Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/28/14

It seems the slight reprieve from the oppressive heat is over. We’re back into the 90s with high humidity. My stints in the garden are staggered between long water breaks in the air conditioning. I have quite a bit to do in the garden, but I’m having trouble getting it all done on schedule due to the heat. Welcome to gardening in South Carolina. Happily, however, we did get over an inch and a half of rain this week. I think the dry spell is over, and my garden is happy about that.

WHAT’S NEW:

This past weekend, I was weeding around my elderberry trees and noticed that one of them has its first flower. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any flowers the first year. Maybe there’ll be a few more blooms and even a few fruit this year.

Elderberry flower

Elderberry flower

Remember back in the spring when my Garden Wilson created a garden bed along either side of my front walkway? I planted lots of herb seeds, but nothing grew – probably because a big rain storm washed the seed away. All I had was some fernleaf dill plants next to my petunias. This past weekend, I decided to get rid of the emptiness along my walkway. I transplanted some more fernleaf dill, some basil, and some spicy oregano that I bought at Lowes. I also transplanted my new sage and my two-year-old Greek oregano from pots I had around my patio. The oregano was so root bound, its roots reached through the drainage hole in the pot and into the soil by over six inches! I split the sage and oregano before planting, too. This is going to be pretty when it grows and fills in.

Herbs along my front walkway

Herbs along my front walkway

IN THE GARDEN:

My lemon drop pepper plants are so loaded with peppers that some of the limbs are dragging on the ground!

Lemon drop pepper plants loaded with fruit

Lemon drop pepper plants loaded with fruit

My raspberry canes are starting to burst with buds.

Raspberry flowers

Raspberry flowers

I have one nasturtium that is determined to outgrow the lima beans.

Nasturtium among lima beans

Nasturtium among lima beans

We had a big thunderstorm on Friday, and one of the cross beams in the trellis system of my slicing tomato bed got loose. All the plants leaned towards my paste tomato bed. We quickly fixed it and added a cross beam to the front to stabilize it. The tomatoes are so cumbersome and heavy now, but they’re still fruiting.

Tomato trellis after thunderstorm

Tomato trellis after thunderstorm

I was checking my Glass Gem corn and found a stalk with three large ears.

Glass Gem corn stalk with  3 ears

Glass Gem corn stalk with 3 ears

I pulled all my snap bean plants this week. The good surprise was that I found almost 6 pounds of beans – after I thought the plants were done fruiting. The bad surprise was that several bean plants – the ones in the corners of the raised bed – had large nematode galls on them! I’m going to plant marigolds in the bed until frost.

Nematode galls on bean plant roots

Nematode galls on bean plant roots

I knew something was chewing on my lima bean leaves. Saturday morning, I found out what. Look at these three grasshoppers! ARGH!

Grasshoppers on lima beans

Grasshoppers on lima beans

IN THE KITCHEN:

The farmer’s kitchen is now in full operation!

I made this season’s first batch of hot pepper jam.

Hot pepper jam

Hot pepper jam

I also made this season’s second batch of hot pepper relish. For the first time, I added filius blue peppers and cayenne peppers to the mix. I usually make it 70% hot peppers to 30% sweet peppers. I think I should tone down the next batch to 60/40 if I use the filius blue peppers; this batch was HOT! I like it, but I’m not sure everyone on my gift list will like it that hot!

Hot pepper relish

Hot pepper relish

Even after all that, I still had chili peppers left over so I dehydrated them. Under the top layer of filius blue, lemon drop, and fish peppers are layers of cayenne peppers and more fish peppers.

Filius blue, lemon drop, and fish peppers in the dehydrator

Filius blue, lemon drop, and fish peppers in the dehydrator

I had several harvests this past week; click here to see pictures of my garden bounty.

How is your garden growing?

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