Seed Mindfulness


Saving seeds is an opportunity to practice mindfulness. These are the dried flowers of 牛蒡 – Gobo (burdock). The foot to two feet long roots of young gobo have a delicious, woodsy, mushroomy, carroty taste.


After pulling the flowers apart to get their seeds, I discovered that the burdock flowers are also the home to many spiders and tiny bugs. Most of those are back outdoors looking for new homes. It emphasizes the importance of letting plants alone in the garden after they have flowered and gone to seed. Their dried stems and flowerheads house thousands of beneficial insects and spiders.


So how many seeds does a handful of gobo flowers produce?


1,011 to be precise. This is the mindfulness part. Turn off the radio. Close your eyes. Enjoy the peace and quiet, and start counting. Paying only attention to the seeds, make stacks of 10 seeds and line them up until all the seeds are counted. You can turn most any task into an opportunity to practice mindfulness.


GoboSeedsFThe 1,011 seeds are now in packet ready for when I plant them in a few weeks.

7 Replies to “Seed Mindfulness”

  1. How, pray tell, do you harvest burdock roots? I bought some once at Uwajimaya and wondered how such a long root could be pulled from the ground in one piece. I imagined that it would be ten times worse than pulling up a dandelion!

  2. Digging Gobo
    You first plant the burdock in raised beds. When it comes time to harvest, you dig open the sides of the beds and can then harvest the root. The illustration is from Growing Gobo. The page is in Japanese but the illustrations explain it well.

  3. Clever! That makes so much more sense than the herculean effort I imagined it would take 🙂

  4. Watch this harvesting long carrots clip to see a herculean harvest effort. It is a 3 minute news clip of a farmer, Masamichi Imai 65 years old, harvesting carrots up to three feet long from a field buried under 15 inches of snow. The clip is in Japanese, but it’s fun to watch even if you don’t understand it. The farmer is in Sagae, a town 250 miles north of Tokyo. There used to be 30 farmers in the ares growing these long carrots, but he is the only one now. He grows 8 tons of these 28 to 39 inch long carrots on a fifth of an acre. He plants them in early July and harvests them in March. He says the first 10 days after planting is the most crucial time period for these carrots. During the winter, resting under the heavy snow, they become very sweet. The carrots are sold in the local area at stores which handle local produce. He grows eight varieties of vegetables.

  5. Wow – I’ve never seen carrots that long! I was impressed with how tidy they kept the work area and how relatively easily the carrots came out of the ground (wonder how he prepped his soil). Although I admit I felt the need to stretch my back after watching that clip! Also loved his vegetable washer 🙂 Oh, and why would the first 10 days after planting be so critical?

  6. I love this word, mindfulness. I’m going to start using this word and practicing it’s meaning.
    I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m absolutely in love.
    Thank you for all you share. You are lovely, your hens are lovely, everything you write about, every detail is meaningful to me.

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