In the Garden: Managing self-sowing annuals and herbs

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) There are a lot of plants that if you leave them, you are going to have them forever. Charlie Nardozzi shows us how to manage these self-sowing annuals and herbs.

Sharon Meyer: Charlie, you kind of have a mini superbloom going on here.

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes we do. We don't have a lot of weeds, but we do have a lot of self-sowing annuals and herbs.

Sharon Meyer: They are beautiful.

Charlie Nardozzi: So, there are a lot of plants that if you leave them, let them go to seed, you are going to have them forever, for better or for worse.

Sharon Meyer: It looks like it's for better.

Charlie Nardozzi: Right now it's for better. Later in the season it might be for worse. But poppies are one of the examples of that. These are breadseed poppies -- you're holding a California poppy. You let them go to seed once and you are going to have hundreds if not thousands of seeds in your garden. So, what we do is we do a little selective editing.

Sharon Meyer: In the spring.

Charlie Nardozzi: In the spring. So, whether it be poppies, or calendula -- even dill is another one that does that, or verbena is a late flowering annual flower. We leave little patches of it here and there so we can have a mini superbloom effect. But then when it's done, what we can do is just rip it all up, even if you rip it out before it self sows, there is still enough seeds from the previous years that it will come back.
And what's fun about this too, is with the poppies, they change shades of colors too, because they keep crossing.

Sharon Meyer: So they evolve.

Charlie Nardozzi: They evolve. So, you get singles and doubles, you get pink ones and purple ones and crimson ones. So you have different shapes and colors to them.

Sharon Meyer: So, one of the problems I have in the spring is knowing what's a weed and what's something that I want to keep.

Charlie Nardozzi: So, you have to do a little education. Some of them are pretty obvious, like the California poppy or these breadseed poppies. But others are a little harder to figure out, like a calendula might look like a weed.

Sharon Meyer: So, maybe take pictures so that you can look back next year.

Charlie Nardozzi: And like I said, we weed out 95 percent of all of these plants and leave just little patches of them, and if you want, you can collect the seeds and spread them in different areas, or give them to your friends. And then you can spread the joy around.