Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 10/20/14

The weather this week has been beautiful! Temperatures in the upper 70s/low 80s during the day and in the upper 50s/low 60s at night. After two weeks of dry weather, we got an inch of much-needed rain. Next rain storm? Not for at least 10 more days. Great weather for harvesting, not so good for new seedlings. At least I can water my little babies, which I do daily; and they’re growing quite well.

WHAT’S NEW:

My carrots seedlings are coming up. I’ll have a heck of a job thinning them, but at least they’re growing.

Scarlet nantes carrot seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

Scarlet nantes carrot seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

I planted celery from seed for the first time, and the seedlings are just poking through the soil. I planted them in a pot so I could take them inside during the winter, then transplant them in the garden in the spring.

Celery seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

Celery seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

My cilantro is coming up – if I can just keep the blasted squirrels from burying their acorns in my pot!!

Cilantro seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

Cilantro seedlings ~ 2 weeks after planting

My potted parsley is in its second year, and it bloomed and seeded. Because parsley is a biannual, I didn’t think they’d “come back” after they were eaten by black swallowtail caterpillars. My flat parsley and one of my curly parsleys did come back. Surprise! The other curly parsley was dead. I put the pot aside to dump out into the compost pile, but I forgot about it. Good thing. It self-seeded, and now I have parsley seedlings! After I took this picture, I trimmed off the dead branches and watered these little babies.

Curly parsley seedlings

Curly parsley seedlings

While weeding my garden this weekend, I found a second watermelon growing. Very cool.

Early moonbeam watermelon

Early moonbeam watermelon

I pulled most of my black krim tomato plants, but I left two after severely trimming them. One of those two survived and now has a couple of tomatoes growing.

Black Krim tomatoes

Black Krim tomatoes

The leaves on one of my peanut plants is turning yellow. It’s a small plant, so I thought I would pull it up to see how close my peanuts are to being fully ripe. I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this plant, but I have about a dozen peanuts. (A far cry from the normal 50-100/plant, but this is my experiment.) I’m leaving the plant “in the field” to dry for a few days before I take the peanuts inside to cure for a month.

Peanuts - first plant pulled

Peanuts – first plant pulled

Yesterday, I planted about 150 onion seeds (red creole and barbosa), and about the same amount of my own Italian softneck garlic.

Garlic and onion seed ready to plant

Garlic and onion seed ready to plant

IN THE GARDEN:

My peas are doing well. I got 7 plants from the 8 seeds I planted in pots. They’re now starting to put out tendrils (though they have a way to grow before reaching the teepee trellis).

Dwarf gray peas

Dwarf gray peas

My lemon drop peppers are fruiting like crazy! I love these peppers. I add them to my hot pepper relish and my hot pepper jam, but I love to dehydrate them and crush them up to add to recipes.

Lemon drop peppers

Lemon drop peppers

Of the three flowers I had fruiting on my new elderberry trees, the birds (or other critter?) got most of them. However, I do have a handful left on one flowerhead, and they’re almost ripe.

Elderberries almost ripe

Elderberries almost ripe

Two of my six Black Beauty eggplant are fruiting well. Look at these eggplants! Most of them are on one plant, too.

Black Beauty eggplant

Black Beauty eggplant

Something is eating the leaves of my baby arugula.

Arugula - something eating the leaves

Arugula – something eating the leaves

My escarole is growing very well, and whatever is eating the arugula growing next to it is not touching the escarole. This week, I’m going to thin it out and add the thinnings to a salad.

Escarole ~ almost 3 weeks after planting

Escarole ~ almost 3 weeks after planting

While picking my raspberries the other evening, I realized that I have only a couple of bearing canes left. So, I decided to take a picture of what is close to the last raspberries of the year. (It was almost sunset, and my camera had a tough time focusing, it seems.)

Caroline raspberries

Caroline raspberries

While I was planting my onions yesterday, I found this large brown dragonfly sitting on one of my bamboo stakes. I didn’t want to scare him away, so I zoomed in.

Brown dragonfly

Brown dragonfly

IN THE KITCHEN:

The kitchen is starting to hop with the harvests coming in. I picked so many snap beans, I had to freeze some.

Snap beans ready to freeze

Snap beans ready to freeze

Remember all the basil I harvested last week? Well, the Lord blessed me with some pine nuts and I made pesto – which I then used in a basil pesto cream sauce for bow-tie pasta. It was AWESOME!

Basil pesto

Basil pesto

Last night, I made a batch of my hot pepper relish. I just love this stuff!

Hot pepper relish

Hot pepper relish

Click here to see the garden bounty I harvested this past week.

