Quick Tip – Removing and Using Volunteers


Over the years of blog posting, I’ve written many times of “volunteer” seedlings, small plants that spring up in early summer, self-sown by the previous year’s garden vegetables or flowers.

“Produce from volunteer plants is often bigger and tastier than are intentionally cultivated crops. After all, the plants have sprouted where they want to grow, as opposed to where you want them to. Like wildflowers, unbidden edibles usually appear wherever they’ll have the best chance to survive and reproduce . . . that is, where the soil has the necessary nutrients, the proper pH balance, and just the right amount of drainage to satisfy the needs of the plant in question.”
~ Mother Earth News


The warm temperatures of June have been a blessing, and volunteer seedlings are sprouting. Many are a perfect solution for the empty spaces in my flower beds. Unfortunately, the best sprouts seem to grow between the bricks and walkways, nurtured by the heat generated in the cement. I have found a way to get these small plantlets out and grow them on into full-sized plants. Pulling them, even very gently, never works; the roots will break away. Instead I slip a putty knife (or any type of slim metal) into the soil alongside the plant, keeping the blade pressed firmly against the cement. I do this on each side then carefully pull the plant out of its nesting spot. In most cases this technique works and the sprout can be removed with root and dirt intact.


I immediately place the sprouts in garden beds or holding pots and drench them with water. Over the course of a week or more I will water these new plants every day. Look carefully amongst the weeds in your garden beds before you begin pulling them out. You might have a treasure lurking there that will grow into a beautiful plant before summer’s end..

6 thoughts on “Quick Tip – Removing and Using Volunteers

    1. I think that is a flower called Amaranthus. It was taken from my front beds that contain flowers every year. I moved them and placed them in another flower garden. I have so much fun saving these little beauties.

      Liked by 1 person

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