Our monster tomato plants are taking over the solarium. This picture was taken about 3 weeks ago after our first harvest of ripe tomatoes. I was so excited to have ripe home grown tomatoes this early in the season that I only remembered pictures after we'd eaten the tomatoes.
We've probably harvested 4-5 pounds of tomatoes so far starting about 3 weeks ago. I think next year we can move this up a month and have ripe tomatoes from the indoor plants in mid April by starting tomatoes January 1st indoors. (This year we started plants February 1st.)
Our mandarinquat, lime and lemon are developing larger fruit and are growing more leaves. How long until these are ready? I'm already planning on making some marmalade.
Here is a cayenne pepper from the solarium with a quarter for scale. I couldn't wait to harvest this sucker and figured it would be pretty mild. When I taste-tested this pepper I ended up having to drink milk for half an hour my mouth was burning so bad. Note: Cayenne peppers do not have to turn red to set your mouth on fire. We're planning on drying and grinding these peppers for our own cayenne powder.
Now on to the greenhouse... The tomatoes are enormous. We've pruned them several times and they're still pretty big. We haven't gotten any ripe tomatoes out of the greenhouse, but have full grown green tomatoes that are starting to ripen. I don't think we could speed this up much next year. So far, the time that we planted this year seemed pretty ideal (Started seeds in February, transplanted in April). Currently I am starting new tomato plants to replace these ones and the ones in the greenhouse mid-summer. I'm guessing in a month or two they'll start to wear out and get too gangly for us. Hopefully this year we'll have ripe tomatoes from mid-May to late fall. Every house should have a solarium and greenhouse.
This is a spaghetti squash growing in the greenhouse. Apparently, some years in Montana the summer is too short to grow these outdoors. To hedge our bets, we're growing melons, and winter squash in the greenhouse along with tomatoes, peppers, onions and basil. Next year I might add okra and eggplants to the mix.
Here are our peppers. Not quite sure how good they are doing, they are certainly putting a lot of energy into the fruit. We just fertilized these again recently and hope they get a bit bigger. If not, next year we'll start twice as many and jam them into their beds.
I'm not sure how worthwhile marigolds are as companion plants in the greenhouse, but they look so cute I had to grow some.
As the lettuce in the greenhouse has been bolting we've been replacing those sections with basil. We're planning on making some pesto once we have enough.
Here is tonight's harvest. Greenhouse hybrid tomatoes, debarao tall vine tomatoes (excellent flavor), oregano, antohi peppers, bell peppers, easter egg radish, winter density lettuce and tom thumb lettuce.
I combined our harvest with some violas, noodles, smoked sausage and cheese for a pasta salad. It was a delicious dinner!