Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/27/13

Boy have things been busy this week here at my Sanctuary Garden! Not only do I have 14 raised beds that I’m tending outside, I now also have six flats of seeds and seedlings that I’m nurturing. The weather has cooled off since my last update with temperatures closer to average, so the growth of the outside veggies has slowed a bit. Yet, most of my winter crops now have their secondary (true) leaves. And seeds are already popping through the soil under my grow lamps!

I’m most excited about my key lime tree…which has baby key limes! I was looking at all the flowers a couple days ago and noticed the green “bulbs” inside some of the flowers. I can almost taste that key lime pie now!

Baby key limes

Baby key limes

My strawberries have produced a few more flowers. I happened to catch a couple as buds this week:

Strawberry bud

Strawberry bud

All my winter crops have secondary (or first true) leaves, except my carrots and beets. Both beds of carrots, as well as my bed of beets, are just now filling up with the seedlings. (Carrots and beets take longer to germinate than my other crops.) So, here’s a look at most of my outside plants as of today.

Kale – you can see its first true leaf already shows its characteristic curly shape.

Kale ~ 22 days old

Kale ~ 22 days old

I planted two kinds of spinach. The Giant Noble spinach seems to be growing a little bit faster than the Bloomsdale spinach.

Giant Noble spinach ~ 22 days old

Giant Noble spinach ~ 22 days old

Bloomsdale spinach ~ 22 days old

Bloomsdale spinach ~ 22 days old

My radishes are growing the most quickly, but they are the crop that matures the soonest.

Daikon radish ~ 22 days old

Daikon radish ~ 22 days old

Easter Egg radishes ~ 22 days old

Easter Egg radishes ~ 22 days old

Watermelon radish ~ 22 days old

Watermelon radish ~ 22 days old

My Purple Top turnips popped out of the ground before the Golden Globe turnips, so they are a little bigger.

Purple Top turnips ~ 22 days old

Purple Top turnips ~ 22 days old

Golden Globe turnip ~ 22 days old

Golden Globe turnip ~ 22 days old

My beets are almost all out of the ground now. Each seed throws up two or three seedlings, so I’ll have to thin these out soon.

Detroit Red beets ~ 20 days old

Detroit Red beets ~ 20 days old

Blood Red Turnip beets ~ 20 days old

Blood Red Turnip beets ~ 20 days old

My lettuce has their secondary leaves, but they seem to be growing more slowly than they should. I’m thinking it’s the cold!

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce ~ 20 days old

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce ~ 20 days old

Tom Thumb lettuce ~ 20 days old

Tom Thumb lettuce ~ 20 days old

Red Romaine lettuce ~ 20 days old

Red Romaine lettuce ~ 20 days old

Red Sails lettuce ~ 20 days old

Red Sails lettuce ~ 20 days old

And here’s my arugula, which is growing well. It’s not a lettuce but a brassica (like turnips and radishes and such). Look at the initial leaves and compare them to other brassicas.

Arugula ~ 20 days old

Arugula ~ 20 days old

Six days ago, I planted some of my spring crops as well as flowers in flats and put them under grow lights. They’re sitting on seedling heating mats, and I’m already seeing the difference the extra heat makes! I put a thermometer in the room with a probe in one of the flats. The soil temperature averages 20 degrees higher than the room temperature.

For the first five days, I kept the mats on during the night, although the lights were off. Last night, I turned off the mats as well as the lights. When I got up this morning, the soil temperature was the same temperature as the room – 66 degrees. However, the soil warmed up quickly when I turned the mats and lights back on. The room temperature during the day averages 71 degrees, and the soil temperature averages 89-91 degrees. I think I will continue to turn the mats off along with the lights to better mimic nature’s night time temperatures.

The first seedlings to pop through the soil were my Amish Cockscomb (a type of celosia) — in two days!! Here are some of them today:

Amish Cockscomb ~ 6 days old

Amish Cockscomb ~ 6 days old

I have Dianthus coming through the soil, but they’re a little too small to photograph. However, my carnations are coming along:

Carnations ~ 6 days old

Carnations ~ 6 days old

Basil is my only herb up so far:

Basil ~ 6 days old

Basil ~ 6 days old

Here are the other veggies that are up so far:

Purple artichoke ~ 6 days old

Purple artichoke ~ 6 days old

Eggplant ~ 6 days old

Eggplant ~ 6 days old

Jalapenos ~ 6 days old

Jalapenos ~ 6 days old

Pepperoncini ~ 6 days old

Pepperoncini ~ 6 days old

Fish peppers ~ 6 days old

Fish peppers ~ 6 days old

My tomatillo and tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste, Mama Leone, and Riesentraube) are the tallest of my seedlings. It’s almost time to remove the dome!

Tomatilloes and Tomatoes ~ 6 days old

Tomatillo and Tomatoes ~ 6 days old

Spring may still be weeks away, but there’s a lot growing in my Sanctuary Garden. Connect with me on Facebook, and let me know what’s growing at your homestead.

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