Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/11/13

It’s sunny and 75 degrees in the Charleston, South Carolina, area today, and I thought it was a perfect day to post my first garden update. Over the growing seasons (yes, plural), I will regularly share with you what’s going on here in my garden ~ what’s been planted, how it’s growing, what problems I may be experiencing (as well as how I’m trying to solve them), and what’s being harvested. With the climate we have here in the South, we have three agricultural cycles and there’s almost always something growing in my garden.

Between January 5th and January 7th, I completed my winter planting. Almost every bed is full! Here’s what got planted in each bed (or what was already growing):

Bed 1: Dwarf Blue Curled kale ~ I’ll admit that the only time this should be planted here is in the fall, but it grew so well and tasted so good, I thought I’d try planting it in the winter. We’ve had warm weather this week, so I’m hoping the soil temperature will be warm enough for it to germinate. I thought I’d experiment; the only loss would be the cost of the seed if it doesn’t germinate. Stay tuned on this one.

Bed 2: Scarlet Nantes carrots ~ I grew these last year, and they are very sweet. Best carrots I’ve ever tasted. Then again, every carrot eaten straight out of the dirt is the best carrot you ever tasted!

Bed 3: Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach (second time planting) and Giant Noble spinach (first time planting).

Bed 4: Batavian Full Heart escarole ~ Yes, a full bed of escarole. You all know now that I’m Italian.

Bed 5: St. Valery carrots ~ This is a new variety for me. I’m looking forward to comparing these to the Scarlet Nantes variety.

Bed 6: Empty ~ reserved for Yukon Gold potatoes to be planted next month.

Bed 7: Red Creole onion seed was planted in October. Here’s what they look like today.

onions 11Jan13

Red Creole onions ~ 90 days post planting

Bed 8: Minowase Daikon radishes ~ the long, white variety used in Asian cooking (first time planting); Watermelon radishes ~ my favorite as they look like a watermelon when cut and taste great (third time planting); and Easter Egg radishes ~ small, globe radishes that are different colors, so I won’t know what color I’ll have until I harvest it (first time planting). The Easter Egg radishes started pushing through the ground today!

Easter Egg Radishes 11Jan13

Easter Egg radish ~ 6 days post planting

Bed 9: Golden Globe turnips ~ my first time eating them was after I planted them last winter; very buttery tasting (third time planting); Purple Top White Globe turnips ~ the kind you find in the stores (second time planting). The Purple Top turnips are starting to come out of the ground today, a little earlier than expected!

Purple Top turnips 11Jan13

Purple Top turnips ~ 6 days post planting

Bed 10: Detroit Red beets ~ the common beet found in grocery stores (third time planting); Early Blood Red Turnip beet ~ I discovered this beet on the Seed Savers Exchange website and thought I’d try it.

Bed 11: Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce ~ very good leaf lettuce (third time planting); Tom Thumb lettuce ~ a small buttercrunch type lettuce great for individual salads (second time planting); Red Romaine lettuce ~ a deep burgandy leaf lettuce that is wonderful in salads for color and taste (second time planting); Red Sails lettuce ~ another reddish leaf lettuce (first time planting); Arugula ~ very spicy leaf lettuce (second time planting) that is already coming through the soil.

Arugula 11Jan13

Arugula ~ 4 days post planting

Bed 12: Fordhook Swiss Chard was planted last spring then cut back in August, per the instructions. Of  the three or four plants I had, only one came back. But it looks beautiful today (see picture below). I will be planting more next month.

Swiss chard 11Jan13

Swiss chard ~ about 10 months old

Bed 12: Italian Soft Neck Garlic planted in October. This is my first time planting garlic. While researching today why my leaves are turning yellow with about 2 more months before harvest (see picture below), I discovered that I should’ve fed my garlic nitrogen when they first came out of the ground and again 2-3 weeks later. Yikes!! So, guess what I’ll be doing this weekend to try to save the crop?

Garlic closeup 11Jan13

Italian softneck garlic ~ 90 days post planting
~ in need of nitrogen ~

Bed 13: The Berry Bed: Sequoia strawberries ~ planted last spring but only one plant survived; it spread across the bed, so I’m hoping for strawberries this spring. Here’s what they look like today:

Strawberry bed 11Jan13

Strawberries ~ about 10 months old

Bed 13: The Berry Bed: Heritage Everbearing raspberries ~ very small crop in the late spring (I wasn’t expecting any the first spring), and a huge crop in the fall. Here’s what they look like today:

Raspberry bed 11Jan13

Raspberries ~ about 10 months old

I even have some stragglers on one of the canes. Amazing!

Raspberry stragglers 11Jan13

Raspberry stragglers ~ in January!

Bed 14: Mary Washington asparagus ~ planted last spring and awaiting the first harvest in February; the bottom of the bed is empty, awaiting the planting of Strawberry Spinach in the spring.

My almond tree and pomegranate trees are dormant, but my Celestial Fig has leaf buds on every branch:

Fig leaf bud 2.11Jan13

Fig tree buds ~ tree is about 10 months old

My key lime tree is a baby. At least, I thought it was. I got it as a gift in November and thought it would be a couple years before it was mature enough to fruit, but there are buds on my key lime already!

Key lime buds 11Jan13

Key Lime tree buds

Even though it’s the middle of January, there’s plenty growing in my garden. Come back soon for the next update of what’s happening at Sanctuary Gardener!

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