Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/17/13

This past week has been extremely hot here in the Charleston area! For example, on Thursday, the temperature reached 99 degrees with a heat index of 107. And I had to harvest cucumbers, peppers, and beans in that heat. I literally had sweat stinging my eyes as I rushed to finish and get back into the blessed air conditioning. Thankfully, a cold front came through that night (minus any rain, unfortunately), decreasing the humidity and cutting the temperature by 15 degrees.

It was perfect timing because Friday was my son’s birthday cookout. I set up the tables beside my fire pit, near my berries and artichokes, then spread the table with some of my garden produce – bean salad, quick pickles, lettuce and onions for the burgers. It was very nice to share my garden as part of the celebration. But the best part was overhearing my son’s response to a friend’s comment about me, the garden, and the food; he said,”Yeah, I know. She’s amazing!” Aw…! Okay, before I tear up again, come see what else is happening

FRUITING:

My tomatoes are ripening! The main picture above is just one cluster of my roma tomatoes, which I took before I harvested a half dozen roma tomatoes. I also harvested a couple Riesentraube tomatoes (cherry size) and a few blue tomatoes. My blue tomatoes are red with a blue blush at the top, instead of being all blue. I read that the sunlight will turn them more red. It doesn’t matter. They’re tomatoes!

Blue tomatoes ripening

Blue tomatoes ripening

Riesentraube tomatoes ripening

Riesentraube tomatoes ripening

The other day I found my first lemon drop pepper.

Lemon Drop pepper

Lemon Drop pepper

My fig tree is amazing! Every day I see more figs growing. Today, I counted seven dozen figs!

Celeste figs growing

Celeste figs growing

FLOWERING:

My rocoto peppers are flowering. Unlike all my other peppers, which have white flowers, these have lovely purple flowers.

Rocoto pepper flowers

Rocoto pepper flowers

I started six Listada de Gandia eggplant from seed in January; two germinated. Then, one died during transplanting. My only one didn’t grow for a long time. It just “survived.” However, now it’s growing AND has its first bud. A great sign!

Listada de Gandia eggplant bud

Listada de Gandia eggplant bud

Last year, I transplanted several liatris that my beau gave me. They didn’t do well, so I shrugged it off and forgot about them. This spring, three of them grew back; and now they’re blooming.

Liatris blooming

Liatris blooming

GROWING:

My moonflowers are growing, with several starting to climb the fence.

Moonflower climbing the fence

Moonflower climbing the fence

SAD NEWS:

For some reason, two of my three Amish pie pumpkin plants have died. The third looks like it’s dying, too. I took this picture yesterday, then watered the pumpkin this morning. The third plant is now looking like it might bounce back. Hopefully, it doesn’t have whatever killed the other two.

Amish Pie pumpkin dying

Amish Pie pumpkin dying

There’s a new enemy in my garden now – Japanese beetles! I first found two of them on my raspberries. They must’ve been scouts that I didn’t catch in time because the next day I found a half dozen of them on my cucumbers.

Japanese beetles on cucumber leaf

Japanese beetles on cucumber leaf

Thankfully, I had just bought Garden Safe brand of insecticidal soap. That stuff is awesome! One squirt on each beetle (and stink bug and leaf-footed bug), and the bugs die in less than a minute! I killed those beetles and put a couple in a bucket of soapy water, which I left by the berries to send a message loud and clear that my garden is NOT a good place for them. I found a couple more beetles in the raspberries today, but they have joined their comrades in the bucket. Hopefully, I have caught them in time to not have an infestation!

Well, these are the highlights of what happened in my garden this week. What’s happening in yours?

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