Nature Finds a Way


I have a portable greenhouse setup on one of my raised beds that I use to harden seedlings in the spring. Once the growing season is fully underway I take it down and store it through the summer. 

Yesterday, I was doing some maintenance to prepare for early spring and noticed that plants were growing inside the greenhouse. I opened the cover and much to my surprise was greeted by a carpet of tomato plants 18″ in height. They had been growing all winter from seeds composted in the soil. 

Tomato seeds are indestructible, the one crop guaranteed to survive a nuclear holocaust. Literally nothing except burning them will destroy tomato seeds. All other seeds will be rendered inert in the heat of a compost pile, tomato seeds will survive and that is why I don’t compost tomatoes.

One year I deposited the tomato cores and skins rendered from my food mill into the compost and spent the next year pulling the ravaging army of seedlings that would spring up. I then fed the tomato waste to my chickens, who devour pretty much anything but love waste food with seeds, and found that the tomato seeds survived ingestion and processing, depositing through the chicken manure that eventually made its way to the garden beds. Nothing kills tomato seeds. 

This is one of the things about gardening that I truly love, the accidental discoveries that nature makes possible. Left untended, a crop of tomato seedlings consumed my portable greenhouse creating a lush and humid environment within the protective cover. 

I will salvage some of these plants and get an early start on the growing season, but most of them will get pulled and fed to the chickens. I was also left with a thought that I could start seedlings early in the winter and with enough biomass could keep the greenhouse warm through the colder months. Something to try next year.