Unique places for volunteers to grow

uscjustoJune 27, 2013

Something caught my eye growing from underneath this boulder in my backyard, which is an area that gets little care or water.

I saw this tomato volunteer! I have a raised vegetable bed about 6 feet away so I'm not sure how a seed managed to germinate in this unique spot.

Pretty cool right?

Anyone else have unique spots where volunteers popped up?

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On Kauai, in Hawaii, I have seen wild/volunteer (edible ones) cherry tomatoes growing on couple of slopes in patches so large the birds don't have a chance to keep up with the production no matter how much they munch on them.

They were most likely initially "planted" there by a bird (or some other animal) stealing a snack from someone's garden and pooping them out to the land below. The patches I've seen look like they've grown/died back and seeds sprouted multiple plants over quite a many years...really striking when in full fruit bloom.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Who says its hard to grow tomatoes. Just look at how nature can do it so easily.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:09PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I routinely get volunteers in my compost pit. I think everyone does. I transplant many to my garden, though of course if it's from a store-bought hybrid fruit, I won't have a clue what I get. I transplanted a tomato from that pit, and it luckily turned out to be from a non-hybrid Costaluto tomato I was given last year. (This year I'm saving seeds from it!) Have transplanted squash, which turned out well. This year I have a rich supply of volunteer cukes, which are growing ferociously, but refuse to fruit (so far). One came up in a xeriscape patch on my parking strip that got some of that compost which, although I'm supposed to be xeriscaping, I cheat, and put water on it routinely.

But your boulder tomato is pretty exceptional.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:48PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I had a pretty little pinky red salvia volunteer in the crack between my back step and the landing. I transplanted it into the garden and it is very happy. I also had about 50 tomato and basil seeds voulunteer in my not so tightly covered soil bucket. They are all in the ground now. Mostly a grape tomato. One must have rotted in the 3 gallon pot I had it in and reseeded. I always reuse my potting soil.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:09AM
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Not a volunteer but I was very happy to see that my cilantro from last year reseeded itself in same place - I'd been saving the last of my seed for later in the summer, hoping to have cilantro when (if) we have tomatoes since the transplant I put in last year bolted early.

Not as unique as your boulder, but last year I had at least a dozen healthy tomato volunteers in a pit I had filled with chicken coop cleanings. My cousin and uncle must have fed rotten tomatoes to their chickens. I also had some gourds and winter squash come up on the edge of a pile of bark mulch, I had thrown some rotted (shellacked) ornamental gourds, mini pumpkin-looking things I got at WM there the year before. Something was eating them last year and now I've got 6 coming up in the same place even though the mulch is gone - I'm waiting to see if they're the vining ones, and will move the smaller ones to a trellised area after my determinate tomatoes are done, if they're not too big by then. I did move a couple early last season and they took over the garden!

Of course, we've got so many wild blackberries in the area (and wild turkey) that we've got a blackberry plant coming up here and there in the lawn, garden, everywhere. I pull the ones in the garden, DH mows the lawn but I have to go dig them out later in the year (or if/when we have a dry spell and the grass goes dormant) when he's done mowing. I guess I should consider those weeds rather than volunteers.

Edited to add photo - sorry it's upside down, don't know why it does that when I download.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 16:40

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:56AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I have some pumpkin volunteers that came up from a store bought pie pumpkin. It was bad when I cut it open. I just tossed it near the woods with intentions of putting it in the compost pile later but forgot about it.

It isn't in an odd spot actually, but it is growing so good!

I never have any luck with pumpkins in my garden. SBV and other bugs usually get them early. Not a single bug so far!

I have at least 10 pumpkins bigger than a softball!

The spot where they came up is shady and only gets about 4 hours of afternoon sun. The dirt is pretty good since it is in the edge of the woods and I've been adding urine. ;)

This post was edited by wertach on Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 11:17

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Great pumpkin pie story!!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Of the pumpkins, not of fertilization process!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Pretty cool uscjusto.

Not really a unique place for a volunteer, but after last year's tomatoes, I tilled the area, amended it, and in went my leeks. So, this season, after I lost a couple tomato plants to gophers, I noticed about a dozen tomato volunteers growing in my leek bed. I grabbed the best 3... 2 went into pots(for backups) and 1 went back where i lost one, but this time I buried a milk crate(get through that, gophers!).


    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:49PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

LOL ajsmama! I will try to post some pics later today, of the pumpkins, of course.

I need battery's for my camera. Hopefully I will remember them on the way home! I've been trying to remember to pick some up for weeks now!

I just turned 59 and my memory isn't so good anymore!

I have to make a map of where I plant things in the garden now. I used to be able to point out a row with nothing above ground and tell someone what was planted there, No more!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:17PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

The volunteer pumpkins

Volunteer potato

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Nice pumpkins and nice potatoes!!
Nature is so amazing.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:20PM
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OK, compost pile is not a unique place for a volunteer, but I went to empty a bucket of strawberry plants I had pulled out months ago (wanted to make sure they didn't take in the compost) and found a 1ft tall tomato between the door of the middle bin (3 bin pallet system) and the rock used to hold it closed! I'm sure it wasn't there just a few days ago since DH turned the compost! some smaller tomatoes inside the gap of the door (the pallet that makes the door) not inside the bin either. I'll have to see if DH will turn that middle bin again without opening the door so maybe we can try the fruit - probably a grocery store hybrid (though we don't buy many, I have occasionally) but who knows? I'd be really interested to see if I can ID the variety.

