Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 12/1/14

Wow…it’s December 1st already. Can you believe it? My Thanksgiving was wonderful, and I hope yours was, too. The week was busy – preparing for the big meal, of course. In the garden, we received just shy of 6 inches of much-needed rain in four days! The temperatures were mild, so I had the covers off my hoop tunnels, and all my newly-sown seed received a good soaking. After the rain, the night time chill returned, but all my plants are doing well.

WHAT’S NEW:

I received my first 2015 seed catalog this week from Pinetree Seeds, and they have added quite a few new heirloom varieties to their list. As I sorted through the catalog, I saw some of my favorites as well as some new varieties I would like to try. I wasn’t planning on ordering seed until January, after I received most of my catalogs; but Pinetree offered a Black Friday deal of 15% off your entire order. So, while others were dealing with crowds at malls and department stores, looking for the electronics deals, I was placing an order for some of the seed for my 2015 spring garden. Order part 2 to follow after the holidays. đŸ™‚

My hoop tunnels are wonderful. When covered, they’re keeping the raised beds as warm as a greenhouse; and my newly planted seed is germinating well – in spite of the cold nights. Here are pictures of some of my seedlings under the hoop tunnels.

Red Sails lettuce seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Red Sails lettuce seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Purple top turnip seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Purple top turnip seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Radish seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

Radish seedlings ~ 7 days after planting

The purple top turnips I planted a while back are starting to bulb up. (Nothing yet on my golden globe turnips.)

Purple top turnip starting to "bulb up"

Purple top turnip starting to “bulb up”

While taking pictures of my potted herbs, I found a “volunteer” fernleaf dill seedling growing along my patio. That seed had to be pretty hardy to germinate, so I’m going to let it grow.

Fernleaf dill seedling

Fernleaf dill seedling

IN THE GARDEN:

As I said, I’m very pleased with how my crops are growing under my hoop tunnels. Between the rain and the warmth, my brussels sprout transplants are doing well – surviving and growing new leaves (to replace the frostbitten ones).

Brussels sprouts ~ 7 days after transplanting

Brussels sprouts ~ 7 days after transplanting

If they’re growing new leaves, they’re happy!

Brussels sprouts transplant with new leaves

Brussels sprouts transplant with new leaves

A week ago, I thinned my carrots and transplanted them. I’d be happy if half the transplants survived. This time, it looks like ALL the transplants survived! I think several days of soaking rain was key.

Scarlet nantes carrots ~ half are transplants

Scarlet nantes carrots ~ half are transplants

My first planting of spinach didn’t germinate well, so I replanted. However, what did germinate is growing well.

Bloomsdale spinach

Bloomsdale spinach

It was time to cut down my asparagus fern. Nice pile for kindling of a bonfire, eh?

Asparagus fern cut down

Asparagus fern cut down

While cutting down the asparagus fern, I decided to save the berries – for seed.

Asparagus berries

Asparagus berries

The cilantro I planted in a pot is growing well – now that the squirrels stopped trying to bury acorns in the pot.

Cilantro

Cilantro

The self-seeded curly parsley is growing well, too.

Curly parsley

Curly parsley

IN THE KITCHEN:

Everything I did in the kitchen this past week was preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s what I served that came from my garden: Southern-cooked greens (per my son’s request), feta-stuffed mini red bell and mini yellow peppers, hot pepper relish (for the greens), butter-garlic green beans, dilly beans, kosher dill pickles, green olives stuffed with my own pickled garlic, and butternut squash. My garden also supplied two bulbs of garlic for the garlic mashed potatoes. And let’s not forget the wonderful pumpkin pie made with my own pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie

And here is my Thanksgiving Day table, set and laden with God’s bounty.

My Thanksgiving Day table

My Thanksgiving Day table

GARDEN BOUNTY:

I didn’t get out into the garden much this past week – due to the rain and Thanksgiving Day cooking. But I did harvest 2.5 pounds of greens (including lettuce) and a half pound of radishes.

It was awesome harvesting greens on Thanksgiving Day to put on the table hours later.

Mustard greens & Scotch curled kale

Mustard greens & Scotch curled kale

I love harvesting lettuce for an evening’s dinner salad.

Red Sails & Red Romaine lettuces

Red Sails & Red Romaine lettuce

I harvest escarole plants to blanch and freeze for later use in my chicken soup. However, I also harvest by the leaf to add to salads.

Escarole

Escarole

I also harvested a few more radishes.

Icicle, plum, daikon radishes

Icicle, plum, daikon radishes

What’s happening in your garden?

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