In the heady days of spring when the seed trays yawn open wide, demanding to be filled, I try ever so hard to stick to my plan. There is only limited space in the garden and so I need to choose the occupants wisely. But I also have a deep sense of curiosity within me. I can’t help myself as I fill my pots with warm, moist soil and think to myself – oh one more won’t hurt. This is usually immediately following the thought “hmmmm…..I wonder…..”
It is because of this weakness that I set aside a spot in my garden for the weird and wonderful, the new and exciting and the things I just must have, but can’t fit them into the plan anywhere else. This is my odds and sods bed and filling it up is loads of fun.
Last spring – a good 6 months ago I was staring into my pantry and the large bag of dried chickpeas that I’d picked up at the store relatively inexpensively and I figured I’d see if I could grow some. How hard could it be? If they were difficult they’d be expensive to buy, right? And I popped some seeds into an empty seed tray in the greenhouse and waited and hoped for the best.
Before I knew it some ferny looking seedlings had emerged and were duly planted in their place in the mixed bed once the risk of frost was all but gone. Life in the garden begun to pick up with the craziness of the full season and almost unnoticed the chickpeas grew strong and bushy. The bright green foliage added a vibrancy to the landscape.
The sweetest yellow flowers soon appeared and the bush looked so healthy and robust. It seemed like the ultimate take care of itself crop and I could hardly wait for an abundant harvest from this low maintenance plant. However, it would seem it would be more fragile than first appeared as a storm whipped through and parted the bush like the Red Sea. Ever so carefully I tied it back together and held it in place with strong bamboo posts, but it was never quite the same and lolled about the place draping itself over my peanuts.
Bright green fuzzy pods appeared and I was a little concerned. Where was the abundance? The pods weren’t exactly large. But I was committed to the harvest now so I watched as the brightness faded to gold and the pods began to rattle on the plant. Just looking at the plants revealed what I already knew – there wasn’t going to be a big batch of hummus anytime soon. Undeterred, I pushed through and shelled the crop.
I suppose I should be grateful. I now know how chickpeas grow and if I’d planted a dollar and got back a yield like that I’d be over the moon. And now I have a space in my odds and sods bed for next season. “Hmmm…. I wonder……”
Come again soon – autumn isn’t such a bad season.
Sarah the Gardener : o)