Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 3/12/13

My garden is a see-saw, it seems. Between trying to get my soil back in balance and the continual weekly night or two below freezing, it’s a wonder anything is still growing! We are a week away from the big Spring Planting, and I’m determined to get a harvest from my winter planting.

This week, I finally found the 15-0-15 fertilizer that Clemson University recommended I use to get my soil back into balance. (My soil test results showed I had excessive phosphorus in my garden beds.)  I prefer organic fertilizers, but emergency situations call for emergency remedies! Because inorganic fertilizers are faster acting, I opted to use this one to help my plants immediately. I have to say, I saw a positive change – albeit small – in just a couple days after fertilizing.

THE NEW:

My second batch of watermelon radishes are finally through the soil. It took ten days this time.

Watermelon radish seedlings

Watermelon radish seedlings

I noticed today that not only do I have a few leaves growing on my raspberry canes, but I have new raspberry canes starting!

New raspberry canes starting

New raspberry canes starting

A couple of the leaves were hit with the frost we had a few nights ago, but there are green leaves sprouting up anyway!

MOST CHANGED:

I think my purple potatoes win it this week again. After being cut by the frost – AGAIN this week – they are still much bigger than last week.

Purple potato ~ 39 days post planting

Purple potato ~ 39 days post planting

Close second is the celery, with a stalk bigger than last week.

Celery

Celery

SEEDLINGS:

My tomatoes were looking a bit wimpy the past few days (regardless of watering); they were limp and the leaves were curling. A sure sign of environmental stress. So, I raised the grow lights so they are about 18 inches above the tallest plant. I also fertilized them today – as a foliar spray and watering. They already look better! The peppers do, too.

Tomato seedlings ~ 7 weeks post planting

Tomato seedlings ~ 6 weeks post planting

Peppers ~ 6 weeks post planting

Peppers ~ 6 weeks post planting

By the way, the peppers with the gray blotches on the leaves are fish peppers. Pretty, aren’t they?

OUT IN THE GARDEN:

As I said, the frost has hit some of my plants again. Above, you see how the purple potatoes have bounced back. My Yukon Gold potatoes are having a hard time of it. I wonder if it’s because they’re in a raised bed while the purple potatoes are in buckets? They’re trying to hang on, though.

Yukon Gold potatoes ~ after frost

Yukon Gold potatoes ~ after frost

My kale has grown so very slowly – due to all that phosphorus, I’m sure – but the fertilizer seems to have perked them up some.

Kale

Kale

My Giant Noble spinach looks better than the Bloomsdale spinach at the moment.

Giant Noble spinach

Giant Noble spinach

My Red Creole onions are marching towards harvest. See how the leaves are falling and some are turning yellow?

Red Creole onions

Red Creole onions

I planted Texas Granex onion sets last month, and the frost almost got them twice. But they’re still going!

Texas Granex onions

Texas Granex onions

My turnips don’t look like much, but I dug around one of the purple top turnips and it’s bulbing up. They’re growing very slowly, but they ARE growing.

Purple Top turnips

Purple Top turnips

The lettuce seems to have responded very well to the fertilizer. It’s a little greener (or redder) and the leaves are more firm.

Lettuce bed

Lettuce bed

My asparagus spears are finally growing and NOT dying in the cold. I have spears up from 11 of my 12 roots now. And a couple of these spears are HUGE! Take a look at this:

Asparagus

Asparagus

I’ve had quite a few challenges in my winter garden, but I’m not giving up. Spring is almost here, but I know my little plants will give me something before the spring seeds and seedlings take their place.

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