Re: How are tomatoe volunteers?

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

I've always had excellent luck with the volunteers. They are definitely hardy. However, I grow almost exclusively heirloom tomatoes, so they are all super.
I used to very carefully plant everything, concerned I might destroy the plants. Two years ago, I had so many volunteers that I gave away literally dozens and dozens of "mystery tomatoes" to folks I knew. When I could not longer find homes for them, I finally had to pull them up (I had at least 4 dozen plants growing already). I just didn't have the heart to throw them on the compost pile so put them in a bucket, added water and later planted them in the 135-ft long strip between my fence and sidewalk, outside the yard. I then gave a plant to each of the neighbor children (some two). The children chose their own plant(s) and cared for them. I did add water since the little ones would bring only a cup or two which, of course, was not enough. I also prepared tags for each tomato and identified who the owner was or if they were "public" tomatoes for anyone to pick. Even though the plants were not handled with care, remember they were pulled like a weed and dumped in a bucket, every one grew and flourished. The children had all types of tomatoes and were amazed at what they had . . . remember these were heirlooms so there was a good variety. It was a cool thing! I suspect that, all in all, there were hundreds that I gave away or planted out there. Many who received them saved seeds and grew more of what they got, and all were thrilled. Everyone got something they had not seen before! I took volunteers from several parts of the garden so everyone got at least three varieties.
They are great! If you like surprises, it's the only way to go. I've never eaten a bad tomato. :-)
Transplant now or later . . . just plant them deeper when you replant so they can establish a good solid root system for a healthier plant. They will start out smaller, of course, than the ones you buy, but by the end of July, you won't be able to tell which is which.
It was sad last spring when I had no volunteers, no mystery tomatoes. I had let the chickens run free and they not only cleaned out all the slugs but all the seeds in the garden as well, so no volunteers. I should have left the cages up until the chickens were penned for the garden season. Oh, well. The good thing is that garden was well cultivated. <g>
Enjoy your volunteers . . . surprises are great!
Glenna
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James wrote:

I'll echo Glenna - volunteers are good. Hardy tomatoes that like your climate.
For years, I had a line of cherries that out-produced every tomato I'd start from seed. (I live near the Pacific coast, and it's foggy and cool.) Alas, one year I didn't plant a garden, and I lost that line.
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Agreed... :-) Volunteer tomatoes seem to be the hardiest. I always leave them be!
K.
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On Sat, 29 May 2004 23:55:34 -0700, Glenna Rose wrote:

I am just trying some Brandywine so-called heirlooms. Got them from a major seed company, so I'm not sure if they really qualify as heirlooms. But it's weird to see the potato-leafed plants coming up--not what I've assciated with tomatoes in the past. Can you tell me what heirloom varieties you like the best, and if your growing techniques are any different than with the usual hybrids?

Alas, that's what got me back into gardening. It was seemingly impossible to find a good-tasting tomatoe in a store anymore.
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No kidding....... ;-D
K.
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If they're Brandywines, they're heirlooms no matter where you bought your seed.

What heirlooms do best for you will depend to a certain extent on where you live and what your zone is. I'm in the South, so I mostly select heirlooms that were developed to withstand our hot, muggy summers. Lately the onslaught of <spit!> thrips and their weapon of mass destruction, Tomato Spotted Wilt virus has forced me to drop some varieties that I've grown for years and search for some that have better disease resistance.
Interestingly Brandywines have so far shown the most resistance to the <spit!> thrips. I'm trying some Arkansas Travelers, a variety of Mortgage Lifters, Black from Tulsa, and Andrew Rahart. Oh, and Stupice, which I planted as my early tomatoes. I started getting ripe tomatoes about two weeks ago, so I'll certainly plant the Stupice again next year.

I bought the most beautiful, perfect tomato from the organic grocery store about a month ago. Lovely, smooth pink skin, and it was at that perfect stage of ripeness.
Paper has more taste than that tomato had. It was awful!
Penelope
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

Whoops! I wasn't specific enough . . . that should have been "I've never eaten a bad homegrown tomato. Even more so, I meant from my garden, referring to the heirlooms, etc. :-)
Glenna

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g'day james,
i like volunteers of any sorts in my gardens as stated already they are generally the hardiest and produce very well. the only catch might be if you ahve been planting F1 hybrids there may be some doubt as the quality of fruit. stick with the open pollenated heirlooms and you won't miss.
i have grape, cherry and pear tomatoes that i never plant all volunteers and we get inundated with fruit.
len
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On 29 May 2004 12:57:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (James) wrote:

True, it is hard to kill little tomato plants, but I get so many of them--especially after tilling--that I mercilessly shovel them in.
I've gotten abundant yields from Zucchini and Pumpkin volunteers. DaveH
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