Every year that I garden is an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. This year, my third year of gardening, really feels like I’ve come to a place where I know enough about what I’m doing to get satisfying results. I’m not perfect by any means, and one of the mistakes I’ve made so far is that I am a sucker for baby plants.
I find that when I’m planting out my baby seedlings, I start to worry that they wont make it. As I am digging holes to plant them in the planter boxes, I often come across baby plants already growing and I want to save them just in case. These plants are called volunteers, and sprout from seeds left in the ground from last-year’s unpicked veggies. If you only plant heirloom varieties in your garden, its perfectly fine to let these plants grow. But if you’ve planted hybrids in seasons past, the outcome will be a mystery. I’ve discussed why this is so here.
I forgot this rule of thumb when I was planting my squashes this year. I went out to plant the seeds in the ground and it turned out there were two volunteers already thriving. They looked so happy and healthy that I decided to let them grow. I forgot that the previous year I had planted hybrid varieties. Guess what happened?
When the yellow one was growing it started out green, like a pumpkin, and then turned yellow. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but then I remembered that rule about growing hybrid volunteers. If I am correct, this is one of the two types of parent plants that make the Golden Egg Hybrid that I planted the year before. I have also grown pumpkins, spaghetti squash and delacata squash in this area, so who knows? I’m not sure what it will taste like. There are more growing out in the yard, so if this one tastes bad, I will pull the whole plant out.
I was excited to see the other volunteer plant growing what looked like zucchinis. The weird part is that they turn out very pale, not dark green like other zucchinis. They taste fine though. I made muffins from them and they were delicious.
To summarize; don’t be a sucker for those cute baby plants that will pop up in your garden! Unless you are strictly an heirloom seed planter, it’s a gamble on what you’re going to get.
Happy gardening 🙂