It’s a Jungle in There

OK, hyperbole got the better of me there, but thanks to some very happy tomato plants

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a big-leafed zucchini plant,

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and an enthusiastically climbing cucumber plant (which I mistakenly thought was going to give us green beans!)

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our greenhouse is a fun place to be these days.

As far as actual vegetable production goes, we’re still not sure the degree to which a healthy plant will produce veggies.  Clearly we are not ready to bring our bounty over to the community food bank or start jarring and canning, and we’re lucky if something makes it into David’s lunch salad.  Happily this was today’s addition:

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Yes, that photo is intense.   I got a bit carried away with my close-up of our very first cherry tomatoes, which I thought were supposed to be a regular sized variety.  I’ve started to realize that not all tomato plants look the same and that’s one way to distinguish the cherries from different varieties . I’m sure more fastidious gardeners make note of which are which but I was so sure that my little transplanted seedlings weren’t going to survive that I got careless.  Here’s a look at the younger plants.  I’m thinking we’ll have a few varieties:

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I’m pretty sure that our zucchini plant will continue to provide:

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But the cucumber plant has me pretty confused:

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That’s got a long way to go!  Or perhaps it never got fertilized?  These are actually knowable things-a quick google search should do the trick-but I’m not feeling like researching right now.  I think I’ll just wait.  I have a feeling that by the time we return from Montana all will be known.

These plants clearly like the very warm weather, and our greenhouse helps keep things pretty tropical.  At the same time it seems that the radishes, carrots, arugula, cilantro and kale can’t handle this heat.  They all have pretty much let us know they are done for the summer.

As we think about the fall planting season which begins in August, our goal will be to fine tune our scattershot approach and consider things like temperature fluctuations, soil nutrition, compatible plants and proper spacing and thinning.  There’s so much more to know but we experienced just enough success over these past six months that the idea of sourcing all of our vegetables from our own garden (over time of course) doesn’t seem so unlikely.

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As I’m writing this post I am reminded of a book I read by a fellow Tucsonian and favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver, who spent a year on her family’s farm in Southern Appalachia eating only locally-sourced/grown food.  I read her book entitled “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” long before I ever considered growing anything, and while I don’t remember the details of the book (except there were lots of ways to eat zucchini!) I was completely drawn to her family’s story.  If you’re interested in becoming more self-sustaining or are just looking for a good read you can learn more here.