The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Volunteer Squash

September 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments · Posted in garden

Sometimes the best things are purely accidental

Sometimes the best things are purely accidental

I”m such a softy. I can’t even kill a plant.

Take this butternut squash. It was one of several plants that sprang to life in spots throughout the garden. Although I knew even then they were not a perfect match for my cucumbers, I vainly hoped they would grow into cucumbers so I saved them. Each time I found one of the little plants, I carefully dug it up and transplanted it to the cucumber trellis. I cared for these adopted plants as if I had planted the seeds myself.

Alas, they soon revealed themselves as squash, the kind of squash that likes to take over the garden. But I was prepared. As the vines grew, I trained them up the trellis. Then over the top of the trellis. Then back up the trellis. Then over again. Confined to this looping pattern, these volunteer squash have not consumed my garden. Yet so far there’s just this one squash. That’s a lot of foliage for one squash. But I don’t mind.

We’ve gotten used to volunteers. Tomato seeds are practically indestructible. They pop up everywhere. This year we have one growing out of a crack in sidewalk. I’ve kept it pruned and trained up a stake. It’s making wonderful cherry tomatoes. We have a rosemary plant growing out of a brick wall. It’s in its second year and seems to be thriving. We don’t ask how. This year our most successful sunflowers grew from seeds shed by last year’s flowers. They cast some inconvenient shade on my cucumbers, but they were so spectacular and so admired by passersby that I couldn’t cut them down.

As humans, we like to think we control our gardens. A little chaos is good. It reminds us that we are merely caretakers. Nature always wins out in the end.

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  • Amelia

    Ed, I saw you out of the corner of my eye at the happy hour, but by the time I was able to go say hi to you, you had left. Hope to meet you at the next one.

  • onebusymama

    Yummy, we are squash lovers here. I almost always let my volunteers grow 🙂 This year with a new garden, there were no volunteers though lol!