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Can We Get Some Volunteers?

Do you have any volunteers in your garden? And no, I don't mean extra weeding hands. I mean volunteer plants.

Personally I love volunteers. I mean, what's better than a plant you neither have to sow yourself or slave over. It just comes up. All on it's own. All you have to do is let it be.
The first borage blossoms of the year.

  I have a few favorite volunteers that come up in my garden. The first summer we lived here I planted borage simply because it was one of the few beneficial plants on many companion planting lists that I was able to find locally (I have found seeds sporadically at Walmart). I haven't planted any since, because it is a self seeding annual. One or two plants can one year can create tens of plants the next year, which I know sounds like potential for disaster, but it could only get to the invasive stage if you completely ignored your entire garden... and if you got to that point I think you are going to have bigger problems than a borage invasion. I love the ephemeral looking purple flowers and fuzzy grey green leaves, both of which are edible. It is fantastic at attracting pollinators- so much so that I have to warn my kids to avoid the larger clumps completely for fear they'll accidentally anger one of the many species of bees the flowers attract. And it's easy to control where it grows- the fuzzy leaves are easy to spot at an early age so you can choose which to leave and which to pull, and once you pull them up they don't come back. And they take a long time to go to seed, so it's not like with some weeds were you have to be really careful to catch them on time.
Dill coming up right in the middle of a patch of recently planted milo maize.  I think I'll leave it be.
 Another popular self seeding plant, and another favorite of mine, is dill. Because of my fall composting and deep digging I actually don't get as much volunteer dill as I would like, so unless it's smack dab in the middle of a pathway I try to leave the ones that do pop up alone. Even then I always end up having to plant more. Were I smart I would have a spot just for the dill and leave that spot alone, but that would be far too easy...

Cilantro will also self seed, which I learned when I had several volunteer plants pop up the very first year I gardened. However, I stopped encouraging those and have only this year planted the herb again.

What are your favorite volunteers?

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