Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Red in My Roses

Guest Blogger, Brad Miller

I am seeing red in my roses this year and it is not from what you would think. This spring, I mixed some compost with the soil around my garden. In late May, all of a sudden, I had tomato plants popping up between my roses. 

These volunteer cherry tomato plants sprouted from seeds put in my compost. Sure, I could have pulled them as weeds, but then I would have missed out on the bounty. So far, I have picked over 50 tomatoes. 

Tomato, pepper, melon and other seeds sometimes persevere during the composting process, especially if you do not turn your pile often. Cold composting (not turning your pile) is easier although it does take longer and, as I learned, can result in an unintended surprise from using the finished compost.

If you want to prevent seeds from staying viable in your compost; try hot composting. But if you are like me and don't mind a little extra fruit and veggies, sit back, relax and let compost make its magic.

Compost-enthusiast Brad Miller is the Assistant Director of Hamilton County Environmental Services. He also maintains our office garden and compost bins.


  1. We got acorn squash volunteers in OUR flower bed! Not bad!

  2. What a great surprise to have in your garden! I wonder how many people have this happen to them? Thus far I haven't been so lucky, so well done to you Brad!

    Michelle, has this ever happened to you?

    1. Yes! Last year I had a tomato plant pop up near my front steps. It ended up being a cherry tomato plant and I harvested quite a few tomatoes from it! :)

    2. Oh nice! What a good place for a tomato plant to grow, too :)

      Composting certainly can come with a lot of surprises, but when they bring you unexpected yields, it's the best.

      Fingers crossed for more surprise tomatoes for you Michelle!