Volunteer Tomatoes in the Asparagus Bed

by - April 19, 2012

The asparagus in our garden hasn't been able to catch a break. Just before what would have been its third year in our yard, and the glorious spring in which we'd finally be able to harvest it, I dug it all up and moved it to a new bed. Its original location was terribly overgrown with weeds, and my husband insisted on mowing it over whenever I wasn't looking. So, in it's third year, I moved it just outside the garden fence into a more controlled area, and heaped on what was left of our compost pile. This past month as I watched tiny asparagus spears push through the mulch, I could tell they had suffered from the move as they were thinner than usual and not as abundant. I decided to delay yet again on harvesting them to give the roots a growing season to better establish themselves.

Now, I see that there are no less than thirteen volunteer tomatoes growing in that bed. This brings me to a dilemma. Do I let those tomatoes grow, or do I pull them out? Because I have no idea what variety of tomatoes will grow there - I've planted over ten varieties over the years - it makes volunteers a fun surprise. Being outside the fence, they might serve as a nice deterrent from critters coming in and wreaking havoc on the rest of the veggies. The downside is that those poor asparagus that have been battered and uprooted will have to share their bed! However, I think with proper fertilization, water, and thinning out of the tomatoes, there might not be too much competition.

What do you say? When you see a volunteer tomato, do you weed it out or do you consider it a welcome inhabitant? Do you dig it up and plant it somewhere else?

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  1. I think I would do a little research on whether they make good companion plants -- if so, I would leave maybe 3, and move the rest. It doesn't look like a big enough area to bring all 13 to maturity and have good plant health and fruiting. If asparagus and tomatoes do not make good companions, but are "enemies" or competitors, I would move all of the tomatoes to various locations. I stick volunteers all over the place in the yard -- in pots or in flower beds, tucked here and there, using them as "guerrilla" vegetables -- insurance against something decimating the main garden. I find the volunteers typically do better in the extreme heat and such as the summer wears on.

  2. Great suggestions, Diana! I looked up companion plants and found this:
    Asparagus and tomatoes are good neighbors. Asparagus puts on growth very early in the season, and the tomato plants fill in after asparagus has been harvested. Also, tomatoes help repel asparagus beetle."

    I guess leaving up a couple won't hurt.



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