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hendi_alex
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Don't you just love volunteers!

Most every year I have volunteer melons, most often in the compost pile or in a bed that got some compost. Also I'll occasionally allow a volunteer tomato to mature. And of course we have many, many self seeding annual flowers that give little surprises of color thoughout the yard and in varous planters.

volunteer melon to give late harvest:
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3456/3889225513_5efa3a1871.jpg[/img]
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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jal_ut
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I love volunteer lettuce and spinach because it gives me an early crop. I don't tolerate volunteer squash because it always has weird fruit. It is weeds as far as I am concerned.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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gixxerific
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Volunteers are great. My one Tomato from last year is doing better than all the others I planted. In fact I just pulled every one but but the volunteer.

I am going to have a ton next year with all the tom's on the ground.

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rainbowgardener
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love volunteers!

I do. I just harvested a full sized butternut squash from a vine that volunteered in a flower bed. All the squash I planted in the veggie garden got root borers and died! There's another volunteer in a different flower bed (I get volunteer squash and tomatoes everywhere I plant with compost, just don't always let them grow) that I thought was squash but I think it is growing watermelons! I've NEVER grown watermelons and we don't even eat them all that often, but there it is!

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gixxerific
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Re: love volunteers!

rainbowgardener wrote:I do. I just harvested a full sized butternut squash from a vine that volunteered in a flower bed. All the squash I planted in the veggie garden got root borers and died! There's another volunteer in a different flower bed (I get volunteer squash and tomatoes everywhere I plant with compost, just don't always let them grow) that I thought was squash but I think it is growing watermelons! I've NEVER grown watermelons and we don't even eat them all that often, but there it is!
Yeah, super extra bonus! :D

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Diane
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I also love volunteers. I let them all grow except for all of the tomatoes. I don't have space for a hundred plants. lol
I too have picked butternut squash from my V-plants and they look and taste great.
Flowers also pop up all over.
I see volunteers as a nice surprise.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

https://s600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87 ... G00047.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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volunteer delicata

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/volunteerdelicata.jpg[/img]

I thought just at first these were going to be watermelons, but they turned out to be delicata squash, which we got from our CSA last year, a very stripey squash.

I just love how it is just outlining the front step. It just keeps creeping farther and farther around. And of course all of that is on concrete, it's only on ground back at the beginning. I didn't plan any of this, it just popped up.

Here it is a little zoomed in on:

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/volunteerdelicata-1.jpg[/img]

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applestar
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Edible Landscaping! :D It really looks very decorative. The striped squash should look eye-catching too. :wink:

cgiglio01
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Volunteers

I love volunteers, it's always so neat to wait and see what comes up. Last year it was teeny tiny pumpkins, this year ornamental gourds!! My son brought one home from a school project and when it rotted in December, into the compost it went. In July I started seeing what I thought was another pumpkin vine, then...voila, pretty gourd. All different shapes and sizes and blends of the green and yellow. So cool!

[img]https://www.cathandmouse.com/garden/gourd.jpg[/img]

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applestar
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Now that they're fruiting, I can say I have volunteer melons in 4 different locations, all with softball-sized first fruits at this point, I also discovered a volunteer cucumber when I finally noticed a giant pickle cuke lying on the mulch just inside the fence (found it just in time to be still edible). There's a volunteer watermelon that I'm eager to see what kind of fruit will result, and one other curcurbit in the front Begonia/Salvia bed (there's already a melon there too). A volunteer decorative gourd has a couple of fruits already.

If the other decorative gourd seeds I planted on purpose will come through, I'll have plenty for fall/Haloween decorations this year -- those are not fruiting yet, of course :roll:. In addition, I intentionally planted 3 kinds of pumpkins and 2 kinds of winter squashes and 2 kinds of gourds, 3 kinds of summer squashes, 2 kinds of melons, 3 kinds of watermelons, and 3 kinds of cucumbers.... :shock:

:lol: I think next year, I'll take a break from cucurbits and only plant them in the one bed that isn't growing any... oh wait, there ARE a couple of Round Light of Tuscany zucchini plants in that bed.... :()

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gixxerific
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I pulled all but one (that I know of) cucurbits. It is growing something I'm not quite sure and it is along the fence so I'm gonna let it go.

