Friday, March 9, 2012

Native seeds

American sea rocket. Cakile edentula. We hope. These are the sea rocket seeds that kind Lambert mailed to me last fall. Provenance, Fire Island. I had been alerted to sea rocket's existence by Karen, the blogger at Outside Now. It sounded intriguing. I think I may have drooled a little. After collecting some leaves in Jamaica Bay (below) and loving their fiery wasabi taste in a salad, I longed for some of my own. Lambert came through.

What I have only just learned though, is that there are several sea rockets: of those Cakile edentula and Cakile lanceolata are American, while Cakile maritima is a European invader, and a real bully. I looked at my own pictures of the sea rocket in situ carefully, and confirmed - as far as I am able, as a layperson - that what I had eaten was C. edentula. Hopefully the Fire Island rockets (rocket is the English name for arugula) are the same.

I did sow several last fall, and one germinated. But they ain't winter-hardy - they are annuals. Each seed capsule is very tough, and this time I pried them open with my Opinel knife, releasing the seed. For luck, and for a taste of the salt air from where they were born, I scattered the opened capsules over their potting soil.

I don't know if they will like the potting soil, and perhaps I should spray them with Jamaica Bay saltwater every now and then. But I would like to see them grow up. This would be a killer crop.
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