Volunteer edibles

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Who has edible volunteers that are being allowed to prosper?

A walk through my garden this morning revealed:

Tomatoes - some are beginning to ripen.
Sweet peppers - some have set fruit
Sunflowers - the birds have sown two. One is in bloom
Strawberry - one plant in the walkway - no fruit, yet
Herbs - all over the place! Basil, Greek oregano, and sage.
Persimmon - the tree has sent up a sucker, which I'll have to remove because the mother tree is grafted.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

HoneybeeNC, I found some peanuts strayed in a flower pot. I fed raw peanuts to my birds, Nuthatch specifically. But squirrels must have stashed them (raw peanuts) away, and they sprouted. In years past, I mistaken they were some type of wild senna (a hostplant for sulphurs butterflies). Anyhoo, I allowed them to grow. I've never harvested peanuts before, I'm going to learn how to do so this year-- I think. ^_^

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Oh, as far as Persimmon. I grew one named "Khaki" a grafted one. It made flowers, then small fruits but they always have aborted before they were fully ripe for many years? So when new suckers came up. I allowed those to prosper, hopefully I'll find some that revert back to their parentage so that that will make some "real" fruits in the future. That's my wishful thinking. lol Not sure how it will turn out. I'll keep you posted.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Lily - some persimmon trees require another tree for cross pollination. Mine is self-pollinating.

Since your tree is grafted, any suckers that grow into mature trees will not be the same as the mother tree. Perhaps you could find out what the root stock is.

I've not tried growing peanuts, either.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Lily, if you mean "kaki" persimmon that's Diospyros kaki. If so, plants are either male or female and you have to have at least one of each to have fruit. Only the female trees will produce fruit. A few varieties like "Fuyu" are self-fertile, but it sounds like you have a variety that isn't.

It's probably grafted onto Diospyros virginiana, our native American persimmon. They get much taller but have small fruit. Very tasty, once they get fully ripe and squishy, but as far as I know they don't cross pollinate with Asians. They are not self-fertile but I'd bet good money you have them growing wild all around you.

Persimmons are well worth the space growing them - yum! I'd replace your tree with a "Fuyu" persimmon this fall and you'll probably have fruit the following year. Or just add a tree and maybe your existing tree will fruit, too.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Ummm, Nicole, now that you've jogged my memory a bit. The word "Fuyu" kind a rings a bell. Could that be Fuyu scion and the stock was kaki? I'm now all confused. lol

I've a trusted nursery nearby I'll visit and ask them to recommend one for the garden. The sunny spot in the garden is scarce these days... I may have to forego this non-productive plant and replace it with a new plant in the same spot. Thanks.

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

I decided not to plant squash this year b/c of SVB. I have a couple of volunteers among my tomatoes with one yellow crookneck about ready to eat. I'm curious to have a taste. And I haven't seen any evidence of the vine borers yet. (Note to self, go check again for SVB)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

SVB, sounds like a new problem for I don't know about it well. Hiya back40bean.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Most if not all of the Asian persimmons sold for this part of the country are on American persimmon rootstock. It'd still be sold as D. kaki, though, because the top part is. The variety could very well be "Fuyu" since that is probably the most popular variety, but it should be at least trying to produce for you by now. How many years have you had it, and how big was it when you planted it? And is it getting full sun?

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Nicole, the Persimmons is in a partial sun location--as sunny site in the garden has become overtaken by large trees over the years. The tree do produce fruits, only to abort before they become large enough to ripen. The only place I see I can have a fruit tree is by my mailbox where there is a Rose of Sharon shrub that I could consider trade off with a Persimmon tree. Though the flowering shrub (rose of Sharon) is adorned the area with lots of flowers right now, choices, choices.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

How big are they when they drop? If they are dropping due to lack of pollination, they'd be pretty small, like 1/2" in diameter. If they are dropping when they are bigger, and the tree is reasonably mature (5+ years), it might be water stress, especially in our dog hot days at the end of summer. Too much water will cause them to drop fruit, too. (Or too much nitrogen fertilizer.)

If they are dropping now, check to see if there are seeds inside. Fuyu is seedless.

I like Rose of Sharon, but it's no contest which wins in my book! You could also just forage for persimmons that grow wild. You have to beat the critters to them, but we've got lots of them in Alabama.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I'm with you on the ROS, but to pull it up? Awww, it's a case of difficult to say goodbye. lol. Oh, by the way. Where do we go to forage for wild persimmons? Inquiring mind likes to know. Please, please pretty please.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

Wild persimmons are generally found along forest edges, in hedgerows and in abandoned fields since they are a pioneer tree, but truthfully they grow all over the southeast. They are supposed to like dry to mesic sites, but I see them often on the edges of lakes and ponds. They are anywhere from short (10') to tall and spindly (60').

Look for pinkish-orange fruit in September-ish that looks like a large berry (which, technically, it is) with a cap on it. Just like miniature versions of their big Asian cousins, but more pinkish. Once you see one, you will know it; nothing else looks like them. Sometimes it's easier to find the female trees when some of the unripe green fruit drops in the summer (like now) so you can mark the area to check back later.

