Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 5/26/14

The weather here got hot and humid again this week, but a cold front came through on Friday (though without any rain, unfortunately). The humidity dropped for a couple days this past weekend, so I was able to spend two full days in the garden without feeling like passing out. And while spending such a long period of time in the garden, I saw that the heat and insufficient rain have brought the insects early. In two days, I saw squash vine borer moths on the squash, spotted cucumber beetles on my eggplant and corn, bean leaf rollers on my snap beans, army worms on my tomatoes, spider mites on my eggplant and lettuce, and aphids here and there. And the summer hasn’t even begun! It’s going to be a season of war with insects, it seems. Well, I”m ready for battle! Despite the uninvited guests, my plants are growing and fruiting; and we’ve made an addition to the homestead.

HARVESTS:

My purslane started to flower this weekend, so I clipped the tops before it could go to seed. Some went in salad last night, and the rest will be sauteed in garlic and olive oil today.

Purslane harvest ~ May 25

Purslane harvest ~ May 25

My first lettuce and major magenta orach harvest!

Magenta orach & lettuce harvest ~ May 25

Magenta orach & lettuce harvest ~ May 25

I harvested radishes and potatoes twice during the week. (I love being able to “grocery shop” in my garden for supper!)

Plum radish harvest ~ May 19

Plum radish harvest ~ May 19

Plum & watermelon radish harvest ~ May 25

Plum & watermelon radish harvest ~ May 25

Red potato & Fingerling potato harvest ~ May 20

Red potato & Fingerling potato harvest ~ May 20

Fingerling potato harvest ~ May 25

Fingerling potato harvest ~ May 25

Most of my potatoes so far have been pretty small. (Two frosts killing back the vines? Seed potato pieces too small when I planted? Don’t know.) However, this red potato was a good size!

My largest red potato thus far

My largest red potato thus far

And check out this fingerling potato. I think it grew wrapped around a root.

Funny Fingerling potato

Funny Fingerling potato

FLOWERING:

My snap beans are all flowering now.

Wax bean flower

Wax bean flower

My Peruvian peppers are starting to flower.

Rocoto pepper flower

Rocoto pepper flower

The feral potato plant in my compost bin flowered this week.

Potato flower

Potato flower

My cucumbers are flowering!

Beit Alpha cucumber flower

Beit Alpha cucumber female flower

The male flowers on my pickling cucumbers are so much bigger than those of the varieties I used to grow.

Boston Pickling cucumber male flower

Boston Pickling cucumber male flower

IN THE GARDEN:

My Ruby Chard is growing well. I’m looking forward to being able to start picking some of these leaves.

Ruby chard

Ruby chard

I pulled one of my garlic bulbs to test for harvestability. (Is that a word??) It’s still too soon to harvest for storing, but at least I can use this one fresh.

Garlic ~ test harvest

Garlic ~ test harvest

I’ve got a lot of plants fruiting for the first time. Check it out at Fruits of My Labor.

HOMESTEAD HAPPENINGS:

My Garden Wilson helped me out this weekend with my tomato beds. Some of the plants are almost to the top of the stakes, so he lashed stakes across the top of the upright stakes to strengthen them and to give the tomatoes more space to grow on. It’s not very pretty, but it’s definitely functional!

Tomato beds with stakes

Tomato beds with stakes

I’ve got a new addition on the homestead – a top bar beehive! My Garden Wilson has been studying about bee hives for months and asked me if I would let him put a hive in my back yard. Of course, I’d love to have more bees in my garden; I just don’t want to be the one handling them! I told him he could put his hive up as long as he was the one to take care of it. So, he excitedly built this beehive (from his own plans) and set it up yesterday. Now, we wait for the bees to find it.

My new top bar beehive

My new top bar beehive

What’s happening on your homestead?

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