Volunteers You Can Count On

digitS'

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without it i'd not have lasagna or a few other dishes i enjoy.
But, we have basil. There are several types that are transplanted out every year. They arrive later than most other garden crops because of their cold intolerance. Easily started in the greenhouse, they are "tucked in" along the edges in many locations. Those are Thai Hot peppers beyond the amaranth volunteer in the picture above, but also, a flowering Thai basil. (Cooperative immigrants from SE Asia ;).)

In the beds at home, covered by the temporary hoop house in March, the volunteer amaranth was harvested and plants pulled months ago. Seedlings are back there and we will see if they can make good growth before Summer conditions become just too much for the purple greens. You should know, amaranth is quite new-to-me -- this must be about the fifth year for it to be claiming a place in my gardens.

@Branching Out , I have grown cucamelon only once. It was a late cucumber that I could enjoy without peeling. DW had no interest in it and the vines were quite UNproductive. I had no idea that seeds could survive and volunteer for another year.
 

plainolebill

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Arugula, kale, Magenta Spreen, dill, borage volunteer in our garden. Probably missing something but I'm inside drinking coffee right now. I don't particularly like plants that have a lot of oxalic acid so we let the Magenta spreen grow for its beauty.
 

heirloomgal

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I might have thought years ago that we could try making sushi but I must not have the variety that makes large enough leaves ooorrr, & I'm certain that it is a possibility
I nearly ordered that extra large perilla variety this spring at West Coast Seeds. It was in the shopping cart with some other choices for about a week, and then I came to my senses and thought, 'What am I doing? I don't eat sushi?'
 

Phaedra

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No real luck with volunteer tomatoes
Steve, what is the definition of 'No real luck' here? They didn't grow well or they didn't have good flavors?
I just counted yesterday and realized I transplanted nearly 20 volunteer tomatoes to different spots without knowing their varieties.

It seems that they are satisfied with the growing conditions so far. I have trimmed the lower leaves and removed some suckers. Don't know what and how many they can bring us this year.

As it's already mid-July, the remaining young volunteer tomatoes should have no chance to contribute, so they will go to the compost heaps.
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digitS'

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Steve, what is the definition of 'No real luck' here? They didn't grow well or they didn't have good flavors?
They don't start early enough, grow during the early weeks enough, ripen ANY or enough fruit to make a contribution during the season when I have MANY tomatoes coming off other plants started in the greenhouse. After many seasons of tolerating a volunteer or two wherever they may show up, I've had "enough" of them :).

The exception for several years was Coyote. That variety was collected from an old Native American village site where it had been growing, an invasive by definition, if you will ;).

The dang things were so independently minded that I had serious trouble starting them in the greenhouse. Nevertheless, they volunteered 🙄 . Very early maturing, fruit ripened. It wasn't quite to my tastes and definitely not to DW's.

The final Coyote was actually outside my garden, probably from a seed that the tractor guy (or vole) left there. I cleared weeds away from it and we might be able to think that it escaped further and further during the few years since and is so far out in fallow ground that I haven't seen it. Good Bye :frow, Coyote!
 

Dahlia

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This is the Fruits & Vegetables forum so I am talking about something for the table ... not the chair at the table ;).

As many gardeners, I have dill and cilantro volunteers. I'm happy about that and we DO use them, or, some of them since they can be very prolific (and even sow cilantro seed each year so as to extend the season).

It used to be that Orach was of real importance in the early garden. Bbuuuttt, even with Help, haven't found the variety that once volunteered each Spring from a mother plant, left in an out-of-the-way spot the year before. The property owner moved & sold that place after he had inherited it from his father, my gardening buddy. Since I didn't sneak over and steal a volunteer plant for seed, I was left trying to decide what it was! Some orach varieties are now bred for the ornamental garden. (Native Seed Search has a couple of varieties that I know nothing about and should be worth a try in '24 - LINK.)

Orach would be past its harvest season by now, even if it was slowed a little in the Spring with me moving volunteers around. This is a cousin in the family, runs to a somewhat longer harvest season and my vegetable volunteer for the table the last few years.

View attachment 58640
Amaranth is a very common plant for the flower garden. Unlike another cousin, Spinach, it isn't commonly eaten. Seeds for these amaranths which may volunteer most anywhere ;), were given to us by a friend, who received them from another friend. Where they came from originally is a mystery to me. They are, indeed, quite ornamental (often darker in color than this one). Purple like another of my favorite vegetables - beet greens, another cousin - after they are cooked and arrive on the plate.

Steve
growing here beside some Thai Hot peppers
View attachment 58641
The volunteer plants that reappear in my garden without replanting are swiss chard, chamomile, peas, potatoes, chickweed, and dill.

BTW, what do you use your dill for? I like to use it in Fettucini Shrimp & Spinach, Cucumber & Potato Dill Summer Salad, and Greek Chicken Pasta Salad.
 

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