Can I Eat It?: Gardening Edition
August 17, 2015 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Last year I planted some tomatoes in pots. This year I didn't plant anything, but recently noticed there is a tomato plant growing from the soil that the pots were sitting on top of last year. Is it safe to eat these volunteer tomatoes?
posted by treachery, faith, and the great river to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
posted by Bruce H. at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yes. They will probably be similar to the tomatoes you planted last year. Depending on pollination, they might be somewhat different.
posted by Adridne at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2015

Volunteer tomoatoes were our entire crop this year.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Very much yes! Where I grew up, our preferred way to grow new tomatoes was to dig a small hole, smoosh a tomato into it, cover with soil, and wait for new growth next season.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

They're still just tomatoes.
posted by monospace at 1:46 PM on August 17, 2015 [9 favorites]

Free tomatoes! Eat 'em.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:56 PM on August 17, 2015 [6 favorites]

Volunteer tomatoes are perfectly tasty tomatoes. The only issue is that you are supposed to rotate the location of tomato plants every year because I think it's bad for the soil and encourages tomato diseases to keep planting them in the same place. And if your tomatoes always self seed, you aren't rotating them. But it sounds like your new one is in the soil BELOW the pot, rather than the same soil, right? So that's fine.
posted by lollusc at 2:37 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing yes. Monsanto be damned, volunteer tomatoes are one of the sweet, lazy luxuries of gardening.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not if you're like me and you enjoy dumping all your used lead in the garden. Otherwise they will be just fine.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:09 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

How could there be such a thing as an unsafe tomato...?

(Is this a good year for volunteer tomatoes or something? I was inundated with them as well.)
posted by kmennie at 4:18 PM on August 17, 2015

Our sungolds and Wisconsin 55s made babies last year and we have a volunteer red cherry tomato in a random garden bed. Pretty tasty, actually!
posted by rockindata at 6:16 PM on August 17, 2015

Jealous! Yes, if you get volunteer tomatoes, they're for eating! I get hobo raspberries and strawberries from my plantings ALL THE TIME, and I even got mystery volunteer zucchini one year before I ever planted any.
posted by maudlin at 7:19 PM on August 17, 2015

I'm on the 4th generation of an especially robust yellow pear tomato, yes, eat them!

(I once had a cat who really liked to eat pumpkin, which we discovered when he was caught digging up pumpkin guts out of the compost heap. Come spring, volunteer pumpkin plants popped up all over the yard, invariably in flower beds this same cat known to use as a litterbox. These volunteers grew into very robust vines, unsurprising as their seeds were buried with a nice coating of fertilizer, and we had so many pumpkins that fall. I uh, ate some of these pumpkins. If one can survive cat poop pumpkins, surely a tomato from fallen fruit is fine.)
posted by jamaro at 10:49 PM on August 17, 2015 [24 favorites]

Thanks everyone! I'm excited to have a surprise bounty of one of my favorite foods :)
posted by treachery, faith, and the great river at 8:21 AM on August 18, 2015

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