Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 4/14/14

Here it is, the middle of April, and I’m just beginning my spring planting. I am no where near where I should be by this time of year! The weather is much to blame there, but my schedule isn’t helping. Well, at least I harvested all my winter-planted crops this weekend and got those prepped and put up. I also did a few things in the garden, getting ready for planting in the next few days.

SPRING PLANTING:

My seedlings have now spent several nights outside, and all is well. The hardening off process is a success. Here’s a picture of them in the sun. The large tomatoes in the back are heirlooms I purchased; they grew so large, I had to stake them in the pots so they wouldn’t break on the windy day we had a few days ago.

Seedlings in the sun - hardening off successful

Seedlings in the sun – time to transplant

I transplanted my eggplant Friday and sowed Giant Noble spinach seeds around them. By the time the spinach germinates, the eggplant will be taller and will offer shade from the heat so I can grow the spinach into the early summer. It’s an experiment. I had success last year growing lettuce around my pepper plants, so I thought I’d try spinach under my eggplants.

Black Beauty eggplants in back; Listada de Gandia eggplants in front

Black Beauty eggplants in back; Listada de Gandia eggplants in front

I received my elderberry trees this week! I planted them this weekend after soaking them for 24 hours.

Bare root elderberry trees soaking before planting

Bare root elderberry trees soaking before planting

They don’t look like much now, but the roots were already starting to put forth new growth when I planted them.

Newly planted elderberry tree

Newly planted elderberry tree

FLOWERING:

Last week, I bought three pots of dahlias off the dollar rack at Lowes. They were in sorry shape, but I thought I could bring them back then plant them in the yard. They’re doing great now and ready to transplant – if I could just make up my mind on where to plant them!

Dahlia

Dahlia

I was caught totally by surprise earlier in the week when I noticed that one of my small Filius Blue pepper seedlings was flowering already!

Filius blue pepper flowering

Filius blue pepper flowering

I got another surprise when I noticed my watercress was flowering. This is the same watercress that I thought had been killed by one of the ice storms we had. It is growing like crazy, and now it has flowers.

Watercress flowering

Watercress flowering

A couple days later, I took a closeup of one of the flowers. They’re actually quite pretty.

Watercress flower

Watercress flower

IN THE GARDEN:

Remember the bird house I made at the Carolina Yard Gardening School? We put it up this weekend. My “Garden Wilson” is going to make a perch for it this week. I’m hoping we get a family of bluebirds willing to call it home.

Bluebird house

Bluebird house

Before I harvested my spinach, I took a picture of this Giant Noble beauty. It’s huge! This is the largest I’ve ever seen my spinach. I think adding that Azomite rock dust is really helping.

Giant Noble spinach

Giant Noble spinach

While pulling my chioggia beets, I found three “albino” specimens – all white. I’m going to cook them up, too, and see if they taste the same.

White chioggia beets

White chioggia beets

My grapes have made a great comeback after our final frost killed the leaves they had put out.

Reliance grape vine

Reliance grape vine

Marquis grape vine

Marquis grape vine

Concord grape vine

Concord grape vine

My asparagus isn’t producing like it should. This is my third year with the Mary Washington asparagus, and it should be my first year of a full harvest. However, it’s producing less than it did last year – at least, thus far. And the purple passion asparagus I planted in the fall hasn’t even come up – at all. Maybe the cold winter affected the roots? I am getting some large spears to harvest, but others are coming up pencil thin. Those I let go to fern. I do have a few large spears that went to fern – because I didn’t harvest them in time. They grew that tall in two days! You can see the spears turning to fern behind the “fencing” we put up to hold the ferns in.

Mary Washington asparagus going to fern

Mary Washington asparagus going to fern

My onions are growing well. They should be ready to harvest in a couple of months.

Onions growing

Onions growing

My garlic is doing well. I should be able to harvest it in June.

Garlic growing

Garlic growing

The stalks are thickening, so I’m betting the garlic is starting to bulb up under the soil!

Garlic stalks thickening

Garlic stalks thickening

There’ll be a lot going on in the garden in the next few days because spring planting MUST be completed this week!

What’s going on in your garden?

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2 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 4/14/14

  1. My asparagus is also shooting up thin stalks along with some large ones, too. I’ve harvested the baby bok and they were wonderful sauteed. The Chinese cabbage is next to harvest. Bunching onions have grown and been used all winter. Snow peas are blossoming and I’ve gotten a few tasty morsels. Potatoes coming up in the barrels. And sweet potato slips getting ready in the kitchen window. Strawberries blooming and making, but not ripe yet! Tomatoes and sweet peppers are hardening off in the coldframe. I enjoy seeing what’s coming up with you in Charleston area. I’m in zone 8, Mississippi. Good talking gardening with you!

    • That’s awesome! I planted potatoes in buckets last year, and they did well – just small. This year, I have a large bed filled with them. I’m going to re-use those buckets this year to grow peanuts for the first time.

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