Monday, June 28, 2010

If vegetables were race horses...

We have been watching Planet Earth again (I love David Attenborough) and I'm always so amazed by the time-lapse footage of plants and fungi and corals growing. If I were a nature videographer, I might skip the mountain of cockroach-infested bat guano in Indonesia and instead set my sights on more mundane subjects, like my garden plants. I would love to see the ever-so-slight circular movement of plants as they angle for the best light and the speedy coiling of pea and cucumber tendrils.

I go and look at my garden every day, partly because I am trying to stay ahead of the weeds and partly because the garden is on either side of the driveway where I park my car. So, I see that my peppers are getting longer, the tomatoes keep putting out new suckers, and all of a sudden, the eggplants are twice the size they were the day before. Or at least, they seem twice as big. It would be SO cool to actually track and document the daily progress of my garden plants and correlate growth rates with weather, microsite conditions, and other factors (heirloom vs. hybrid.)

Then I would know who to put my money on... in the great Belmont Stakes of mid-summer garden growth. Is it the snow peas who keep outgrowing their fence? Is it the arugula that sprouted in a day and a half? Is it the Sweet 100 tomatoes from my mom that put out new flower stalks on an almost daily basis? This is a very happenin' time in the garden, with the front-runners showing a lot of potential and the stragglers (like the tomatoes in the non-raised bed with regular soil) are falling way behind.

So, who would you bet on? It's still early for most vegetables - I'm harvesting lettuce, arugula and snowpeas this week, but haven't even seen a baby green tomato yet. What plants will make it through to the harvest, retaining their penchant for productivity?

Cast your vote by leaving a comment below.

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