Plants that gatecrash your garden

23:27, Jan 29 2013

I love it when tasty plants turn up uninvited to my garden party. There are four at the moment that I am just loving right now: thyme, potatoes, parsley and tomatoes. They're known as volunteer plants, but I prefer to think of them as welcome gatecrashers. 

I grew this thyme from seed about two years ago. When you run your hand through it, it smells like heaven. I automatically want to make chicken pie so I can get that hit of cream, thyme and mushrooms that I love. The other day I was weeding near it when I noticed hundreds of baby thyme seedlings that have popped up around it. When they are a bit more established, I'll carefully transplant them into pots and other parts of the garden. 

This strip of garden is dedicated mostly to ornamentals as it doesn't get much sun in winter. I was weeding it and giving it a good layer of mulch in the spring when I noticed a flat leaf parsley had sprung up, possibly from a plant I had when we first moved in that had been left a litte neglected on the patio. 

A couple of agria spud plants (I'm assuming they're agria, as it's the only variety we eat and grow) have made themselves at home in various parts of the vegetable plots. I can only imagine that they have grown from potato peelings, or from a leftover spud from last year's crop that's overwintered. I dug up one plant just before Christmas and even though the spuds themselves were tiny, we got a meal out them. 


The piece de resistance has to be this free range tomato plant growing among the Dwarf Corn. I have left it completely to go its own way, in a kind of experiment. I wonder if perhaps I fret too much over my tomatoes, and am actually killing them with kindness, a kind of tomato helicopter parent. So this one can be totally free to grow however it wants. I don't pinch its laterals to give it more energy for growing fruit, I don't cut away excess foliage to improve air flow thereby reducing the chance of fungal or bacterial disease, I don't tenderly water it whenever the sun comes out. So far it doesn't seem to mind being neglected. I assume the seed this plant sprang from was in not-quite-completely-broken down compost. I don't have any idea which tomato variety it is! 

Whatever the plant, if it's tasty, I wholeheartedly welcome it to gatecrash my garden. All welcome!

Do you have many gatecrashers of the tasty kind in your garden?

Follow me on Twitter or join Woman vs Wild on Facebook for links, updates and news.