Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 8/26/13

It’s almost autumn, but the temperatures are still in the 90s here in the Charleston, SC area. I’ve had to postpone some of my fall planting due to the high temperatures, but I’m hoping to plant beets and carrots on Labor Day weekend. What I’ve sown for the fall planting so far is in various stages of growth – from germinating under the ground to new seedlings to first and second sets of true leaves. I love the new life in my garden! The picture above is a Henderson Lima bean sprout poking through the soil (and grass clipping mulch) yesterday. Unfortunately, along with having new seedlings, I’m losing some established plants. It’s sad, but it’s gardening, where life and death are part of the cycle.

THE SAD:

Last week, I showed a picture of my Black Beauty eggplant flowering and growing a couple of fruits. A couple days later, the entire plant started to wilt. And now it’s dead.

R.I.P. Black Beauty eggplant

R.I.P. Black Beauty eggplant

I’ve lost about half the artichokes I planted this spring, and what’s left isn’t looking too healthy. I think all the rain we had did them in. I’ve decided to pull them all and plant something else there. (Maybe asparagus in January.)

Artichoke plants

Artichoke plants

My raspberry canes are looking very bad lately. I seriously doubt I’m going to get my fall harvest. After researching raspberry diseases, I don’t think that’s what is ailing them. My gut is telling me that it’s all the rain we’ve had. Before I pruned my canes, they were so thick, not much rain got to the roots. (My beau unknowlingly dropped his cell phone into the raspberry patch one night, and found it AFTER we got an inch of rain. The phone was just a little damp and worked fine!) Well, now that the canes are thinned out, all the rain is reaching the roots and leaves. I hope that’s all it is – or I’ll have to pull them all and start again.

Raspberry canes

Raspberry canes

THIS WEEK’S HARVESTS:

The peppers are still producing – more slowly and with smaller peppers, but they’ll be picking up again as soon as the weather cools some.

Harvest ~ August 21

Harvest ~ August 21

Harvest ~ August 24

Harvest ~ August 24

GARDEN HUMOR:

During my first round of fall planting, I planted three pots of cilantro – or so I thought. I even posted a picture of the seedlings last week. Well, after they got a few of their secondary leaves, the joke was on me. They’re not cilantro, but snow peas! (By the way, I corrected the caption on that photo from last week.) I must’ve grabbed the wrong baggie of seeds when I planted! Now what was I to do with vining plants in planters around my patio? Then I thought about the bamboo stakes I had, and I made mini teepees for the peas. Problem solved!

Snow pea teepees

Snow pea teepees

After I first planted my squash and cucumbers a couple weeks ago (in new raised beds filled with my own compost), I woke one morning to DOZENS and DOZENS of weeds in the beds! It was unbelievable. I spent several days in a row, pulling these weeds while they still had only two initial leaves. I must’ve pulled a couple hundred of them without having any idea what they were. Well, one day it rained all day and I couldn’t get outside to pull any more. (Fortunately, there weren’t that many left.) That extra time allowed a few plants to get their secondary leaves. I couldn’t believe what I thought they might be, so I waited a few more days to be sure. I was right – they were tomatoes! Yes, hundreds of tomatoes! How did that happen?? Then I remembered using my tomato mill to remove skins and seeds from the tomatoes I canned – all of which went into the compost pile. Crazy, huh? Here are a few of my tomato “weeds”:

Surprise tomato seedlings

Surprise tomato seedlings

ESTABLISHED PLANTS:

My Peruvian rocoto pepper plants have dozens of green peppers, but one is finally starting to turn red. The others are soon to follow!

Rocoto pepper turning red

Rocoto pepper turning red

I now have THREE white watermelons growing:

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelons

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelons

My asparagus is still sporting its lovely fern.

Asparagus fern

Asparagus fern

And, the asparagus is producing small red seeds.

Asparagus seeds

Asparagus seeds

NEW PLANTS:

My lettuce, escarole, and kale are JUST starting to come up; I have a handful of seedlings. I don’t see any brussel sprouts yet, but I’m hoping to see a few poke through the soil this week. A few days ago, I replanted cucumbers, lima beans, and winter squash where the seeds hadn’t germinated; and a few of those are coming up already. The original seedlings are now growing their first (and second) set of true leaves already.

Winter squash bed

Winter squash bed

Black Valentine green bean seedlings

Black Valentine green bean seedlings

Snow pea seedling

Snow pea seedling

Russian pickling cucumber seedling

Russian pickling cucumber seedling

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

This week, I noticed a bunch of web-covered sacs in my sweet gum tree. Here’s a closeup picture of one group of sacs. Anyone know what it is??

Sacs in my gum tree

Sacs in my gum tree

I hope it’s nothing harmful to my garden!

~~~~~

What’s happening in your garden this week?

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