Volunteers You Can Count On

Zeedman

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
3,897
Reaction score
11,958
Points
307
Location
East-central Wisconsin
Just a couple updates.

The apparently hybrid volunteer strawberries really are everbearing; they are still bearing, even now. In fact, these are some of the best berries all year:
20231002_143507.jpg

As you can see, the seeds detach easily... I try to shake some loose in the garden or yard before I eat them. They are little red hand mines. 💥 Imagine if we could breed big strawberries whose seeds just fell off.

I've been closely watching the the volunteer ?ground cherry? in the garden (since I am apparently unable to kill it :rolleyes:). I hoped to further define its identity, beyond its appearance as part of the genus Physalis. Very short, spreading plants - with special emphasis on spreading, which they do incredibly well. The very small berries inside the husks don't appear to ripen very rapidly though, and do not appear worth cultivating (or tolerating). They remind me of the time I mistakenly planted Chinese Lantern in one of DW's flower gardens... it spread so quickly that it took 3 years for us to completely eliminate it.
20231004_131707.jpg

If this pops up in your garden, kill on sight before it spreads. Think of it as more of a disease than a plant, and treat it appropriately. It was apparently brought to my fence line by birds... I can't imagine what they see in it.
 

digitS'

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
25,933
Reaction score
29,474
Points
457
Location
border, ID/WA(!)
The Porters:

IMG_0766.jpg
They ripened! Pretty good for an 80 day variety. Adapted to Texas climate, the seed companies tell us. I suppose that there are parts of Texas like here.

They always do well and I have grown them for about 30 years. Buuttt, that is starting them indoors about 3/1, up-potting and finally setting them outdoors 3 months later.

I don't remember a Porters volunteer ever ripening before. There were 2 other volunteers in the squash patch – one had flowers, the other a few, hard and tiny tomatoes. A cherry descendant, no doubt. I say "were" because I ran over them yesterday with first the lawnmower and then the rototiller. Porters was saved and dodged around with the machines. I even brought it some water in a bucket ;).

Steve
 

Zeedman

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
3,897
Reaction score
11,958
Points
307
Location
East-central Wisconsin
Last week, with strong winds forecast, I drove out to the rural garden to see if the hay mulch on the garlic was still firmly in place (it was). While there, I collected some pods from the volunteer Martynia. One of its common names is "devil's claw" - for good reason. The ripe seed pods shed their soft skin as they dry, revealing a very tough inner core. As the inner core dries, the long thin portion splits into two curved claws with sharp tips, that then twist inward toward each other. The claws are meant to cling tightly to the feet of any large animal which steps between them, with the hapless animal then spreading seed as it walks.

20240108_130915.jpg 20240108_131236.jpg
Proboscidea parviflora "Paiute". The 1st photo shows the outer skin sloughing off; the 2nd shows the completely dry pod & seed to scale.

The dry pods are very useful as ornaments; I've seen them painted to resemble tropical birds. But those ends are VERY sharp (almost like thorns) presumably to prevent animals from shaking them off easily. Those pods are incredibly tough too, even my tractor tiller won't break them. The seeds survive our freezing winters, volunteer the next year, and bloom 30 days after germination... so this native of the US desert Southwest would likely succeed well into much of lower Canada.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
16,101
Reaction score
24,266
Points
417
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
... The seeds survive our freezing winters, volunteer the next year, and bloom 30 days after germination... so this native of the US desert Southwest would likely succeed well into much of lower Canada.

that is a crazy interesting pod and story.

if this is capable of travelling by beasties i'm surprised it hasn't already taken over the country. except it seems that they may not germinate in places with tree cover or just never were taken north because the creatures of the dessert south have no migration pathway which took them north like that... (nor east)...
 
Top