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Random cherry tomato volunteers suspiciously in the location of a recent potluck table.

Volunteer Tomatoes – Nature’s Slap in the Face

There is either a great blessing or a humbling cruelty to the fact that volunteer tomatoes grow bigger, faster and stronger than cultivated varieties.  By volunteer, I mean the little sprouts that pushed out of the soil all on their own, not planted by me, not planted in rich garden soil, and not necessarily in full sun or even near any source of water.  Yet despite these conditions, nature prevails.

I have two, possibly three volunteer tomatoes that popped up in the most unwitting locations.  Observe specimen number 1:












I gave it a cage to show I care.

Tawdry Details: This cherry tomato is a variety I’ve never grown, nor do I have seeds for this tomato.  It is located precisely where the potluck table sat at last summer’s Garden Harvest and Seed Exchange party.  Mind you, it’s on the north side of the house, and is in complete and total shade.

Ultimate Cruelty: It already has a tiny ripening tomato









Show off!

Specimen 2 (and 3 I think):













Tawdry Details: Tucked behind the ginormous Cecil Brunner rose against a fence, and blocked from the world by a Rubbermaid bin of finished compost, this cluster of tomatoes is thriving.  No flowers or fruit yet, but the foliage speaks for itself.

Ultimate Cruelty:  This tomato most likely came about because the 4 x 4 post supporting the Cecil Brunner is the access pathway for vermin into our yard.  Rats stole my tomatoes last year and probably dropped some seeds during the escape.

I’m not even going to show you pictures of the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed under grow lights.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to be fine, but they look sad compared to these volunteers.  Sometimes nature has a way of reminding us that it was here long before us, and will continue long after we’ve gone.

Do you have anything volunteering in your garden this spring?  Share the juicy details here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Christy Wilhelmi

    Hear, hear!  My compost pile spouts hundreds of pumpkin seeds every season. I usually need the compost, so I haven’t let them grow, but I always wish to see what would happen if I left it there for a few months. 

  2. Dan R-M

    Oh, yeah, totally… We have dandelions, dock, thistles 🙂
    I am eager to get to the point where we’ve got some volunteers, actually. It will show that something made it to full maturity the year before.
    Our best volunteer tomatoes, though, always came out of the compost pile.

  3. barbara

    I just discovered a beautiful head of lettuce growing out of the side of a hanging basket that has a cocoa mat liner. I’m certain that if I had wanted to make that happen it would have been a miserable failure.

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