Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 8/25/14

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any hotter here, it did. This past Friday’s high was 101 degrees – actual temperature! The heat index was 110. Needless to say, I was out of the garden that day by 10:30 a.m. when it was almost 90 degrees. My poor garden is under severe stress from the heat, and I’ve been moaning about the harvests that aren’t as big as they should be (if any at all). However, when a local fellow gardener told me his garden was fried and kaput, I started to feel grateful that my crops were at least hanging on – even if by a thread. I guess, considering the heat, my garden isn’t doing that badly.

WHAT’S NEW:

A week ago, I planted another crop of Beurre de Rocquencourt wax beans and Black Valentine green beans. Almost all of them have germinated now.

Snap beans ~ 8 days post planting

Snap bean seedlings ~ 8 days post planting

I have pods on my butterpeas!

Dixie speckled butterpea pods

Dixie speckled butterpea pods

Last week, I picked my first few raspberries. Now, they’re ripening daily by the dozens. 🙂

Caroline raspberries ripening

Caroline raspberries ripening

IN THE GARDEN:

Well, all my black swallowtail caterpillars are gone, cocooned somewhere secret to turn into butterflies. What’s not secret is that they left me one lonely dill plant. Kids – they eat you out of house and home.

Fernleaf dill

Fernleaf dill

The “sickly” basil I transplanted into my front yard is doing well; here’s a couple of plants on one side of the walkway. Something is liking this heat.

Basil

Basil

While weeding around my squash bed this past weekend, I discovered that not all of my strawberry watermelon and cantaloupe vines were dead. One cantaloupe is struggling to survive and one strawberry watermelon vine is crawling up my fence.

Strawberry watermelon vine crawling up my fence

Strawberry watermelon vine crawling up my fence

Cantaloupe vine trying to survive the heat

Cantaloupe vine trying to survive the heat

My Seminole pumpkins are doing great! When I discovered this variety and learned that they grew wild in the Everglades, I figured they’d do well here in the Charleston, SC area; and I was right. The vine is so long, it not only wraps around several raised beds, it’s also growing up and through the fence. I found this pumpkin growing on the neighbor’s side of the fence when I weeded there.

Seminole pumpkin ripening

Seminole pumpkin ripening

These pumpkins are almost ready to harvest. It looks like a mini pumpkin patch, doesn’t it?

Seminole pumpkins almost ripe

Seminole pumpkins almost ripe

My black futsu squash and pumpkins are flowering. I almost hand-pollinated them but realized quickly that the vines are intertwined and I might cross-pollinate them by accident. I decided to let nature take its course. I’m just happy I have flowers!

Squash & pumpkin flowers

Squash & pumpkin flowers

IN THE KITCHEN:

We’ve been eating most of the produce I’ve harvested the past week. However, I did make a batch of hot pepper relish.

Hot pepper relish

Hot pepper relish

I also thought I’d share with you the winter squash and pumpkins on my dining room table. (They’re waiting for their own storage place in the new pantry my beau is making me.)

Winter squash

Winter squash

Although my harvests aren’t as big as they will be when the weather cools down, I still harvested a few baskets of goodies. Click here to see pictures of this past week’s garden bounty.

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

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