This time of year, we have a lot of sprouts popping up in odd places. We didn’t plant them, they are “volunteers.” Volunteers are a godsend in filling in spaces around the yard with spring flowers, extra lettuces, and even the best tomatoes you’ll ever grow. We call them “Nature’s slap in the face” because they do better than most of the plants we’ve cultivated on purpose.
They don’t need much help from us, and so they tend to be stronger and more adapted to the place where they’re growing. Here’s what’s volunteering in our garden this season:
Many of these volunteers are helped along by us gardeners. In August/September, we can grab dry seed pods and scatter them in new spaces. We did that to help propagate volunteers in seasons to come.
Lambs ears and dill don’t need much help growing from seed. In fact, dill does best from seed rather than buying transplants at the nursery.
Not that we were trying to do the three sisters garden, but this squash is going to be a living mulch for the corn as it grows.
We’ve had good luck with tomato volunteers in this location before. It’s in the shade of a giant Cecile Brunner rose, but it doesn’t seem to mind.
We’ll let this celery grow so the chickens will have something fresh to eat in the summer. They’d never turn down free food (neither would we).
Letting volunteers have their way in your garden makes for broader diversity and offers habitat for beneficial insects. Toss some seeds carelessly and see what happens.