The greenhouse has been so busy this year that we haven’t taken much time to write about it except to celebrate the amazing Senegal seedlings. I thought we’d post this update since it also includes information on the free seeds* we love to share. (We also posted the free plant list for Open Greenhouse & Plant Swap on Oct. 2 if you’re near enough to visit.)
It’s time to plant Daikon radish – aka mooli — here in the south. Not only is it an incredibly easy to grow vegetable, its health benefits are awesome. And if that’s not enough to convince our neighbors to plant these free seeds, it’s one of the best pollinator plants around if you let it flower. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a hard freeze in our yarden, but the last time it happened, the flowering Daikons came through like champs. When everything else was brown, their beautiful pink and white flowers attracted droves of bees and butterflies.
We also harvested a bumper crop of moringa seeds last weekend. They do need protection from freezing temperatures but starting them in pots where they can be protected will give them a head start for next spring. It also does well over the winter if you use LED grow lights.
Moringa is another superfood. According to WebMD, its leaves have 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. It also has calcium, protein, iron, and amino acids, which help your body heal and build muscle.
It’s also packed with antioxidants, substances that can protect cells from damage and may boost your immune system. There’s some evidence that some of these antioxidants can also lower blood pressure and reduce fat in the blood and body.
We’re also harvesting seeds from the tropical dwarf poinciana, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, which doesn’t have any health benefits unless you count lowered blood pressure from watching butterflies. It’s a potted plant north of USDA zone 9, but we think it’s worth growing for the pollinators.
And, of course, the greenhouse is still shipping the plants we sell at least until temperatures drop below freezing, hopefully a few more months. The Senegal seedlings are amazing, we’ve been growing neem for running up on 30 years from seeds collected in both India and Mexico. We’ve never seen anything like these plants at this age.
It’s probably the fact that they’ve been neglected for years. Indians living in Africa as part of the British Colonial Empire brought the seeds with them and then they’ve naturalized to the point where they’re pushing back the Sahara Desert. (They handled record-setting rainfall in Florida this summer remarkably well though.)
And we’ve finally caught up on betel leaf plants and tulsi (holy basil). The betel really loved the hot, wet winter here and we’ve been working on ways to propagate it more quickly. Hopefully next spring we’ll have enough to sell the fresh leaf to customers who would rather buy it that way than grow their own plants.
(The ashwagandha didn’t like the wet weather as much as everything else, and the brahmi is covered in baby butterflies — aka caterpillars — but we’re caught up on everything else!)
As always, free seeds are included with your order but we can’t afford to ship them on their own. We also ask that you request no more than two packages of seeds — which are time-consuming to harvest and package. (If you’re working on a special project, email vicki@nitzal03