I have had my share of volunteers this year, or should I say way more than. 3-4 hundred tomatoes have sprouted, no kidding. There are a few left growing and more pulled every week. :lol: Call me crazy but I think I have a volunteer from one of the plants I'm growing this year. It is in a new section of garden as of this spring. I have had my potted plants in there. All of the sudden there is a tomato growing where I had them siting before and have since been moved from. Nothing was here last year and none of last years compost has seen this area. So it must be a volunteer from my black cherry's. :D

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lilcee
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This may be a silly question but what are volunteers? Are they the plants that grow from composted garbage seeds? I've been throwing seeds in the trash because I didn't want them to grow in my garden but maybe I should go ahead and put them in the compost? I've never heard this term before.

tedln
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lilcee wrote:This may be a silly question but what are volunteers? Are they the plants that grow from composted garbage seeds? I've been throwing seeds in the trash because I didn't want them to grow in my garden but maybe I should go ahead and put them in the compost? I've never heard this term before.
Volunteers are plants which grow from stray seed that germinated without assistance from the gardener. The seed usually comes from fruit such as squash or melons or cucumbers or tomatoes which found their way into the compost pile. Some times they are the result of fruit that wasn't harvested and simply rotted on the ground. I also had some volunteer lettuce this year that grew nicer than the lettuce I planted in prepared soil. It simply grew from seed I dropped while preparing to plant my lettuce bed. Some seed is assisted by passing through the digestive tracts of birds which deposit the seed in your yard. The bird may have eaten part of a tomato miles away from your house. Tomato seeds are not digestible by birds or humans.

I enjoy volunteer plants because they are often the result of cross breeding or cross pollination between plants which are already hybridized. That means you have no idea how big it will get, how it will look or taste. The sad part is the fact that if you really like the results of the crossing, jut enjoy it; because you probably can't grow it again even accidentally.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

raybird
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Location: Ohio

Years before we started a real garden here, we had a volunteer pumpkin grow up from the side of the porch where a rotten Halloween decoration sat under the snow all winter. It grew one pumpkin that never turned orange before the vine died. We cooked it just to see what would happen, and it made a pretty good little pumpkin pie.

Last year the only ripe tomatoes we got to eat came from the volunteer plant in our compost bin. The rest of my plants got blight so we had lots of green tomato relish, fried green tomatoes and green tomato cake. The fruits from our volunteer were really sweet, sort of in between the size of roma tomatoes and grape tomatoes.

This year, we've rented a 20x20' garden plot from the city's community garden project and I am super excited about all the volunteer tomato plants we have from the previous tenants. They are all taller and stronger than the ones I started indoors, and they are already showing tiny green fruits, I'm thinking cherry tomatoes :)

lilturtle
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I am pretty new to veggie gardening and last year at the end of the season when I was ready to put up the tomato plants I threw them in a bed that I was making a raised bed garden out of..all the tomato plants and squash plants and anything else that would make for good composting went into the bottom of what was to be the new garden bed...then dirt was piled on top of that and it sat all winter. This spring it was tilled and planted.

Well low and behold i had volunteer tomatoes coming out my ears..LOL I have a whole row of them in the garden bed still that i did not pull out. I must have pulled over 20 plants though because they were taking over the garden were I planted other things!

They are very nice robust plants and are just loaded with green tomatoes right now..I am excited to see what they turn out to be..I had several varieties last year.

I never knew till this happened that things would volunteer like that. :roll: I even planted 8 other tomato plant before I knew these were coming up everywere!
Beware when playing with dragons for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup!

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