What’s happening in your garden and kitchen?

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5 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 10/20/14

  1. Hi Rosemarie.
    Everything is green and growing in my Summerville SC garden. I planted a lot of greens just before that last rain. I covered them with cardboard so they would not wash out and the germination rate was excellent. The arugula that did poorly for me last spring and replanted before the last rain is growing so thick and well that I am pulling out “microgreens” for salads and green drinks in order to thin them out. I have 2 plantings of turnips. The one I put in Labor Day (in all that heat) are big enough to be pulled as baby turnips. I will probably do that this week to thin them out a bit. The more recent planting is about 2 inches high with no bugs in sight. Collards (transplants and seeds), broccoli, kale, pac choi, chard are all doing well. Today I will plant a mixed bed of lettuce and fancy mustard for salads.
    The zephyr summer squash that I covered with a light row cover and hand pollinated all summer long is still producing well. It is starting to show some mildew, but I can’t complain after 5 months of good harvests! I started another planting a couple months ago, but it has not done very well. Too hot, I suspect.
    I wish I had thought to plant peas. Now that I removed most of the dwindling raspberries from around the fence, I have lots of room for climbers like peas. Next late summer I will plant both peas and string beans (to replace my pole beans for the fall).
    Thank you so much for your postings. I read them all. Since I don’t know of anyone else who grows veggies and am still fairly new to the area, your experiences are so valuable to me. Keep writing!
    P.S. Are you planning to use row cover for the cold weather ahead?

    • That’s great!! And I never would’ve thought to put cardboard over the bed where I recently sowed my lettuce seed. I know that’s why my lettuce seedlings are sparse; the rain washed them away! I’ll keep that tip in my head, for sure! Thanks for sharing that.

      Yes, I’m talking to my beau (aka Garden Wilson) about building me hoop covers over one or two of my raised beds over the next week or so. I saw a design that looked very easy – PVC pipe in a greenhouse shape (no bending, no need for rebar supports). Just need 3 45-degree elbows for each support, 3 supports per bed. Then get some row cover fabric. Need to act fast. First frost is in a month or so. I need some covers for my key limes, too. I’m going to try leaving them outside with covers and Christmas lights for warmth. They didn’t do well last year bringing them inside then outside then inside. Lost almost all their leaves. 😦

      Again, thanks for sharing your ideas. That’s what I want this blog to be about – everyone learning from each other!

      • I use PVC also (I think 1/2 inch), shove one end into the ground, bend the other end into an arch and shove it into the ground. on the opposite side of the bed. I have curved clips that fit over the PVC with the row cover fabric between them, but they often rip the fabric when I remove them to check on the plants. So now, I prefer laying one of those heavy green metal stakes over the fabric along each of the 4 sides. I find they hold better and it is much easier to lift the fabric to check underneath. The only place I’ve found the fabric is through catalogs. I have one bed that I use to winter-over my more tender greens. For that bed, I’ve pounded short rebar into the sides of the bed leaving about 8 inches sticking out of the ground. I shove the PVC into the ground so that the rebar goes into the end of the PVC as the PVC goes into the ground. I find the rebar stabilizes the PVC in the wet weather.
        We had good luck last winter with our citrus trees by surrounding each one with a tall tomato cage, hanging a trouble light in the tree, laying Christmas lights on the ground over the roots and then wrapping each tree with old sheets or quilts. It’s not pretty, but it pulled them through 2 ice storms. The lime tree came uncovered during one storm and died down to about a foot above the ground, but it came back this year. However, none of the trees bore fruit this year. With consistent fertilization, they have doubled in size this summer and we are hoping for a harvest next year.
        This morning, I put in an interesting bed of salad greens. I collected all the lettuce, kale, mustard, purslane, fennel, etc. seeds that I had left from my order last spring. I mixed them together and seeded a long 32 X 2 foot bed along the fence. My plan is to shear a section at a time as needed, working my way down the bed, salad after salad. Hopefully, by the time I get to the end of the bed, the beginning of the bed will be ready for another shearing. We’ll see how that works 🙂
        Thanks for your reply!

      • Your hoop construction idea sounds pretty simple – and cheaper. I’ve seen online that using bricks or heavy stakes is better than the clips, for the reason you mentioned. And yes, I’ll have to order the fabric.

        It sounds like your trees are not in pots. Mine are potted, but I’m going to try leaving them outside this year. The stress of changing temperatures was too much for them. I’m hoping the lights/covers will be better this year. I have a handful of key limes on the trees, but that’s about half of what I had last year. (And I was hoping for more because the trees are older.) At least the leaves grew back and I got more branches. They’re alive and I’m happy.

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