Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 8/19/13

I have to admit, this has been a crazy gardening year. What I thought would do well, hasn’t; and what I thought wouldn’t make it, has. We’ve had so much rain this year, an actual spring that lasted well through May, then immediate scorching heat and humidity with three weeks of 90 degree plus temperatures without a break. I’m not sure my garden knows what to do! And sometimes, neither do I. But, all gardeners and farmers know, you can’t do much about the weather. However, I keep plugging away, nurturing the few spring crops still growing and planting the new fall crops.

HARVESTS:

Because of the heat, my tomatoes are just now throwing out new flowers and fruit, and my peppers have slowed down production considerably. This was my entire week’s harvest:

Harvest ~ August 16

Harvest ~ August 16

I finally have a red watermelon ripe. (The first one I harvested a few weeks ago wasn’t ripe when I cut into it. Oops.) This is an Israeli variety of round watermelon (the size of a honeydew melon) that loves the heat. I’ll be cutting into this baby as soon as its been chilled in the fridge.

Malali watermelon

Malali watermelon

GARDEN HAPPENINGS:

Although the heat has slowed things down (and I’m still fighting the bugs, though I think I’m winning several battles there), I’m still pleased at the new (and continued) growth on my spring/summer plants.

My transplanted lemon drop peppers are looking even healthier now. The new leaves are coming in nice and green and new peppers are growing. Transplant successful!

Lemon drop pepper leaves

Lemon drop pepper leaves

By the way, I cooked with these peppers (above) for the first time this past weekend, making lemon pepper chicken. It came out great! I’ll share the recipe soon; it needs a little tweaking first.

After two months of nothing, I finally have a baby white watermelon growing. The first fruit died back in June, when I accidentally stepped on the vine it was on. Then…nothing for two months. Now, I have a baby!

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon

Both my eggplant plants have struggled all season, trying to grow and produce fruit. It seems I finally have a few fruit growing on my Black Beauty eggplant. (The Listada de Gandia eggplant is flowering.)

Black Beauty eggplant

Black Beauty eggplant

My key lime tree struggled a bit after I returned from vacation, due to not having daily waterings. But I think it’s bouncing back, and the fruit is still growing. I might get a dozen key limes in this very first harvest!

Key limes

Key limes

Despite fighting Septoria Leaf Spot, my tomatoes gave me a great first harvest and are now starting to flower and produce more fruit again. Here are a couple pictures.

Cherokee purple tomatoes

Cherokee purple tomatoes

Black Krim tomatoes

Black Krim tomatoes

FALL PLANTING:

This week, I planted several more crops. In my cucumber bed – in front of the cukes and on the ends of the bed, I planted Batavian Full Heart escarole, arugula, Red Sails lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, and red romaine. In the bed with the lima beans, I planted Beurre de Rocquencourt wax beans and Black Valentine green beans. In a separate bed, I planted Long Island Improved brussel sprouts, and Scotch Curled kale.

The seeds from my first round of planting have already sprouted – some in as few as three days!

Henderson lima bean seedlings

Henderson lima bean seedlings

Winter squash seedlings

Winter squash seedlings

Cucumber seedlings

Cucumber seedlings

Snow pea seedlings

Snow pea seedlings

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Does anyone know what in the world would eat hot peppers?? Check this out:

Chewed pepperoncini

Chewed pepperoncini

For the last few weeks, SOMETHING has been eating my pepperoncini and my fish peppers, which are quite hot. The chewed fruit is far off the ground, so it has to be some sort of insect, but I can’t imagine what would eat them! Anyone have any ideas?? If so, I’d love your comments. 🙂

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