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This Volunteer Plant Popped Up In My Garden - Do You Know What it is?


Date Posted: June 23, 2017

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener This Volunteer Plant Popped Up In My Garden - Do You Know What it is?
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

Every year volunteer plants pop up in my garden. Sometimes I simply pull the volunteer plants like a weed and discard, and other times I let them grow since they are not intruding on my more “valuable” vegetables and herbs that I am growing.

This year, one volunteer in particular popped up, so I let it grow. I let it grow because it is located on the outside of my garden fence, and I just figured the rabbits would eat it. Apparently the rabbits don’t want the freebies they only want the good stuff behind the fence.

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What is a Volunteer Plant

So what exactly is a volunteer plant. Honestly I can tell you I don’t know who coined the phrase or used it first, but I can tell you what it means. A volunteer plant is nothing more than a plant that pops up that you didn’t plant, mostly referring to, fruit, veggies and herbs as opposed to merely weeds.

For example, tomato plants popping up the following season in an area where you planted tomatoes the year before. That sort of thing. A volunteer plant can pop up in area for a variety of reasons. One way I already mentioned, another being a bird dropped the seed there, or from compost you mixed in.

Should I Let a Volunteer Plant Grow

I have a rule of thumb when it comes to letting volunteer plants grow. That is, if it does not intrude upon other plants in my garden, then I let it grow. As is the cast with the volunteer plant that I talk about in the video. It’s growing outside the garden fence, therefore I let it go.

Do You Know What This Volunteer Plant Is? Take Your Best Guess


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What Kind of Volunteer Plant is it

This is a bit tougher if you are not familiar with basic appearances of the most popular varieties of plants. For my volunteer plant I can tell it is in the squash family just by looking at the leaves.

As it gets bigger, and starts its pattern of growth, I can tell even more about what it could be. This is the part of what makes a volunteer plant fun. You may think you are growing a tomato plant, only to find out it’s a marigold. You think you have zucchini, then it turns out to be a pumpkin. Volunteers are a lot of fun.

Volunteer plants in your home garden can be fun and frustrating. If your volunteer plant is growing in an area that does not encroach on other plants in your garden, I say let it grow and enjoy the mystery.

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Happy gardening!


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Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.




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