Ripening cherry tomatoes on a vine

Tomatoes: Weed or Invasive Species? 

All gardeners know that the easiest and best plant to grow is a tomato

Cherry, Hot House, Gold Nugget, Big Mama, Roma, I literally do not have enough space on the page to list every single variety – and I don’t think I could even get more than 5% of all varieties off the top of my head. 

But one thing we’ve learned from our years of backyard gardening is that tomatoes LOVE to regrow. Each tomato has countless amount of seeds as everyone knows, and it honestly feels like each one germinates if in the proper soil. 

(But if you want to learn how to properly regrow tomatoes every year, or if you want a tomato growing guide – you can check it out here).

Tomatoes can also regrow from cut-offs. When trimming a grown plant, you can plant the cut-off into the soil and it will grow tomatoes! We tested this theory in our first year of gardening. 

With such high germination rates and the ability to regrow like a weed – how the hell aren’t tomatoes growing all over the place? The side of the road, in forests, in high foot-traffic areas, hiking trails, literally anywhere. 

In our first year of gardening, we had 8 tomato plants that grew 6 feet tall.  I believe in total we counted that we got 400 tomatoes. Insane. 

That summer we ate fresh tomatoes out of the backyard and ALL gardeners know what I mean when I say that it’s the best experience ever. When we had enough – we decided to throw the rest of the tomato plant into the garden bed as organic compost. DO NOT DO THIS! 

We also had some tomatoes over time go moldy because of the small bed we had and the lack of trimming and space. We have since learned our lesson on that one. But with those tomatoes or ones eaten by other animals, we let them decompose in the garden bed as organic compost. DO NOT DO THIS! 

Tomato seedling growing underneath beet plants
Tomato seedling growing underneath beet plants

The following year we had over 30 tomato plants sprouting up around the garden bed in places we didn’t want. 

As people who have a hard time thinning plants, we did let some of them grow, but we also couldn’t let others grow because it was in the way of our planned veggies. 

We’ve even had tomatoes growing in our compost – and that soil made for amazing tomatoes and great chicken food.

Did we learn our lesson? A little – but not a lot. 

Here we are now, coming to the end of another winter and getting ready to plant some items in the greenhouse. I went outside to tidy up, clean the beds, add manure, and get rid of the dead and decomposing plants, (we got into detail on our experience with leaving plants/roots to decompose on the garden beds in another post). 

Tomato seedling growing in between rows of onions
Tomato seedling growing in between rows of onions

And low and behold – another 10+ decomposing tomatoes I found in the soil that probably would have ended up growing 30+ tomatoes in a greenhouse that is already planned/spaced to the max. 

TLDR: Don’t leave tomatoes to decompose in garden beds or anywhere you plan on planting seeds. Tomatoes are more of a weed than a plant & they grow everywhere you don’t want them to.  Not sure how we don’t come across tomatoes growing along the roads… 

1 thought on “Tomatoes: Weed or Invasive Species? ”

  1. I love for tomatoes to come up like this. We always called them volunteers. My dad taught me that you could have a late crop of tomatoes by planting suckers as well. I never plant cherry tomatoes. They come up in the garden every year, and I let 2 or 3 grow. I also have volunteer watermelons that come up every year. This year, I even had volunteer cucumbers, and summer squash. I never have to plant Zinnias either. They come up in my flower bed every year from seeds. I have a passion for growing things, and a fascination with how plants come up year after year. To me, it’s all good. Happy gardening.

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