Let’s give a shoutout for relatively well-behaved self-sowing plants in the garden, shall we?
Buy the seeds once and you’ll never need to buy them again!
With virtually no effort on my part, other than making no effort to deadhead them before they set seeds and cast those seeds about, these four plants—dill, nicotiana, borage, and columbine—come up from seeds in my garden every spring.
Admittedly, one of these, the columbine, isn’t like the others because it’s actually a short-lived perennial (Aquilegia vulgaris). In addition to seedlings showing up in the spring, columbine returns as a perennial too. Which is good because often the seedlings don’t bloom the first year from seed.
The other three plants, the dill, the borage, and the nicotiana, are annuals that come up from self-sown seeds every year in the vegetable garden, sort of close to where they were growing the year before.
What makes them well-behaved, considering they are coming up all over, which is what weeds do?
They are well-behaved because they are easy to pluck out wherever you don’t want them and usually easy to transplant to where you do want them.
I always transplant the dill from where it self-sows from the year before to a new bed because I like to grow the dill next to the cucumbers. Since I move the cucumbers to a different bed each year, I usually have to transplant the dill to its new home too.
The borage sort of stays at the one end of the vegetable garden where I plant flowers anyway, which is a good spot for it. Though I noticed that a nice little clump of borage came up by the compost pile at the other end of the garden this year. That’s a fine spot for bit of borage too.
The nicotiana, also known as flowering tobacco, mostly stays near the ends of the vegetable beds which is where I plant flowers anyway. If it shows up where I don’t want it, it’s easy to pull out. It’s also easy to transplant if I see there are gaps at the ends of any beds that need to be filled in.
And that is why I’ll never buy seeds for these particular plants again. Not even “just in case” they don’t return some spring. I know my garden. I know my plants (well, I know some of them.)
I know these four plants—dill, nicotiana, borage, and columbine—will return each spring from self-sown seeds.