Thursday, June 2, 2016

Happy June!

With the onset of summer, I am starting to really understand how hot it can get here in Fairfield. It has reached the upper 90s a few times, which has really helped the cucumber plants take off.

Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumber Growing

With the cooler nights, pickling cucumber varieties, such as my Arkansas Little Leaf cucumber, do a lot better than they ever did in Tucson.

One of my first female blossoms

The cool nights have also significantly affected my tomato production. I knew that tomatoes were easy to grow in Fairfield, but seeing the results of the right climate is impressive!

Uncaged Celebrities are migrating to the sidewalk

In talking with a gentleman selling tomatoes at the local farmer's market, tomatoes can be planted here in January. Perhaps I will try this next year, as cheap fresh tomatoes are often available here later in the season, but command a higher price this time of year.

The San Marzanos are picking up steam

The cool air that often blows in from the Suisun Marsh as well as the nearby delta enables the pollen from tomato blossoms to set fruit at a pretty high rate, as demonstrated by my one San Marzano tomato plant.

A few of my last Dingess Purple sweet potato plants.

Conversely, without the consistent heat and brutal sun that Tucson offered, my Dingess Purple sweet potato plants are just barely growing. Fortunately, one spot that I planted them in - on the south side of the house - is working out much better than near the rose bushes. Let's hope they can grow enough to produce a decent tuber.

South-facing Dingess Purple sweet potato plants

As a gardener, I sometimes laugh at myself when I forget a very basic technique from one year to another. The water-filled plastic containers surrounding my plants have made a dramatic difference in speeding up growth. Before planting next year, I'll have to gather more plastic jugs.

Dark Armenian cucumbers are finally taking off.

Cucumber Beetles are not very photogenic

Alas, cucumber beetles are difficult to avoid. After feeding off of dandelions early in the spring, they migrate to other flowers when the dandelions begin going to seed. Feasting upon pollen and petals, these beetles devour the innards of my roses and cucumbers, compelling me to carry out the serial killing of cold-blooded invertebrates.

Another Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumber plant

Cucumber & Melon plants

Overall, I am very grateful to live in a place where my long-term my health should improve while still being able to garden. Being a partner with a living, thriving, growing organism has blessed my life in so many ways. As others have said, gardening is cheaper than therapy - and you get tomatoes!

Tomatoes - starting to fill out