Why I HATE volunteer plants in my garden!

Volunteer plants in the garden are just glorified weeds.  Read this post to see why I HATE volunteer plants in my garden.

Why I HATE volunteer plants

Why I hate Volunteer Plants in My Garden

Pay close attention as you read this post.  There will be a test at the end!

I know I’m going to make some people mad with this post!  I see post all the time on social media where folks are all happy and proud of the volunteer veggie plants growing in their garden. But I HATE volunteer plants in my garden!  Here’s why:

Volunteer plants are Just Weeds

My favorite definition of a weed is “Weeds are just plants of out place”.  That may very well be true and if it is true then Volunteer Veggie plants are JUST WEEDS!

volunteer plants 1

Volunteer plants are not “free plants” they are not “bonus plants”, they are weeds.  If I didn’t intend to have that plant growing in that spot then it doesn’t belong there and by definition its a WEED!  and it needs to be pulled!

I am the husbandman of my little garden and as much as possible I want to be in charge.  Of course I want to work with nature and grow organically.  There are many things about nature I can’t control (Pests, Weather, etc).  But where I put my plants is under my control and if I didn’t put it there then it is a weed!

Volunteer Plants Promote poor crop rotation

Quite often (nut not always) volunteer plants come up in the same spot (or close to it) as the parent plant was growing the year before.  By letting a volunteer plant grow in the same spot as it’s parent did you deplete the soil of nutrients and encourage disease build up and pest problems.

Any spot in your garden shouldn’t see the same family of plants for at least 4 years.  Letting volunteers grow breaks that rule.

Unfair Competition

Let’s say for example I plant carrots in a spot where latter a volunteer tomato plant comes up.  If I let the tomato grow it will shade the growing carrots and it’s roots will rob space, water and nutrients from the carrots.

Hmmmm . . . . does that sound familiar?  Yep, that sounds just like what a WEED does!!

volunteer plants 2
You never know what your going to get

Even if you only grow heirloom or open pollinated plants, cross pollination will happen!  Cucumbers cross with zucchini, butternut squash crosses with pumpkins, two different types of tomatoes will cross with each other, etc.  That volunteer squash plant could easily be a pumpkinini, or a buttercumber or some other type of FREAK!

And don’t even get me started on hybrid plants!  You have know idea what you are going to get with volunteer plants from hybrids!

Why waste time, space and water on something that may not even produce a viable (or tasty) fruit?  Again, it’s a WEED, pull it!

Quiz about volunteer plants

Okay here’s the test I promised:

#1 – Volunteer plants are _____________????

Answer:  WEEDS!

#2 – What should you do with volunteer plants in my garden?

Answer:  Pull them, Burn them, feed them to your chickens, just don’t waste space on them in your garden!

Alright!  Let me have it!  Give me your reasons why you agree or disagree with my view of volunteer plants.  Leave your comments below!

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  1. K August 16, 2017 11:54 am Reply

    I have one other option. In some cases you can move them. I had three volunteer kale pop up so I moved them to where I wanted my brassicas to be and they thrived there.

    Of course this was the right kind of volunteer plant. I agree with you on tomatoes or squash though. Those I pull and compost.

  2. m brown August 16, 2017 12:24 pm Reply

    Every year after Halloween we throw a pumpkin into our garden area. (this year the squirrels helped move it around)

    We aren’t bothered by the volunteer who arrives later because it won’t start to get big until the wind down of our harvest.

    It is fun to have neighbors choose pumpkins when they turn orange (or white).

    The Browns

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