Scenes from the Backyard: Nature Trumps Nurture

CilantroLast spring, my roommate, our friend (the sous-chef), and I stuck a few cilantro plants in our herb garden. We’d barely harvested any of it before the weather turned hot and the cilantro started blooming. When cilantro is ready to bloom, it sends up stiff flower stems with sparse, frilly leaves that are nearly useless for cooking. And once it begins to blossom, the plant spends all its energy on the process, so you don’t get any new growth of the flavorful broader leaves and soft stems that make up the immature plants. The cilantro was the first of many casualties of last summer’s hot, dry weather.

But now it looks as if last year’s gone-to-seed plants set the stage for this year’s cilantro bumper crop! Right before the last cold snap, we were surprised and delighted to find cilantro growing all over the backyard this spring. The seeds managed to find their way as far as 50 feet from the herb garden. (Perhaps birds deserve credit for the distribution?) Several plants are growing in a flower bed clear across the backyard. We also found another half dozen or so growing here and there in the frost-killed lawn. We’ve transplanted them to the herb garden, where another six or eight plants had already sprung up in the area occupied by last year’s plants. And we left a few more to grow in an adjacent azalea bed. We’ll harvest them when we’re ready for salsa or a black bean salad in the coming weeks.

There’s a lesson here about patience, I think, and about life’s abundance. Sometimes if we wait and watch, what we reap ends up being even better than what we sowed.

1 comment to Scenes from the Backyard: Nature Trumps Nurture

  • Anne

    Lovely, Ed. Perhaps there is a parallel here about raising children. I sure am sowing, but the reaping hasn’t been that great…maybe one day…

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