Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 4/15/13

The temperatures have been in the mid to upper 70s all week here at Sanctuary Garden, and we had over an inch of rain. The warm temperatures and the soaking rain have caused my garden to sprout in almost every bed within a few days! And, as you can see in the picture above, my strawberries are ripening. I’m already eating some for breakfast. They melted in my mouth with sugary sweetness. Incredible!

There’s so much going on at my homestead, I couldn’t possibly include pictures of everything in one post, but I’ll include enough for you to enjoy!

THE ORCHARD:

My front yard is my mini orchard and soon-to-be home of beautiful flowers. The all-in-one almond tree that I transplanted (bare root) in December still shows no sign of life. I’m beginning to get concerned, but still hopeful.

My fig tree is full of leaves. I’m hoping to have my first crop of figs this year.

Fig leaves

Fig leaves

My pomegranates got leaves early (due to an 80 degree week in January!), then lost them all in a subsequent frost. One tree has started sprouting new leaves; the other tree hasn’t yet but is getting new growth from the root. I’m hoping to have my first pomegranates this year.

Pomegranate leaves

Pomegranate leaves

Pomegranate new growth

Pomegranate new growth

My key lime tree is budding again. I didn’t expect that so soon. It’s been two months since it budded – and dropped all the baby limes. I still think the tree is too young to bear fruit, but it’s always fun to see it budding.

Key lime tree budding

Key lime tree budding

POTTED GARDEN:

My snow peas are blooming and pods are soon to form. It’s interesting that I planted the seed at the same time, in the same soil, and put them in the same place; yet, the plants in one pot are almost twice the size as the plants in the other. I find that odd.

Snow peas ~ 10 weeks post planting

Snow peas ~ 10 weeks post planting

Snow pea flower

Snow pea flower

The leaves on my hydrangea seem to have doubled since last week.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

My hydrangea are even budding!

Hydrangea bud

Hydrangea bud

My potatoes are growing well beyond the top of the buckets.

Potatoes in pots

Potatoes in pots

I’m already harvesting herbs from my potted herb garden around the patio, too. And the Peruvian hot peppers, Rocoto and Lemon Drop, are growing well beside them.

Last fall, I harvested all my celery and threw the roots into the compost bin. A couple of them survived and started growing inside the compost. I moved them to the corner of the compost bin to see if they would grow, and now I have full plants that I can start harvesting from!

Celery growing in the compost bin

Celery growing in the compost bin

RAISED BEDS:

I now have 15 raised beds for a total of almost 600 square feet of growing space! That’s not counting my pots and containers! I’m giddy with horticultural glee!

In Bed 1, I’ve kept my kale growing, pulling only a few plants to make room for two celery plants (grown from the ends of store-bought celery) and three eggplant. I just harvested another basket full of kale yesterday, and it still tastes sweet. The two celery plants are taking to the soil well. My store-bought Black Beauty eggplant is just fine, but I lost one of my two Listada de Gandia eggplants I transplanted from my own seedlings. I almost lost the other one, but the rain livened it up and I think it will survive. Today, I direct sowed a Listada de Gandia seed to take the dead one’s place. It just might grow.

In Bed 2, my sweet peppers have strengthened and are doing well. No danger of losing any, it seems! I have mini red bell, mini red heart, and green bell. I pulled off the bottom leaves that were dying, and more leaves are beginning to grow. Also, a couple of the Black Seeded Simpson lettuce I planted between the pepper plants have popped through the soil.

Green bell peppers

Green bell peppers

In Bed 3, I planted green and White Wonder cucumbers along a trellis, with watermelon radishes outside the cucumber rows. On the ends of the trellis, I planted Israeli red watermelon, Tigger melon, and canteloupe. Under the trellis, I planted icicle radishes. The radishes are supposed to help ward off the bugs that like squash and cucumbers. My green cukes and tigger melon are coming up, as well as all the radishes.

