Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 9/8/14

I can happily report that it finally rained this past weekend! First rain in over three weeks. We got 1.5 inches, and even that has made a difference in the garden. You’ll see in today’s pictures how heat and drought stressed my plants have been. At least now, the soil is not so dry. We’re supposed to get more rain today, and I hope the weatherman is right. Meanwhile, my garden is holding on in the continuing heat of summer temperatures, and I’m still unable to plant my fall garden. I’ve been putting off planting indoors under grow lights, hoping for cooler weather; but I don’t think I can put it off any longer if I want a fall crop before frost. At least, I still have plants striving to live and give me what they can.

WHAT’S NEW:

Even in the heat, my Seminole pumpkin is creating new fruit for me.

Seminole pumpkin

Seminole pumpkin

Unexpectedly, I found two new Black Swallowtail caterpillars on what’s left of my curly parsley.

Black swallowtail caterpillar on parsley

Black swallowtail caterpillar on parsley

Black Swallowtail caterpillar on parsley

Black Swallowtail caterpillar on parsley

Most of my melon vines are now dead, but one rich sweetness melon vine is trying to make a comeback.

Rich sweetness melon vine

Rich sweetness melon vine

IN THE GARDEN:

Before the rain, I took a few pictures of my most stressed plants, showing the effect of long periods of high heat without rain. The leaves aren’t healthy looking, or they fall off. They need fertilizer, too, but it’s not good to fertilize stressed plants. (The fertilizer would cause them to put forth new growth, taking energy away from the plant in its attempt to survive.)

My filius blue pepper plants look naked, but they’re still trying to give me a few peppers.

Filius blue pepper plant

Filius blue pepper plant stressed from heat

My petunias are on their last leg. But hey…they lasted longer than anyone thought they would.

Petunias stressed in the heat

Petunias dying in the heat

My chili peppers don’t look very strong and healthy. If they can only hang on a little longer – til the cooler weather comes.

Chili peppers stressed in the heat

Chili peppers stressed in the heat

Well, whatever was eating my elderberries snapped the stem, leaving me with this. At least, I only have a couple flowers on my new trees, so I don’t feel I’m losing out on much. However, next year, I will be draping my trees with netting!

Dead elderberry cluster

Dead elderberry cluster

Now for some good news. The few key limes I do have on my one tree are growing.

Key limes

Key limes

My two pumpkin vines have almost taken over their corner of the garden. You can see them covering the bed they were planted in, growing towards the bottom of the picture, growing up towards the chili peppers (towards the top of the picture) on both sides, then up the fence behind the peppers! (They’re mixed in with the morning glory vines I am in the process of pulling out. Too invasive!)

Seminole pumpkin vines

Seminole pumpkin vines

Speaking of morning glories, here are flowers opened up yesterday morning. Enjoy now because I’m sorry I planted them. They self-seed so easily, I have them all over my yard as well as my fence. OY!

Morning glories

Morning glories

After the rain, the critters came out. Take a look at these two Carolina anoles on my fence. One is on the left of the weedy tree (yep, that’s gotta go, too), and the other is crawling towards the top on the right of it.

Carolina anoles

Carolina anoles

While trimming the morning glory vines off of my pumpkin vine, I saw a huge bumblebee fly into the pumpkin flower on the top of the fence. It was difficult getting the camera over the flower, but you can still see the bee inside.

Bumblebee in pumkin flower

Bumblebee in pumpkin flower

While I was over by my eggplants, talking to my neighbor, a small dragonfly alighted on one of the stakes. He sat for the longest time, like he was staring at me. He then flew to a nearby stake and continued looking at me. I figured he was posing for a picture, so I took one. He flew off shortly after I took it. How cool is that?

Dragonfly posing for me

Dragonfly posing for me

IN THE KITCHEN:

I sliced up my first strawberry watermelon. It wasn’t quite ripe, but the vine they were on had died. However, it was still fairly tasty.

Strawberry watermelon sliced

Strawberry watermelon sliced

I finally had enough chili peppers to make two batches of hot pepper jam. One batch was my usual, made with a mixture of chili peppers – pepperoncini, fish peppers, cayenne peppers, jalapenos, lemon drop peppers, rocoto peppers, and filius blue peppers.

Hot pepper jam

Hot pepper jam

Because I had so many lemon drop peppers – a Peruvian chili pepper that has a citrusy aftertaste – I decided to try a batch of hot pepper jam with only lemon drop peppers. I licked the pot before washing it, and was it good!

Lemon drop pepper jam

Lemon drop pepper jam

Click here to see the bounty from my “little engine that could” garden.

What’s happening in your garden and kitchen?

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10 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 9/8/14

  1. In Summerville, we have gotten rain the past 2 or 3 days and my garden is reviving. Even the struggling raspberries are producing a few decent berries.
    I am most pleased with my two toned yellow zepher squash. It is still producing and has never wilted. Keeping it covered with an insect barrier row cover has made all the difference. I hand pollinate daily. The self pollinating squash I was growing stopped producing when the weather stayed in the 90s. Next year I will grow zucchini under a row cover, too.

    • That’s awesome! In Ladson, we got a half inch of rain Friday, then 1.1″ overnight Friday. Nothing on Saturday. It started raining after supper in my garden yesterday for a bit, then a lot of rain overnight by the sound of it. I haven’t checked my rain gauge yet. (It was still dark when I left for work this morning.) I’ll check it when I get home.

      My garden is surely happy, too. I’ve been picking raspberries for the past couple of weeks, but I have noticed not as many big ones. Hopefully, the rain will help them. I have dozens of flower clusters and new berries still to ripen! I hope the temperature starts decreasing, too. We need to get our fall crops planted, but it’s too hot still.

      All my squash vines are dead now, but my Seminole pumpkin vines are going strong! They’re amazing! They’re native to the Florida Everglades, so I guess they’ve enjoyed this summer! 🙂

      • Ah, but then winter/fall will surely set in. The weather changes drastically here. Our fall has arrived and I dearly miss summer.

      • Not so here. Our temperatures are still regularly in the 90s, and it’s preventing me from getting my fall crops in the ground. (Too hot!) Our first frost isn’t until the week before Thanksgiving, and our winters are usually mild. I’m originally from New England, and I do miss my four seasons. Then again, it’s nice being able to grow without row covers 10 months out of the year!

      • I love the heat… We only have one season here for growing. Harsh winters, unpredictable storms in fall and spring, beautiful summers form mid 80’s to mid 90’s. Summers are just to short. But it does get warm enough to plant tomatoes and corn.. some years good, some not so good.

        I lived on the Oregon coast for many years. I hear the weather is similar to New England… wet.. Hey, send some heat my way and I’ll send you some lower temps and rain. 🙂

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