Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/20/13

Well, the spring-like weather has ceased here in the Charleston, SC area. No more upper 70s/lower 80s. I’m back to watching the weather report for night time temperatures near freezing. Tonight is the second night I’ve had to cover my asparagus with a sheet to protect the growing spears from frost. They came up early, so I have to watch out for them. Everything else in the garden should be fine in this weather. Speaking of everything else, let’s take a look at what’s going on.

The warm weather last week coaxed out leaf buds on several of my trees and plants. Every branch on my fig has multiple leaf buds.

Multiple leaf buds on fig

Multiple leaf buds on fig

Both my pomegranate trees have leaf buds and tiny leaves.

Pomegranate leaf buds

Pomegranate leaf buds

My key lime tree (which I bring inside on nights that the temperature is to fall below 40) is covered with buds, and a couple of them opened up this week.

Key lime flower

Key lime flower

Even my hydrangea is getting its first leaf buds.

Hydrangea leaf bud

Hydrangea leaf bud

I have 4 rosemary plants that I planted last spring. A couple of them aren’t looking as healthy as they could be.

Rosemary

Rosemary with brown leaves

When I researched it, I found that leaves that turn yellow then brown are caused by one of two things. One reason is too much water. That’s not the case here – at least not now. Last spring was pretty wet, though, and that’s when the problem started. The other reason is under fertilization. I think that may be what’s going on with my rosemary. I’ll have to kick it up a notch with the food!

And speaking of needing food, my garlic is a bit on the pale side.  The leaves are more of a sage green than a forest green. And the older, bottom leaves turned yellow and fell off.

Garlic with pale leaves

Garlic with pale leaves

Upon researching, I discovered that garlic is a very heavy feeder and needs extra nitrogen twice during the growing process – once as soon as the leaves start poking through the ground and again two to three weeks later. I did neither! Well, that would explain the pale leaves (and maybe the lack of bulbing so far??). So, in an effort to try to save my crop – if it’s even possible at this stage – I topdressed my garlic with inorganic nitrogen (34-0-0) for a quick feed and watered in well. Stay tuned for the results.

On a happier note, I got over 95% germination rate with my Easter Egg radishes. And they’re now big enough to see well from a distance.

Easter Egg radishes

Easter Egg radishes

My asparagus are still poking through the ground even though it’s gotten colder. That’s a little surprising to me, but I’m happy about it.

New asparagus spears

New asparagus spears

I harvested three spears this week. They never made it to the fridge or the table. Just a breeze through the faucet to wash them, and they were in my mouth. Heaven on a stick!

I also harvested a bunch of chard leaves for a great weekend salad, which included carrots, parsley, and radishes I had harvested in December. Pretty awesome.

My strawberries have produced a second flower. Hope they both survive the cold!

Strawberry flowers

Strawberry flowers

Everything else in the garden is growing well…little by little. The only thing I seem to have a problem with is my escarole. I don’t see that any have come up yet, and it’s been two weeks since planting. I see a lot of what I think are baby weeds, but I don’t think there are any baby escarole. I may need to plant again this week – and hope I get a harvest before I have to pull everything up for the big spring planting.

And that leads me to my biggest news. I’ve been very busy this weekend preparing for Operation Seed Germination, which commences tomorrow! I’ve already prepped the tables, and the grow lights will be installed in the morning. I will plant indoors all my various tomato and pepper seeds, along with some eggplant and artichoke. Come back to tomorrow to see my set up.

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