Tomato, stumped

I did some work in the garden on Sunday afternoon, and as I was carrying compost and equipment back and forth, I noticed a new plant growing out of the stump in the middle of the grass. It looked awfully familiar, this plant, with its notched and pointy leaves and its fuzzy stem.

I walked by it about three times, noting it each time, before I finally stopped and took a closer look. Was it possible? Could it be?

I finally crouched down, pulled off a leaf and smelled it. Then I giggled.

Stumped tomato

Yes, people, I have a tomato plant growing out of a tree stump in the back yard. And I swear I’m not responsible.

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20 Responses to “Tomato, stumped”


  1. 1 Lydia September 4, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Way to go, Genie! That’s what makes gardening so much fun!

  2. 2 heyercapital September 4, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Isn’t that funny? I have two tomato plant that volunteered to grow in my firepit, right from the ashes and coals. I had thrown nasty green toms there last winter.

  3. 3 growthumbs September 4, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Neat how plants will grow where there is just enough of the right components for growth.

  4. 4 Carol September 4, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Seeds germinate in the darndest places, don’t they? Yet sometimes when we try to sow them with perfect conditions, they balk! I wonder if this tomato will flower and set fruit before the first frost?

  5. 5 Ciara September 4, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Perhaps it is like the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” where the tomato plant you tortured by hanging it in a basket has somehow wished for a good place to grow and it grew out of your stump, which when you think if it is all that’s left of the deep, deep roots of a tree. But it’s a dead tree which is the “gotcha” part. Or perhaps this plant will grow mighty roots that will disrupt swere systems all over town.

  6. 6 anniebetty September 4, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Oh, Ciara, that makes my head hurt.

    I plant stuff in stumps all of the time. Or in the space where a tree has a “V” … tomatoes have such a sense of humor.

  7. 7 Heather September 4, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    “Then I giggled.” Me too! Who says plants don’t have brains. That tomato is definitely messing with you.

  8. 8 Me September 5, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I love it…tomatoes are good for that, aren’t they?

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener September 5, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Lydia, I don’t know if I deserve accolades — I really didn’t do anything but notice the plant — but it is pretty funny, nonetheless. And now…I’m kind of thinking the stump might be a good place to plant things!

    Heyercapital, that’s really bizarre — I assume you haven’t gotten much use out of the firepit, then? Or did you move the plants?

    Growthumbs, and who knew the dead stump had so much life in it?!

    Carol, I’m wondering, too. It all depends on that wacky Iowa weather…

    Ciara, the Tomato That Ate Iowa City…I’m seeing B-movie possibilities…

    AB, I like the idea of planting things in the v of trees…interesting!

    Heather, someone’s messing with me, for sure.

    Me, tomatoes are hilarious things. Really. :-)

  10. 10 kate September 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I’d bet the rabbit got into a gardening mood and figured a tomato growing out of a tree stump would be a fine place to grow some veggies.

  11. 11 Jeanne September 5, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Kate – I had a similar thought – I was thinking of the squirrels and what messy eaters they are. Small payback for the ones they ate!

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener September 6, 2007 at 6:10 am

    Kate, would that the rabbits were so deliberate…

    Jeanne, you’re probably totally right there — I’m guessing it’s more messy squirrels, less intention…

  13. 13 Ottawa Gardener September 6, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Who says that tomatoes need coddling?

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener September 6, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Ottawa Gardener, mine have gotten much less coddling this year than last, so apparently whoever says that is wrong!

  15. 15 anniebetty September 7, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Tomaotoes “don’t need nuthin'” but a sturdy stake to support the weight of their fruit … and that’s what I have to add.

  16. 16 inadvertentgardener September 7, 2007 at 11:54 am

    AB, if this tomato hangs in there, a stake it’ll get. I’m not sure how I’ll drive said stake into the stump, but I’ll figure it out.

  17. 17 anniebetty September 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    I nice three-inch nail might do the trick. (For getting the stake to stick to the stump.) Oh my.

  18. 18 Chigiy September 7, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I bet it wasn’t a walnut tree stump.

  19. 19 inadvertentgardener September 8, 2007 at 11:38 am

    AB, hmmm…good idea.

    Chigiy, you know, I’m actually not sure what kind of stump it is, but you’re absolutely right — there’s no way it’s a walnut tree stump!


  1. 1 Stumped, but not giving up « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on September 12, 2007 at 12:16 pm

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