Watermelon radishes ~ 5 days post planting

Watermelon radishes ~ 5 days post planting

In Bed 4, I transplanted my paste tomatoes. I lost six Amish paste, one Mama Leone, and one of my grafted Roma tomatoes. I searched for days in several stores in a 20-mile radius for Roma tomato plants to replace them; everyone was sold out! This Italian was starting to panic when I finally hit the jackpot at Lowes right after a delivery. I now have 8 new Roma tomato plants in my bed. The remaining Amish paste and Mama Leone plants look like they might survive.

In Bed 5, Black Valentine green beans share the soil with Beurre de Rocquencourt wax beans; while in Bed 6, I filled the entire bed with Henderson lima beans. The soil in both beds is cracking, so I should see sprouts breaking through tomorrow or the next day!

In bed 7 are my onions. More of the Red Creole onions are budding, but I’m harvesting them only as I need them. They didn’t bulb up much, so they won’t store well. Thus, I will leave them in the ground and harvest as I use them. The Texas Granex white onion sets I planted in February have doubled in size in the past couple of weeks.

Texas Granex onions

Texas Granex onions

Bed 8 is my squash bed. I planted Black zucchini, Yellow Crookneck squash, Waltham Butternut, and spaghetti squash. Almost all of the spaghetti squash and zucchini are up; one or two of the yellow squash and butternut are poking through the soil. I planted icicle radishes between the squash hills to ward off the squash bugs; they’re all up!

Icicle radish ~ 5 days post planting

Icicle radish ~ 5 days post planting

In Bed 9 are my hot peppers: jalapeno, fish pepper, pepperoncini, cubanelle. I lost one jalanpeno, but all the other pepper plants are beginning to thrive. A couple of the Tom Thumb lettuce I planted between them are starting to come up.

In Bed 10, I planted Russian pickling cucumbers on both sides of the trellis. Fifteen of the 16 seeds have sprouted already! All the watermelon radishes I planted alongside the cucumbers, as well as all the icicle radishes under the trellis, have sprouted. On the ends of the trellis, I planted Amish Pie pumpkin, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Lemon Drop melon, and Casaba melon. One of the pumpkins and one of the Lemon Drop melons have sprouted already.

Russian Pickling cucumber ~ 5 days post planting

Russian Pickling cucumber ~ 5 days post planting

In Bed 11 are my tomatillo and slicing tomatoes: Black Krim, blue, Mortgage Lifter, Riesentraube (cherry), and Cherokee Purple. I lost one blue tomato, but I have one left. The others are doing great! The stems are thickening and new leaves are growing. And my tomatillo is blooming!

Tomatillo flower

Tomatillo flower

In Bed 12 is my Italian soft neck garlic, which I planted last October. It seems to be doing well, though the leaves are still not very green. I keep fertilizing on schedule, and it should be ready to harvest some time in June or July. I also have chard growing in this bed. I had one chard plant come back this winter, and I sowed chard seed last month. The seedlings are now getting their second leaves.

Italian Softneck Garlic

Italian Softneck Garlic

Bed 12x is my new bed, positioned before Bed 13. I didn’t want to rename beds 13 and 14, as it would mess up my garden logs! So, Bed 12x it is. My purple artichoke seedlings and store-bought green artichoke are in this bed. I lost a purple artichoke, so I direct sowed a seed today to replace it. We’ll see if it grows!

Bed 13 is my berry bed. My raspberry canes are coming to life!

Heritage raspberry canes

Heritage raspberry canes

I harvested my first strawberries this week, too!

Sequoia strawberry

Sequoia strawberry

In Bed 14, I planted strawberry spinach, which isn’t up yet. In the same bed is my asparagus. Spears are still coming in fat and ready to be harvested. A few are starting to come up thinner than a pencil, so I’ve let them go to fern.

Mary Washington asparagus

Mary Washington asparagus

Now that spring has sprung here in the South, there will be a lot going on in my Sanctuary Garden; so come back soon for more updates, pictures, and articles!

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