Going to seed

Going to seed doesn't just happen to humans, of course. It's part and parcel of the plant world too.

Nevertheless, it's sad to see both humans, and your winter vegetable patch turning into a flower garden; are you about to push up daisies? But, it's part of the cycle of nature, and it simply means that you have to keep planting again, in order to enjoy more veggies.

By Bernard Preston

It's late spring here, and the broccoli and spinach, the kale and cabbage are all producing heads of the most beautiful flowers; even the purple leafed lettuce has the tiniest of lovely yellow blooms appearing.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 29th November, 2018.

Broccoli flowers you can enjoy on a salad, of course, but quite soon they'll go to the chicken tractor that is in the making; more about that later.

The bees are very happy and there's plenty of pollination happening. They are seriously under stress, as we are, in our toxic, chemical laden society; having a few friendly plants is important in every garden, and there's none better than the broccoli family.

There's merit in going to the corner garden shop for new seed, but there's also virtue in keeping your own; it's free apart from anything else, and you know it is fresh. Do you ever get poor germination from a packet you've only just purchased?

My recommendation is that you only buy from companies that put a date on the packet; otherwise, you have no idea just how old the seed is.

Unscrupulous companies are deliberately packing old seed, methinks, knowing we'll blame the garden shop; however, talking to them, you'll soon realise they are at the mercy of their suppliers who are out to make an extra buck.

This branching broccoli is my favourite; it goes on for months producing little florets of the queen of the anti cancer league. This chicken broccoli recipe is a gem and so easy to prepare; really it's a soup.

Going to seed

Going to seed is part of the cycle of nature and we must take advantage of it; alas it's happening to Bernard Preston too! However, patients and family who reach a relatively healthy ninety with all their marbles intact, have inspired me to promote the building of eco friendly homes, take an interest in subjects like growing lettuce, and harvesting and storing the rainwater to provide for our home and garden throughout the year.

We've had the most wonderful winter and early spring lettuce but now alas they are bolting, and the leaves start to turn bitter.

She who must be obeyed has been busy with seed she collected last year and there are some interesting cross pollinations of red and green lettuce.

And the spinach that kept us in greens right through the winter is about to go to flower. Whilst swiss chard goes on for months and even years, keeping us in eggs Florentine for breakfast, the softer variety needs to be replanted regularly, and kept moist in the hot summer months.

Luckily the boss has been keeping abreast of these developments, so new seedlings are up, and our daily fresh spinach recipes are not threatened.

Going to seed is about the most normal thing happening in the veggie garden. But there's no need for it to happen to us. Eat these kinds of foods every day, and you have to work quite hard at becoming obese, with all its attendant problems.

Like knee arthritis that keeps chiropractors and surgeons in business, and the diabetes and cancer that maintains the practices of so many doctors.

Herbs like this coriander that's going to seed, and parsley and sweet basil are a must in every garden. They count as one of the colours you can chalk up in your must have eight colours per day diet, and are mostly not difficult to grow. They add so much variation of flavour to the boring old iceberg lettuce and tomato that barely qualifies as a salad.

We'll be collecting a mountain of coriander seed for our curries in a couple weeks; meanwhile we've had a mountain of cilantro through the spring and summer. It's lovely because it seeds itself. 

Eight coloured fruit and veg every day means 35% lower all cause of death. That's massive. Don't get neurotic, just try to enjoy as broad a spectrum of foods as you possibly can.

And then on the positive side of these dying plants, are the many other flowers coming into bloom, like citrus, and of course the whole flower garden; all is not lost!

So, do collect the seed when you see your plants going to seed, and do keep planting. Enjoy, when the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there's always the garden.

This year we were very pleased that we had held back some broad bean seed at the end of the season last year; you could not purchase seed for love nor money anywhere in South Africa.

They are the only source of L-dopa the precursor to dopamine; without it you'll get Parkinson's disease. Also it satisfies the pleasure centre in the brain; you won't be hungry all day if you have half a cup for breakfast. It sounds a bit weird, but I'm convinced. You have to grow them; you won't find them in the green grocer. How to plant broad beans, also known as favas is very important to me.

Healthy choice foods

Healthy choice foods in the garden will often but not always produce excellent seed for next year's crop. Keep only the best, and make sure it's properly dry; going to seed can be a blessing. 

We've had a great deal of difficulty growing beans over the last few years due to a pesky beetle that ruins the plants. Last summer we introduced hens to the garden for the first time; holding thumbs because it appears the pest is a thing of the past. The birds found all the larvae skulking over winter under the mulch. The synergy of green living has made a big impression on me.

Save bean seed, but only the best.

There's a serious neurosis called orthorhexia that comes from being overly concerned about what you eat; it's impossible to make sure you have enough zeaxanthin and betaine in your diet for example. If we just concentrate on eating from a wide range of fresh foods we can be relatively sure all is well in the state of Denmark.

A deficiency of zeaxanthin means you'll get macular degeneration by the way; and betaine prevents the build up of a very toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism.

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Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston books are not about healthy choice foods, but about people going to seed; can we at the chiropractic coalface make a difference?

I'm busy with my seventh book; it's about the first married pope in a millennium, and what led up to that remarkable event. It's a novel of course.

Read my latest trilogy? Only $1.14 each. Hold onto your hat...


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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa