Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/22/13

This past week has been a hot and humid one here! So hot, I passed on my daily visit to the garden and harvested only twice this week. (Me? Not in the garden every day? Yeah – that’s HOT!) Early yesterday morning, I fertilized my tomatoes and fruit trees; I still have to fertilize the rest of the garden and apply epsom salt foliar spray some time this week. I did some other garden tasks, but there’s still a lot more to be done. My fall seeds are arriving, and I’m working on getting the garden ready for the next planting.  

HARVESTS:

As you can see in the picture above, my hot peppers are ripening in large amounts at once. I’ve got jalapenos, fish peppers, and pepperoncini. I’ll dry the pepperoncini and fish peppers, and I think I’ll try my hand at a batch of pepper jelly.

Because of the heat, I harvested only twice this week (instead of daily). My carrots are a little small still, probably due to the heat (as they are a cooler weather crop). I’ll leave them in the ground a little while longer. I found a couple of butternut squash that didn’t grow much before the vine died. I’m going to cut them open soon to see if they’re even edible. The tomatoes are winding down – at least, this batch. Good news: I’m seeing flowers and new fruit on the tops of my “tomato topiaries.” So, I may have another round of tomatoes yet! The spring crop of raspberries is pretty much done. I’ll be pruning the old growth this week to make room for more new growth and an even bigger crop of raspberries in the fall.

Harvest on July 16

Harvest on July 16

Harvest July 21

Harvest July 21

While fertilizing my fig tree, I found my first ripe fig! Unfortunately, it was over ripe and the ants had invaded it, and I had to put it into the compost pile. I was so disappointed because I have never tasted a fresh fig. Guess I have to wait a little longer – and be sure I start checking the tree daily from now on! 

Over ripe Celeste fig

Over ripe Celeste fig

Because of insects invading my melons, I lost both tigger melons, a cantaloupe, and now two lemon drop melons. I need a new strategy. The mulch helps, but not enough, obviously. Maybe a piece of wax paper with diatomaceous earth on it, slipped under the melons? I need to come up with something. I want to eat my melons!

Lemon drop melon invaded by insects

Lemon drop melon invaded by insects

FLOWERING:

I let my icicle radishes go to seed and the pods are not ready to harvest yet. (I’ll post pictures when I’m ready to pick them.)

The lettuce I let bolt is flowering. I’ve never seen lettuce flowers before. They’re pretty.

Black seeded Simpson lettuce flowers

Black seeded Simpson lettuce flowers

My lima beans are still flowering, so I’m going to let them go a while longer to see if I can get some more butter beans. I’ll have to pull them middle of next month, though, to sow my fall seed.

Henderson lima beans still flowering

Henderson lima beans still flowering

GARDEN PREP FOR FALL PLANTING:

My eggplant is not doing well. Very little growth and little flowering. I’ve harvested only one eggplant so far! That’s definitely a problem. I’m beginning to think that leaving the kale in the ground (from the January planting) was a mistake because the kale roots probably prevented the eggplant roots from growing properly. So, I pulled all the kale, leaving the two eggplant and the one celery. I then applied grass clippings as a mulch. (I tried this on one of my tomato beds, and I really like it. It holds the moisture in well, keeps the weeds down, and can later be turned under into the soil for nutritients.) This bed will be ready for the fall planting next month, and hopefully, my eggplants will start growing and producing.

Eggplant and celery with grass clipping mulch

Eggplant and celery with grass clipping mulch

I pulled all the weeds from the beds that held my onion and garlic earlier in the season, keeping my chard, then put grass clippings on those beds.

Chard with grass clippings

Chard with grass clippings

My snap beans are done. I’ll be pulling these this week and applying grass clippings next cutting. (With all the rain we’ve been getting, there’s grass aplenty!) Part of my late summer/fall planting will be more snap beans.

Spent snap beans

Spent snap beans

My cucumbers are about done, as well. (Typical for this time of year in Charleston.) I’ll be pulling these this week, too. But more will be planted next month.

Spent cucumbers

Spent cucumbers

What are you doing in your garden to prepare for the fall planting season?

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