Saturday, July 21, 2007

volunteer tomatoes

See that tomato plant? The vigorous one with all the flowers? The one that is taller than the others?

That one just sprung up, like a couple other in my garden. I did not plant them. And somehow, they are outdoing the greenhouse plants I bought, or the ones I started from seed. From my very sketchy garden records from last year, this could very well be a Brandywine. The leaves look like it.

So, I'm thinking...why bother with tomato seedlings? Why not just plant seeds early in the spring, or even in the fall to overwinter?

My garden results this year should help shed some light on the subject.


Madcap said...

That's certainly lush. Is that a fabric-type gauze you've got over it, or plastic?

Anonymous said...

I am stunned! I also had a volunteer tomato this year--in cold-Winter Milwaukee! It's a Roma and is doing very well. Is it really possible to eliminate the seedling phase or was this simply a random act of germination? I will experiment this Fall and see what comes up in Spring. Thanks for the idea!

Floridacracker said...

Is winter over?

Pamela Martin said...

None this year, but I had a couple of volunteer tomatoes last year that did better than they're supposed to in my Zone 4-5 garden. The tomatoes weren't good--but neither was the location--too wet, too shady.

Letting them self-seed is not supposed to work--the growing season is supposed to be too short. I look forward to hearing how yours work out. Interesting times we live in.

barefoot gardener said...

You know, I have had the same thing happen other years. I have wondered if somehow the seeds mutated into something cold hardy enough to handle MN winters or if the seeds were kept fairly warm in the compost pile and then put back in the garden in the spring. Good luck with your experiment. I look forward to seeing the results!

Larry said...

I got my strawberries and pumpkins from tossing out rotten pumpkins and stawberries-works pretty good.

momadness said...

Deb that looks fabulous. I had surprise tomatoes crop up in a composting area a couple years back. Produced wonderful tomatoes. In the meantime we have been enjoying our first ripened home-growners the past few days and I have shared with my mom as well as her's haven't ripened yet. What bliss, eh?

Deb said...

Madcap- it's a floating row cover, which is supposed to be water permeable. I have them over all of my tomato beds this year, and it has probably helped them on the cold nights. (Tonight won't be one of those!)

Anonymous- (Denise is that you?) I don't know if it would be possible to completely rely on seeds, but I am amazed at how much better the volunteers seem to be doing than my transplants. I didn't have the best luck starting tomato seeds this year!

FC- Yesterday and today have me believing it's over, with highs in the low 90's and lows in the 60's.

Pamela- I have heard that transplants go into shock from being planted, so that sets them back a week or two. Maybe plants grow faster and do better when they germinate on their own?

Barefoot Gardener- This may indeed be a good plant to save seeds from.

Larry- we had a couple good squashes one year from a plant that grew out of a compost pile.

Momadness- Like Guy Clark says, "Only two things that money can't buy: true love and homegrown tomatoes!"

I had forgotten that a couple years back, we had some volunteer grape tomatoes in a spot where we buried the contents of the outhouse before we started composting them. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Deb, It's Denise (although I guess I'm no longer exactly anonymous). :-) Looking forward to those lupine seeds! I have a lovely spot waiting for them.