Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 8/18/14

It’s been brutal in the garden this week, and there’s no relief in sight. The forecast for the next ten days calls for highs in the mid 90s to low 100s. It’s almost Labor Day, and I’m working hard not to get heat exhaustion while trying to get gardening chores done. And there are a lot of chores to be done. It’s transition time here – the summer garden remains and the fall crops need to be prepared for – and it’s blazing hot!! In fact, it’s so hot still that I’m going to have to start some of my fall crops indoors under grow lights for the first time, so they’ll germinate. How’s that for a switch? Well, in spite of the heat, I still have some pictures to share.

WHAT’S NEW:

I actually found two more flowers on one of my elderberry trees (the one that had the original flower – still no flowers on the other one). Here’s one of them. It’s smaller than the other flower, but these are new trees.

Elderberry flower

Elderberry flower

Speaking of that original flower, it’s now fruiting! However, something is already eating the fruits. I thought I had more time to get some bird netting, but something is eating the little green fruits before they can even grow. 😦

Elderberries fruiting

Elderberries fruiting

IN THE GARDEN:

A month ago, I wrote about the Attack of the Aphids all over my grape vines and one of my apple trees. I’m happy to say, there’s been some improvement. A couple of gully-washer rains didn’t hurt either. Here’s my apple tree with a significant reduction in the infestation. (Click here for the picture of this tree last month.)

Pink Lady apple tree

Pink Lady apple tree

The heat has been slamming my pepper plants. They are struggling to survive, and trying hard to give me some fruit. My beautiful Filius Blue pepper plants – among other chili peppers – are losing their leaves and not flowering. I’m hoping to be able to give all my plants some organic fertilizer and epsom salt foliar spray this week; maybe the extra food will help them be stronger to fight the heat and survive long enough to give me their peak production (which comes in the fall around here).

Filius Blue pepper plant

Filius Blue pepper plant

My key lime trees are struggling, too. I have a few key limes growing (see top and bottom of picture), but that’s it. This is supposed to be my big harvest in November. Not this year, I guess.

Key limes growing

Key limes growing

I harvested some seed for next year. My lima beans are from seed I gathered last year, so this is my second year harvesting my own seed. However, this is the first time I’ve grown magenta orach; it bolted and I decided to let it go to seed for harvesting for next year.

Magenta orach seeds & Henderson lima bean seeds

Magenta orach seeds & Henderson lima bean seeds

While picking lima beans the other day, I saw this toad hanging out in the hole of my brick border.

Toad hiding in my brick border

Toad hiding in my brick border

My raspberries are full of flowers – and bumblebees!

Bumblebee on raspberries

Bumblebee on raspberries

Last week, I shared with you photos of my new batch of Black Swallowtail caterpillars. I have only three left, and they’ve moved to my new dill plants – or, what’s left of them. Little piggies. Look how they’ve grown since last week!

Black swallowtail caterpillars on dill

Black swallowtail caterpillars on dill

Black swallowtail caterpillar eating dill

Black swallowtail caterpillar eating dill

IN THE KITCHEN:

I harvested over 200 lemon drop peppers in one day, so I had to dehydrate them. Half the fifth tray held cayenne peppers, but all the rest were lemon drop. It took me two hours to prep all those peppers!

Lemon drop peppers in the dehydrator

Lemon drop peppers in the dehydrator

I’ve had my Glass Gem corn ears drying for the past three weeks or so. A few of the ears were dry enough to remove the kernels. Here’s a quart jar of Glass Gem popcorn from about a third of my harvest.

Glass Gem popcorn

Glass Gem popcorn

I harvested my first Early Moonbeam watermelon. Look at the beautiful yellow color. It was so good!

Early Moonbeam watermelon sliced

Early Moonbeam watermelon sliced

Saturday, I went to an auction with my beau, and we got this vintage Ball jar. Based on the logo, it was made between 1923 and 1933, so it’s 80-90 years old! All I have to do is get a new rubber ring for it, and I can store my popcorn in this. Isn’t it pretty?

Vintage Ball jar

Vintage Ball jar

Despite the heat, I did harvest a bit of produce this past week. Click here to see pictures of this past week’s garden bounty.

What’s happening in your garden and in your kitchen?

Signature

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s