sturdy and stately old fashioned plants. With an array of colors and types (aka: doubles or singles) you won’t have a hard time finding something that will fit into your scheme.

Hollyhocks bloom over a long summer season. And like other reseeding flowers they cross pollinate so the volunteer seedlings that come up will often be different colors than what you originally planted. That is always a fun surprise in gardening.

How to Grow Hollyhocks

6. Daisies

The Shasta Daisy is a classic, they happily spread by seed of their own volition but are not hard to dig up if they sprout where they are not wanted. One packet of seeds can produce plants that look a bit different from each other.

Daisies are great for cutting and summer bouquets which keeps them blooming longer. If you want to clone a particular daisy because of its unique beauty you can always take root divisions.

How to Grow Daisies

7. Black Eyed Susies

Black Eyed Susans are one of my favorite flowers in mid summer. They are reliable, tough as nails and so prolific that you can’t go wrong.

Their sunny disposition and drought tolerance make them a dry garden must have.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans

8. Echinacea aka Coneflower

Echinaceas come in a variety of colors and are another drought tolerant beauty. There are many sterile hybrids available that you can’t grow from seed but there are dozens of others that you can.

They are easy to direct sow in the garden in abundant drifts.

How to Grow Echinacea (aka Purple Coneflower)

9. Bachelors Buttons

Bachelor’s Buttons need little care. Flowers attract butterflies, are superb additions to fresh or dried arrangements. Plants are deer resistant.

In mild summer areas Bachelor’s Buttons will continue to flower until September when old blooms are removed. Sow seeds in fall in mild winter areas, and early spring everywhere.

10. Cosmos

Cosmos are wonderfully easy. They thrive in hot sun, poor soil and drought conditions.

They come in a variety of colors, heights and styles. They also attract pollinators and bloom until first freeze.

More flowers that reseed themselves beautifully:
Toadflax (Linaria)

What flowers do you grow that reseed and spread for you?

Happy Gardening!

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What Is Reseeding: How To Manage Self-Seeders In Gardens

One of the best bangs for your gardening buck is a reseeding plant. What is reseeding? The term refers to plants that set viable seed, which finds fertile ground in a zone for which it is hardy and grows anew the next season. They are essentially renewable plants, an environmentally responsible way to garden. That being said, these plants can quickly get out of hand without the right management. Read on to learn more.

What is Reseeding?

Self-seeding plants are often annual or biennial flowers. You may also find your fruits and vegetables are prolific reseeders, sometimes springing from your compost heap. Any seeds that are allowed to mature and sprout the next season are often called volunteers. These plants don’t sow themselves in well behaved rows but in unruly abundance, and mix among themselves. This can give a flower bed a unique charm and lively color. For fruits and veggies, they will often not grow true to the parent but something will grow and it will be a fun experiment to let them thrive and see what you get! Out of bounds, however, they can become something else altogether.

Once a plant has produced flowers, it generally produces seed after the blooms fade. These seeds are designed to carry the plant’s genetic material on in the form of new plants. Seeds fall or get scattered by animals, birds and wind. If they land in a favorable location, all that is left is to wait for the warm season and they germinate and make more of the original plant. Reseeding is simply this process. The little guys can come up anywhere, serendipitously, but that is half the fun. You can always transplant for a formal bed but at least you don’t have to save or purchase seed or another plant. Reseeding is one of nature’s ways of keeping things simple – or not.

Types of Self-Seeding Plants

There are many plants that reseed themselves. Popular flowering plants that will come back year after year can include annuals, biennials and perennials.

  • Annuals – popular annuals that reseed include forget-me-nots, coleus and marigolds.
  • Biennials – common self-sowing biennial plants are sweet William and rose campion.
  • Perennials – perennial plants prone to reseeding in the garden include columbine, violets and coneflowers.

Even some types of herbs, like chamomile, and vegetables, such as tomatoes or cucumbers, are prone to self-seeding in the garden. While some of these may offer a nice surprise, at other times they can become a nuisance. If this happens, it’s important to know how to handle the situation.

How to Manage Self Seeders

Now that you know what types of plants to allow to set seed and self-sow, you need to know how to manage self-seeders to prevent having them get out of hand, or in the case of veggies, prevent issues with pests or disease.

The most important bit of information for vegetables is that of crop rotation. Vegetable and fruit seeds germinate fairly near where the parent plant was located. Any old plant matter, and sometimes the soil itself, can harbor insect pests specific to that plant family or disease. That is why crop rotation is important. Choose initial plants that are resistant to diseases like powdery mildew and certain insects. Alternatively, move the plant to a location where that family group had not been growing for some years.

Another consideration is total invasion. For example, you may want a few borage plants to set seed, but if you allow all the plants to self-seed, you are going to have a problem on your hands the next season. Only allow a certain number of flowers to seed in order to start early containment. Using edging around the garden can also help, but sprouts may still pop up in unwanted areas. Should this occur, you can normally pluck the seedlings when the soil is moist (they come out easier then) or mow over them in the lawn.

For the most part, however, you can simply pick your favorite plants and let them flower and seed. Consider it an experiment which may reap a heap of benefits.

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