The biggest volunteer by the "doorstop" is as big as most of my transplants that have been out 1 month, and healthier! Looks like all the rain hasn't bothered it at all - must be that good compost ;-) It actually has flower buds. The flea beetles haven't discovered it either.

Edited to add photo

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 16:42

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:13AM
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One year my mother unkowingly had a dog that LOVED to eat tomatoes off the plant. Dear doggie left evidence of his tomato affair the following year with tomato plants sprouting all over the yard.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:10AM
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A few years back, my dogs chewed a hole in and then proceeded to drag a 20 pound bag of sunflower seed across my yard. I had a 12 inch swath of sunflowers that curved around my yard for about 20 feet.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Last 2 stories... awesome! I can picture it now!


    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:53AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Well, the joke is on me.

As I said above, I had cucumber volunteers from my compost pit (transplanted carefully into my garden) that are growing like crazy. Vines are eight feet long. Lot of flowers but, until today, I didn't think I had any fruit. Now, the bad news is that I'm not going to get any cucumbers. The good news is that I have a softball-sized green ball on one of the vines that looks a whole lot like a cantaloupe. Well, the leaves do look just like cukes! Now, I've grown cukes many times before, but never cantaloupes, so this will be interesting. Our compost pit has gotten both cantaloupe and honeydew remains, so I guess it could be either. Ah, the pleasure of volunteers! You never really know who is going to come pay you a visit.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Years ago we had 2 crosses come up from compost - 1 looked like a canteloupe but had green flesh, the other looked like a honeydew but had orange flesh. The one with the green flesh was nice and sweet, the other was a spitter.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:16PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Well, that's a good point. I'm not even quite sure what an unripe cantaloupe looks like. I take it it is green on the outside, right? Of course it may have come from a hybrid (store bought cantaloupe), in which case goodness knows what it is. I suppose that's one of the non-pleasure of volunteers. If it came from a hybrid, it could well turn out to be pretty crappy.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:33PM
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I don't have any volunteers in odd places. But I do have a rule that all volunteers are allowed to grow to maturity no matter where they show up.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Last year, it was lettuce coming up in a cracked space in the driveway. This year, it is lettuce coming up between flagstone on a path. I'd show a picture, but my iPhoto library is behaving strangely. I can see the thumbnail in there, but when I open the file or attach it here, it gives me a completely different photograph.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:23AM
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I once found a sungold-like tomato growing in a shady spot between a sidewalk and a wall, on the university campus. It trailed along the ground and produced prolifically in this marginal climate. I really wished I had saved seed from this hardy plant, but this was long before I started saving seed.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:52AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I get tomatoes, potatoes and squash everywhere from my compost!
I would love to grow each one to fruition, but, growing in raised beds, wired due to gophers, my space is somewhat limited!
I got a couple of (I thought) squash plants one year that put zucchini to shame on production! They were pure white! I ended up taking a wheelbarrow down to the road every other day and they were gone by the time I got home from work!
Maybe I should dump some of the compost away from the garden to distract the gophers and see what comes up! Nancy

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 1:58AM
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I don't remember what the melons looked like when they were young, but we were surprised to find the green flesh in the webbed-skin ones and orange flesh in the smooth ones. They were from store-bought fruit we'd thrown in the compost - that house we only grew tomatoes in a small bed at the end of the deck but when we found these plants growing in the compost we took a couple and planted them along the foundation to figure out what they were.

After having LB last year we were meticulous about clearing out all the tomato and potato plants, every single leaf, root and fruit, NO volunteers in the beds this year and we trashed the residue instead of composting it. But DH just threw some rotten red potatoes and sprouting Russets(both storebought) in the compost, I hope we don't have problems from those.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 8:15PM
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The volunteer tomato by the compost pile is now 3ft tall and has its first fruit set (probably a cherry) - very close (a few ft north and west) of the Independence Day so same sun, and it's never been watered. Of course, since it appears that the roots are going into the bottom of the middle (semi-finished) compost bin, and probably spreading into the finished bin next to it, they have more than 3ft deep moist OM piled on top of them. Should be interesting to pull that plant later and find out how far in each direction the roots go.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:23AM
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Remember that volunteer tomato I posted a picture of July 1? Here's an updated photo - no ripe fruit yet (and there are more stems popping up inside the compost bin, in the back corner. DH thinks they're new plants but I think it's all the same root system - we'll see when we empty the bin).

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 8:18AM
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nicest sumac tree growing in my garage gutter, (not really kinda embarrassing) if I want something to grow just feed to my rabbits they seem to be better gardeners then me.(except plants on the poison list)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 3:26AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

A new pic of some of the volunteer pumpkins and tomatoes that I posted in late June.

I had 6 pumpkins in all, the bigger ones were made into some very yummy pies! I'm going to hold on to the last 2 and see if they survive until Halloween!

The tomatoes must be from a store bought tomato. I have picked about 15 ripe ones it's still blooming and it has 8 more nice big ones starting to ripen. My garden tomatoes are about finished. They are pretty good taste wise.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Sick brag using a $5 bill instead of the standard $1.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 4:34PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I didn't have a $1 bill. My wife takes them all.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 8:18AM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Tokyo - photo taken in November, I think, tomato would have been wilting from cold in a garden but concrete acting as a thermal sink. I guess one of the local shopkeepers had adopted this one and given it water.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:32AM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

same plant

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:33AM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

last photo

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:34AM
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