If you have noticed some tomato seedlings popping up where they shouldn’t then you may well be wondering if they are self-seeded, heck do tomatoes even self-seed or are you just going crazy? let’s have a look and find out.
Will Tomatoes Self Seed?
Put tomatoes in your compost heap and then spread that compost around your garden and you will soon find tomato seedlings popping up everywhere.
Tomatoes grow really well from seed and each tomato includes a tonne of individual seeds. as you could guess this is the perfect recipe for self-seeding.
Should You Grow Self-Seeded Tomatoes?
So now we know that tomatoes will happily self-seed the next question becomes, should we grow on these self-seeded tomatoes for harvest? I mean, free tomatoes, who doesn’t love the sound of that?
There is a little problem though, and it comes down to what variety of tomato you are growing.
F1 hybrids, which a lot of modern tomatoes are, will not grow true to seed. So any seeds you grow from these plants won’t be the same as the ones they came from.
This doesn’t mean you will always get bad plants, but it does massively increase the chances. And often you might not even know you have an unproductive plant until the fruiting season comes around by which time it will be too late to grow a replacement.
If you are growing heirloom tomatoes, and only one type to reduce cross-pollination, then they will be true to type and you can grow these seedlings and get the same plants as the parents.
A Fun Experiment
Even with all the drawbacks I still find it really hard to get rid of these plucky little seedlings. We normally give tomatoes so much care and attention and these tough little seedlings have grown on their own in some of the most unlikely of spots. So why not grow them and turn them into something fun.
Growing self-seeded tomatoes can be a really fun experiment, especially if you have a few different heirloom varieties growing in your greenhouse.
Let’s say you have a cherry growing next to beefsteak and they cross-pollinate. What kinds of tomatoes will the plant produce?
Huge but still cherry sweet tomatoes? Unlikely, but who knows. and this is where fun experimentation can come in with allowing self-seeded tomatoes to grow and set fruit.
Overshadowing Other Crops
Depending on where your tomatoes are growing they can overshadow and really bully other crops. This is particularly true if you have ended up with
In this scenario, tomato seedlings start popping up all over the place. If left unchecked they can be very detrimental to other plant growth. Tomatoes are hungry large plants that can easily bully smaller plants.
That doesn’t mean you need to toss all of your self-seeded tomatoes back onto the compost heap. You can move them into pots to grow on before deciding what to do with them.