Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 5/19/14

This past week started out in the 90s, but a cold front came through on Thursday. We got 2.7 inches of desperately needed rain! And the weather this weekend was perfect for this Yankee girl – lows in the upper 50s and highs in the mid-70s. Reminded me of late spring days in Rhode Island. Ahhh…. You can bet I spent the bulk of my weekend outside. And my garden was very thankful, too.

HARVESTS:

I picked my first harvest of golden and green purslane this week. What a delicious green!

Purslane harvest

Purslane harvest

My potato plants are starting to die back, but I had a couple of very small purple potato plants that died altogether. I decided to dig up the roots to see what was under there. Because the plants were small, I didn’t expect much – and I was right. Nine small purple potatoes. One of my feral white potato plants growing in the compost bin died, too. I got three new potatoes out of that. So, here’s this week’s potato harvest…such as it is. (The big harvest is still a couple weeks away.)

Purple & white potato harvest

Purple & white new potato harvest

FLOWERING:

All of my tomato, pepper, eggplant, cantaloupe, honeydew, and squash plants are budding and flowering now. Look at this beautiful eggplant flower.

Black Beauty eggplant flower

Black Beauty eggplant flower

After the ice storms we had, I thought my hydrangea were dead. In the spring, one of them finally showed some life, but the other one had no leaves or buds – for a while. Then, shoots starting coming up from the ground. I pruned all the dead wood out of both of them, and they are full of green now. The one that fared the best through the winter now has a few flowers on it.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

FRUITING:

I now have fruit on almost half my tomatoes, several of my peppers, and possibly a few of my squash. (The female flowers have fallen off and the fruit is enlarging. I’ll know soon if pollination was sufficient.)

Here’s a strange looking butternut squash. I wonder if the seed in the packet wasn’t pure or if this is just a genetic mutation. Interesting, huh?

Weird butternut squash

Weird butternut squash

I found my first pepperoncini & cayenne peppers growing this weekend.

Pepperoncini

Pepperoncini

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper

One of my filius blue pepper plants has several peppers now. They grow to be 1/2 to 1 inch long. I think the big one is ready to pick – if I want a wicked hot pepper, that is. This is the only chili pepper I know of that actually gets milder as it ripens. I’m looking forward to tasting it purple (immature) and red (mature).

Filius Blue peppers

Filius Blue peppers

GROWING:

I’ve always had a hard time growing herbs from seed, but I finally have a few that have grown in my new raised bed. The purple basil was difficult to see in the picture because of the brown (dirt) background, so I put it against my fingers.

Purple basil seedling

Purple basil seedling

My borage is the best germinator thus far. Unfortunately, it being my first time growing borage, I pulled up three or four seedlings before I realized what they were. I thought they were feral cucumbers (from using my compost in the raised bed); their cotyledons look very similar to those of cucurbits. But I do have several borage seedlings growing, despite my ignorance.

Borage seedling

Borage seedling

The small lemon balm I purchased has grown quickly and filled the pot I transplanted it into.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm

ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS:

A couple weeks ago, I found a ladybug on my lima beans. This weekend, I found two of them – one on my apple tree, and one on my cucumbers. I told them to bring their friends!

Ladybug on cucumber leaf

Ladybug on cucumber leaf

What’s happening in your garden?

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