Plants conditioning soil for own family

Is it possible that a species would condition the soil to be suitable for its family?
I have grown eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers in buckets, on a yearly rotation. By the fourth year, and fifth, before I had the chance to plant the enxt crop, solanaceae volunteers came up. S. nigrum, villosum, withania, and D. stramonium.
I use the hypothesis to seek out solanaceae in the wild. If I see a tomato volunteer, then I start looking for a s. nigrum, s. villosum, or a datura. And they are found within a general proximity.
Maybe the plants shed certain material that signals the seeds of the family to germinate safely?


Seems possible, but then again, it could also precondition soil for pathogens attacking its own family as well!

It’s an interesting hypothesis worth exploring though, and part of an interesting line of inquiry on what ‘pioneer plants’ do for soils and succeeding plant species, as well as how invasive species interact with soil microbes and may engineer changes that promote their own growth.


Some plants are said to be allelopathic. I’ve not planted much solanaceae plants. The leafy ones simply shade out the other seedlings growing under it. The chillies and tomatoes I planted are often affected by leaf and root problems and not exceptionally resilient. In my area, the most common wild ones are Solanum torvum. There are often other plants growing near it. It does not display allelopathy in a significant way. Casuarina equisetifolia is said to be allelopathic. It appears to be true, but grass can grow near it too.

I suppose I have a bit of this phenomenon in my front garden, where Physalis hederifolia/fendleri, Chamaesaracha coronopus, and Mirabilis linearis - 2 Solanaceae and 1 Nyctaginaceae (same order: Solanales) - are growing and spreading together. They are not alone (Amaranthus, Chenopodium, Xanthisma, and various native grasses, but they cover a nice area and grow in close proximity.

Could you describe the patch of soil with this phenomenon, and whether the volunteers showed up due to watering.

I am curious about the description and history of the soil that you’ve planted in.
Is it a commercial potting soil? Or a garden soil you “inherited”?
Also which chilies and tomatoes?
Solanum torvum are getting introduced into the Middle East by workers from Indochina. They grow it in buckets and pots, and cook it like eggplant.

It’s unimproved construction dirt and native soil covered with weed cloth and gravel. They volunteered without watering or other help, although they benefit from disturbance and watering when I add plants around them. Physalis circled in green, photo from mid-summer, dry and hot.

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a very interesting plot. Almost an “empty lot” ecosystem. It has many species, for such an arid environment.
What is the plant with umbrella-like heads right on top of the green arc you drew?
Do you think construction dirt is rich in phosphorus and potassium?

Helianthus petiolaris is what I think you’re referring to. Annual sunflower species with narrow leaves. I haven’t done any soil tests, so I would be guessing on the chemistry.

It is garden soil in pots. Have some lateritic soil, cocopeat, sand and compost in it, basically a garden soil. Seeds from the chiilies and tomatoes bought at supermarkets are sown casually at times. The varieties I’ve grown before are Thai chilli, Cayenne type chilli, Jalapeno, birdeye. The tomatoes are an unknown variety, probably a F1 hybrid. There is a problem of broad mites attacking the chilli leaf buds in dry weather. Tomatoes get leaf problems after thunderstorms, probably the blights.
Solanum nigrum,torvum are likely spread by birds.Despite its small fruits, the seeds are numerous.

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