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Anyone else seeing volunteer plants popping up in unusual places?  RSS feed

 
Jason Matthew
Posts: 66
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I have been using heirloom varieties for the last couple of years, and although my gardening efforts have been less than successful, I am seeing volunteer plants pop up in locations different than where I had seeded them. Usually they are showing up 10 feet or more from the original planting site. I know that the tomatoes are from rotten ones that I have tossed aside. I suspect some of the others are from squirrels or other small mammals running off with something and nibbling a small part of it. I have an ocra plant that came up from I don't know where. I have corn plants that have come up after I did some tilling for a fall cover crop. They will not amount to anything, but it is still odd to see corn come up in Sept/Oct. It has not died back yet, but it will soon.

Anyone else seeing this happen?

I wonder if this is not how native americans experienced gardening? After many years of planting heirloom varieties, I can imagine that you might find them growing almost anywhere conditions permit. I wonder if I'm not building up a seed bank in the soil of vegetable plants?

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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Volunteers are the initial path for the average person to a polyculture garden. I try to have nothing but volunteers.

Youll be amazed at the different ways seeds get around. So many ways we have no clue about most of them. If your really observant you can learn some fascinating stuff. I had some tomato seeds stuck to my shoe the other day. Stuck from when I stepped on one at a friends, it traveled more than a few miles home before I noticed and brushed them of by the side of the house.

Always keep in mind saving seed from good volunteers, this will help you out greatly in the long run.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I have found that volunteers often are better plants than the intentional ones.
Perhaps they have more "street smarts" than the typical packaged seeds.
 
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