Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 9/29/14

What a difference a week or two makes! A couple of weeks ago, we were suffering under a brutal summer sun without rain for three weeks. Since then, we’ve had about 5 inches of rain and haven’t seen the sun in ten or twelve days, thanks to a low pressure system camping off the South Carolina coast. My fall planting was delayed earlier due to the intense heat; now I can’t seem to finish planting because of the rain. Well, at least what I have planted is starting to germinate, and my plants are continuing to respond to the cooler temperatures.

WHAT’S NEW:

My beets are starting to germinate. Unfortunately, a blasted squirrel dug into the center of my beet bed, planting acorns. (I hate that critter!) I’m hoping my beet seed will still come up in that area. I have quite a few chioggia beet seedlings, and my early wonder beets are not far behind.

Chioggia beet seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Chioggia beet seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

I have one little brussels sprout seedling – so far.

Brussels sprout seedling ~ 7 days after planting

Brussels sprout seedling ~ 7 days after planting

I have a couple of red romaine lettuce seedlings and quite a few red sails lettuce seedlings already.

Red sails lettuce seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Red sails lettuce seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

About half of my arugula has germinated so far.

Arugula seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Arugula seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Because I was tired of not getting good germination on my escarole, I sprinkled the seed in rows like you would do with carrots. I figured, I could always thin them out later. Well, conditions were right, the seed was good, and I have LOTS of escarole seedlings.

Escarole seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Escarole seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

I have several kale seedlings, too.

Kale seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Kale seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

IN THE GARDEN:

My Seminole pumpkin vines are going crazy in this cooler weather! They are not only growing around several beds, but are also growing through and up my fence on two sides!

Pumpkin vines growing up my front fence

Pumpkin vine growing up my front fence

Here’s what it looks like as you go around the corner. (Can you find the pumpkin on the bottom of the picture?)

Pumpkin vine growing on my side fence

Pumpkin vine growing up my side fence

I counted 12 pumpkins growing on my two vines at the moment. Wow! And, look at the size of this pumpkin leaf!

Seminole pumpkin leaf

Seminole pumpkin leaf

Remember when I told you that all my black futsu squash vines were dead? Guess I was wrong. What I thought was a pumpkin growing was actually a black futsu squash. Among all those pumpkin leaves is a black futsu squash vine still alive!

Black futsu squash

Black futsu squash

It seems that whatever was eating the baby fruit on my three elderberry flowers has stopped. (Bird? Bug? Who knows.) This is what I have left. I love the magenta coloring on the stems.

Elderberry fruit growing

Elderberry fruit growing

One day last week, I was sitting in my living room and saw a bird land on my patio with something large and green in its mouth. It kept dropping it and picking it up – trying to kill it, I assume. It was a tomato hornworm. I didn’t know I had any of those left in my garden, but he was welcome to it! (I had to zoom in on the bird so I wouldn’t scare it away; sorry for the not-so-perfect picture.)

Bird eating tomato hornworm

Bird eating tomato hornworm

Among my pumpkin vines, I found my strawberry watermelon vine growing up the fence and flowering.

Strawberry watermelon flower

Strawberry watermelon flower

My resurrected petunias (three of the four are coming back to life) are starting to flower again. Here’s one fully open bloom. The plant has red flowers, but this one isn’t red. Cool, huh?

Petunia flower

Petunia flower

I know fall is officially here because my chrysanthemums are budding and blooming.

Yellow mums

Yellow mums

Purple mums budding

Purple mums budding

IN THE KITCHEN:

Remember all the pear tomatoes I picked unripe when I pulled the plants? During the week, I’ve been removing them from the closed paper bag as they start to blush orange and putting them in a basket near my window. They’re ripening up nicely and taste very good!

Green pear tomatoes ripening

Green pear tomatoes ripening

To see this past week’s Garden Bounty, click here.

What’s happening in your garden?

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