Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/30/14

It’s been another week in the 90s here in my Sanctuary Garden, but we did get rain twice this week. It was heaven sent, for sure! This weekend, it was overcast in the mornings and I was actually able to spray my garden with aspirin water and baking soda water, and do some fertilizing. I also planted a bed of Dixie Speckled Butterpeas. I read they love the heat, so I figured I’d try them. All in all, my garden is doing well, considering the heat and insufficient rains.

WHAT’S NEW

I have peanuts growing, though the germination rate was about 20%. I did plant a month late, and it has been hot. However, I have about 14 or 15 plants, and a couple of them have their first flowers.

Peanut flower

Peanut flower

My greens are bolting in this heat – even the orach.

Magenta orach bolting

Magenta orach bolting

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce bolting

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce bolting

Red Romaine lettuce bolting

Red Romaine lettuce bolting

Many of my herbs are now bolting or flowering.

This oregano is now in its second year, and this is the first flower.

Oregano flower

Oregano flower

My curly parsley is also two years old, and it’s in full flower. Doesn’t it look like a dill head? It’s in the same family.

Curly Parsley bolting

Curly Parsley bolting

Speaking of dill, my fernleaf dill is in flower. Look at the size of this dill head!

Fernleaf dill head

Fernleaf dill head

And, of course, the basil is flowering. I keep picking them off, but the heat keeps them coming.

Basil flowers

Basil flowers

IN THE GARDEN:

Weeks in the 90s with rain every 10-14 days has finally taken its toll on my garden. I’m fighting it, but I’ve lost a few plants. I had to pull most of my mini yellow stuffing peppers and one of my green bell peppers because they had some disease – stunted plants with black spots on all the fruits. Into the trash they went.

My pear and Amish paste tomatoes are fighting Septoria Leaf Spot. In the other tomato bed, my Cherokee Purple tomatoes are fighting something, too. I’m pruning and giving them aspirin foliar spray, hoping it helps.

Septoria Leaf Spot on pear tomatoes

Septoria Leaf Spot on pear tomatoes

I’m fighting downy mildew on my cucumbers and squash, as well. I started spraying them with baking soda water (1 Tablespoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon neem oil + 1 teaspoon horticultural soap in a gallon of non-chlorinated water). I sprayed that on my tomatoes, too. That’s supposed to lower the pH of the leaves so the fungi don’t survive.

Downy mildew on Beit Alpha cucumbers

Downy mildew on Beit Alpha cucumbers

Downy mildew on Boston pickling cucumbers

Downy mildew on Boston pickling cucumbers

On a happier note, all my Black Futsu Squash made it through the squash vine borer attack. Not a single plant was infested! THIS is the squash for me! The one on the left of the picture is struggling with downy mildew; the one on the right has no signs of mildew. Both are growing furiously. The plant growing “up” the left side along/behind/past the pepper bed is my Seminole pumpkin. It survived the squash vine borer attack, too, and loves the heat. I have one butternut squash that is struggling to survive (front left of the picture, mixed in with the Black Futsu leaves.)

Black Futsu squash & Seminole pumpkin vines

Black Futsu squash & Seminole pumpkin vines

The thyme and summer savory I planted from seed is growing.

Thyme

Thyme

Summer savory

Summer savory

A friend of mine gave me a comfrey plant from her garden. I almost lost it a few times, but it’s finally “taken” to the transplant.

Comfrey

Comfrey

While in my garden this weekend, I saw this huge insect that I thought was a hornet or wasp. I had never seen it before and it kept flying to and from my chili pepper bed. I admit, I was totally freaked out and went inside to research what it was. It seems I was visited by a cicada killer. (Sorry the picture isn’t the best. I got as close as I dared, then cropped the picture.)

Cicada killer

Cicada killer

On a less creepy note, check out this funky tomato. It has a nose!

Funky Mortgage Lifter tomato

Funky Mortgage Lifter tomato

IN THE KITCHEN:

This week, I made hot pepper relish.

Hot Pepper Relish

Hot Pepper Relish

I also made a lovely Saturday night supper with marinated lamb tips, mashed purple potatoes (from my garden), and eggplant fries with this week’s harvest.

Garden supper ~ Eggplant fries, marinated lamb tips, mashed purple potatoes with red wine

Garden supper ~ Eggplant fries, marinated lamb tips, mashed purple potatoes with red wine

The harvests keep coming, too. Click here to see this past week’s garden bounty.

What’s happening in your garden?

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4 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/30/14

    • Thanks, Liz. The aspirin water is used like an immune system boost for the plant. I did an article on it called “Aspirin in the Garden” if you’d like to read more about it.

      Yes, epsom salt foliar spray is great for all plants. I use it all the time. (I have an article on Epsom Salts in the Garden, too.)

  1. I love that little “nose” on your tomato! Also, thanks for the reminder about neem oil. That seems to be another multi-purpose essential for around the house and garden. (I think there’s a personal/body use for it too, but I can’t recall…)

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