Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 11/17/14

We had another frost this past week, so it was time to admit that the summer garden is done. I spent the entire weekend pulling all my summer plants (other than my pumpkin vines) and harvesting anything left on the plants, including unripe chili peppers and tomatoes, which can still be eaten. I also made a trip to the fairgrounds to pick up my canned goods and ribbons and got a nice surprise when I got there.

WHAT’S NEW:

Before I get to the garden pictures, let me share the surprise I got when I arrived at the fairgrounds this week. Remember I told you I didn’t see my pickled garlic in the award cabinet at the fair? Only winners are displayed during the fair, so I figured it didn’t win. Well, it seems someone forgot to put my jar in the award cabinet because it was returned to me with my recipe card still attached – along with a blue ribbon! Yes, I won first place for my pickled garlic. I updated my Canning Competition Results article, but I wanted to share my news with you here, as well. Here are all my  canning ribbons this year.

My 2014 Canning ribbons

My 2014 Canning ribbons

IN THE GARDEN:

I spent a few hours this weekend pulling my summer crop plants. There were a couple that were so large, I had to share them with you.

This is ONE Dixie speckled butterpea plant (a type of lima bean). It’s huge!

Dixie speckled butterpea plant

Dixie speckled butterpea plant

Just as the cold weather started arriving, my rocoto pepper plants decided the weather was nice enough to finally fruit. I think they prefer their native Andes Mountains to our subtropical summers. I harvested the unripe fruit (hoping they still have some heat to them), and pulled the plants. Actually, they’re mini trees. This is one rocoto pepper plant.

Rocoto pepper plant

Rocoto pepper plant

My lettuce is looking pretty. I think it’s time to start harvesting.

This is my favorite lettuce.

Red sails lettuce

Red sails lettuce

Tom Thumb is perfect for making a single salad.

Tom Thumb lettuce

Tom Thumb lettuce

This is my first time growing this lettuce. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to taste it.

Reine des glaces lettuce

Reine des glaces lettuce

While pulling up my sweet pepper plants yesterday, I found this lettuce growing along the outside of the raised bed. How in the world it got there, I have no idea. The lettuce bed is several beds away. The only thing I can think of is that I might have had a lettuce seed stuck to my clothing when I planted the lettuce, and it fell off when I walked over to the pepper bed one day. Well, more lettuce for me!

Volunteer red sails lettuce

Volunteer red sails lettuce

I left my pumpkin vines in the ground, hoping all my pumpkins will be able to ripen. It amazes me that with all the frost bitten leaves, the plant continues to put out flowers.

Pumpkin flower after frost

Pumpkin flower after frost

I was noticing that my arugula leaves are showing signs of magnesium deficiency. It’s been a while since I applied epsom salt to the garden, so I guess it’s time.

Arugula leaf showing magnesium deficiency

Arugula leaf with magnesium deficiency

My bargain shelf/clearance pansies are doing well. I love the deep purple.

Pansies

Pansies

I now have a large bin full of almost completed compost. Look at this beautiful dirt, just waiting for spring.

Compost

Compost

IN THE KITCHEN:

Earlier in the week, I had a full dehydrator of lemon drop peppers. These Peruvian chilis, when ripe, have a slight lemon aftertaste. When dried and crushed, they make a great spice for cooking.

Lemon drop peppers in dehydrator

Lemon drop peppers in dehydrator

I also processed seven of my ripe pumpkins into pumpkin puree. Here are nine cups of puree for the freezer.

Pumpkin puree ready for the freezer

Pumpkin puree ready for the freezer

And I didn’t throw out the pumpkin seeds. I roasted all of them, and they were delicious! (Click here for the recipe.)

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds

I was busy in the kitchen last week, but not as busy as I’m about to be. Click here to see my garden bounty from this past week and you’ll understand why!

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

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