Volunteers in the garden

The extent of my planning for the garden this year has amounted to looking at the empty spaces and planting things in them. Companion planting? Rotation crops? Planning how much of a certain veggie we’ll actually want? Hah! This summer I’m letting the garden go a little wild and fend for itself.

In fact, the some of the healthiest looking plants this spring are those that reseeded themselves or overwintered and cropped back up in the early spring. We’ve gotten a bountiful harvest of lettuce from volunteer plants, and I just pulled the giant fall 2013 collard plants up last week after many a steaming pot of greens this March and April.

In the bed where I’m trying to establish strawberries, a very happy cucurbit is rapidly taking over. I’m not sure whether I’ll transplant it or let it stay where it is. All of the cucurbits (melons, summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers…) look the same to me, so if anyone has a guess as to what our mystery friend is, let me know!

Volunteer mystery squash

I had intended this to be a strawberry bed, but this mystery squash or melon plant had other plans.

I am less excited about the volunteer tomatoes growing right on top of a row of zucchini I planted. Their parent plant was most certainly infected with blight last year, which probably remains in the soil of this bed (and is the reason I didn’t replant tomatoes in the same location). It seems a waste not to transplant them elsewhere, at least, but I’ve already got 4 cherry tomato starts in the ground, which is 4 more than I meant to grow this year.

Volunteer tomatoes

Tomatoes from last year’s seeds on top of a row of plantings from this year. To keep or to pull out?

What’s volunteering in your garden this year?

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