They are best when they are getting well wrinkled and squishy but will ripen off the tree and can be picked as soon as they change color. Do not attempt to eat any not completely ripe -- ugh! (Unripe one can be treated to remove astringency they say, but I've never tried.) Wild ones have lots of seeds, but, IMO, taste better than Japanese ones. If you get some really seedy once, squish them into pulp and strain it.

Some trees drop their fruit when ripe and others hang on and don't fall at all. I see fruit hanging on trees until December here. Always too high for me to reach, of course, but the critters eventually get them all.


Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Whoa! Great link! Many thanks Nicole. I can see I'll have to spend more time reading about Persimmons.

Monte Vista, CO(Zone 4a)

Edible volunteers: Lamb's quarter and spinach, plus some brassicas (not sure what they are, yet, but they're growing happily in the beet and sweet potato bed, so I left them there)

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

While we are on the subject of persimmons. Here's a link to what I have. My tree looks like the one in the photo:


I chose this tree because it's self fertile, and doesn't get too tall. (There's no way I'm going to climb a ladder to pick fruit in my sloped garden!)

I have purchased other edibles from this Company and have been delighted with them.

I picked my first volunteer tomatoes this morning. They are not quite ripe, but I wanted to get them before the slugs did. LOL

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I get a lot of what might be called 'volunteers' but are actually edible weeds like purslane, dandelion, chickweed, and the likes.

I always get volunteers in my cold compost bin, usually tomatoes but this year it's more potatoes than tomatoes.

Solace, I cannot grow root veggies because something tunnels underground and feasts on them. This year I do have a few in small raised beds (crates) that have bottom boards and hopefully that will help.

Honeybee, I have bought several things from Edible Landscaping when I was seeing doctors in Charlottesville and could stop by his place. He has a plum tree with the best tasting plum I've ever eaten, Aycock. It will be years before the small one I bought will be mature enough to bear fruit, just hope I live that long!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius -

It will be years before the small one I bought will be mature enough to bear fruit, just hope I live that long!

I have ambitious plans for my garden, but like you, I wonder if I will be around to appreciate the end result.

The garden I put in at our last home in south Florida had lots of tropical fruit trees, flowers and shrubs. The new owners ripped them out and replaced them with the lawn it took me many, many years to get rid of!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I grew up in Miami (off and on because I was a military child but of divorced parents) so the transition from where everything grew to different growing zones was a real eye-opener.

At almost 73, I don't expect to see it all to fruition, and probably the next owners will trash it all in favor of lawn.

I sure miss the mangoes, avocados, persian limes and other citrus that grew in our yard1

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius - we had a grapefruit tree which produced so much that we let neighbors pick their own.

I really miss our mango tree. It was a "Brewster" and produced large, juicy fruit.

Our neighbor had an avocado tree. It's branches hung over into our garden, so we were able to pick them. The locals called them Alligator pears!

You will recognize these: Carambola (star fruit), Longan, banana. There might be a couple of others that don't come to mind, but all these grew on our lot, along with the usual garden vegetables.

I also had roses, and bougainvillea. Orchids and staghorn ferns hung from a Royal Poinciana. A southern magnolia, live oaks, hibiscus, and the ubiquities Queen palms graced the front garden.

Wish I had photos, but digital cameras were not common back then.

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

A banana tree that came with the house was looking sickly. I've been tossing my random compost and plant scraps underneath it. Lo and behold, it has bananas today. They're too high up to reach them, even with a ladder, but they made me smile.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Nola_Nigella, that's so cool about the bananas!

HoneybeeNC, the mango and avocado trees in my grandfather's yard were from seeds he helped me plant during WWII when I was just a small child. I was quite surprised to find them as mature fruit bearing trees when I moved back in with him about age 15.

I never knew avocados by any name other than alligator pears until I was an adult! I love Carambola, and a friend grew Lychees. I've never had a fresh longan but they seem like lychees when canned.

We had a couple of small citrus bushes (like kumquats and key limes) and a couple others that I don't remember the names anymore. The Redland Fruit and Spice Park was always an amazing place to visit, as was Fairchild Botanical Garden.

We have lost so much food diversity just in my lifetime. I think it's important for ALL of us to maintain what little biodiversity we still have.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius - I visited the Fairchild Botanical Garden not long after Hurricane Andrew did so much damage there. I prefer the botanical garden that's in Ft. Lauderdale, called Flamingo Gardens.

Lychees and Longans are very similar. I don't remember how I ended up with the latter, but probably purchased it as a baby from the Rare Fruit Council in West Palm Beach.

I've just remembered that we also had a lemon tree. It had big, ugly fruit and very long spines.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Could the big ugly lemons be the sour lemons the Cubans use to marinate pork?

I'd LOVE to find some!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius - wish I could remember the name of the big ugly
lemons. I think it began with a "C"

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

darius = I think the lemon might have been a Ponderosa.


Incidentally, I met Julia Morton when I lived in south Florida.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I don't know who Julia Morton is... as much as I'd like to know EVERYTHING, I fall way short!

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