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Calling all volunteers!

Volunteer lettuce
Originally uploaded by Lorika13.

This here is some lovely volunteer lettuce. I think volunteer lettuce is the prettiest don't you?

It's pretty dang easy to get volunteer lettuce and eat some of your own homegrown salads before anyone else. All you gotta do is let at least one variety go to seed. You can even still harvest some of the leaves, probably as much as you would get if you chopped off the whole head. Once the little fluffy dandy-lion like seeds have formed, you just either let them go on their own in the wind wherever they may land (your lawn or cracks in the patio) or you can pluck them out yourself, and scatter them in the fall where you'd like them to grow in the spring.

A true lazy gardeners delight!

What have you been able to get to "volunteer"?

*pictured is Red Oakleaf and perhaps a variety of butter lettuce from a variety pack I planted last year.

June 3, 2008 in Handy Tips | Permalink


My cherry tomatoes (Cerise variety) volunteer each year - haven't had to buy seed for those for a long, long time. I have a new one this year - from where it popped up, it's either a Red Zebra or Amish paste tomato - will find out when it fruits. And the cilantro usually has a few volunteers, too.

Thank heavens for these - the hail storm took out a lot of my transplanted seedlings.

Posted by: Laurie at Jun 5, 2008 9:10:06 AM

Oh! So sorry to hear about the hail Laurie!

I had a bunch of hail damage a couple years ago - twice! And ever since I'm a bit skittish about severe storms. I do love a thunderstorm - but please, no hail and no tornadoes!

I also have a bit of volunteer Cilantro and tomatoes too. I keep the Cilantro and usually pluck out the tomatoes. I know, I know, they are really cute when small - but they get waaay to big to keep when I have all the others I grew on purpose to try and fit in.

Posted by: Lorika at Jun 5, 2008 3:17:10 PM

Each year provides a new volunteer. This year my husband's violets came up in the grass (where not planted) and not in the cushy, well-tended bed I planted them in!! Go figure.
Each year, fortunately, I get several volunteer sunflowers. Sadly I don't know what they are until they bloom!!
The four o'clocks are coming up in the gravel beside the patio, but I will move them to the big flower bed this weekend.

An another note, I have been looking for a gardening blog for about a week now, and this looks like just the one for me. I am a bit further south than you, in PA, but I like what you are doing.
I hope you will allow me to chat with you all for awhile.

Posted by: avat at Jun 5, 2008 9:55:18 PM

Last year I let volunteer tomatoes grow in my compost bin. This year, I've turned it over too much for that to happen, but I found one volunteer tomato in my garden bed.

Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus, have been reseeding themselves since I first planted them 8 or 9 years ago. These are a pleasant reseeder, unlike my false sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides, which is very prolific and harder to pull out.

Posted by: Peter Hoh at Jun 6, 2008 11:34:36 PM

I have so many volunteers, some that I try for, like cilantro, parsley and dill. And some that I didn't like, lettuce (I was lazy one year about pulling the bolting lettuce; it really wasn't intensional), basil, snapdragons and tomatillos. I certainly get enough cucurbits and tomatoes trying to volunteer, but in my northern garden, they are too late to really do anything so I pull them.

Posted by: Daphne Gould at Jun 8, 2008 2:14:04 PM

Welcome new readers and commenters! Great to have you!

Wow - so many volunteers. Sometimes I wish everything would volunteer in the garden - but then I guess it would be hard to plant anything new, so never mind. I do really love my early spring salad volunteers though - they are the best.

I have definitely given up on volunteer tomatoes though. I already have too many, and you never really know what they are going to be. Well, maybe just a couple...

Posted by: Lorika at Jun 11, 2008 10:18:51 PM