Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 12/15/14

Wow! There are only two more weeks left in 2014. Where did the year go? I’m already flipping through seed catalogs as they’re arriving, ordering seeds, planning my spring garden. Meanwhile, the nights are staying cool (in the 30s), and the days are warming up into the mid to high 60s. I still have crops that are maturing – just at a slower rate (less sun, cooler weather). Although several of my beds are fallow, there are still crops growing and maturing – despite it being December. Gotta love the South!

WHAT’S NEW:

I don’t have many new seedlings, and what I do have are growing slowly. I think that big rain we got last month affected the seed I planted. I was going to replant, but I think I’m just going to go with what I have and give this farm girl a break.

There is one thing new I did notice. My brussels sprout transplants are growing well, and the stems are nice and sturdy. However, I noticed a couple of curled leaves on my two biggest plants. I didn’t notice any insects on them (though I didn’t have my reading glasses on). This is my first time growing brussels sprouts, so I’m clueless as to what this is. Anyone care to venture a guess as to what’s causing this?

Brussels sprout leaf

Brussels sprout leaf

IN THE GARDEN:

Yesterday, it was warm enough for long enough to remove the plastic from my hoop tunnels (instead of just venting them). I love looking down the beds like this.

Looking down my hoop beds

Looking down my hoop beds

While buttoning up my garden this weekend, I found this little lizard sunning himself on the plastic. I love these little guys in my garden. Isn’t he cute?

Carolina anole

Carolina anole

I scooted him off my plastic (so I wouldn’t hurt him while I was closing up the bed), and he sat on some brown leaves next to me for a while. I caught him in the process of turning brown. His tail still has some green on it, and he will turn a darker shade of brown when he’s done.

Carolina anole turning brown

Carolina anole turning brown

IN THE KITCHEN:

This week, I made three batches of a new recipe I found in my Ball cookbook ~ Carrot Cake Jam. It is a winner! To me, I think it tastes more like spice cake with a hint of carrot. Regardless, it sure is yummy!

Carrot Cake jam

Carrot Cake jam

GARDEN BOUNTY:

December harvest basket

December harvest basket

It’s definitely root vegetable time. This past week, I harvested almost 3 pounds of turnips, a little over a pound of radishes, and about 3/4 pound of beets. Not bad for a week in December.

My purple top turnips have been “bulbing” up very well.

Purple top turnips

Purple top turnips

My golden globe turnips are struggling to “bulb” up, so I’m not yet harvesting many of them. Not enough sunlight maybe.

Golden globe turnips

Golden globe turnips

The radishes keep coming. I’m almost done harvesting the purple plum radishes, while the icicle radishes are just starting.

Purple plum radishes & Icicle radish

Purple plum radishes & Icicle radish

My beer radishes and daikon radishes are just starting to be ready to harvest. And I pulled one watermelon radish from a bed of them. (Identification in the picture is listed top to bottom.)

Daikon radish, Watermelon radish, & Beer radishes

Daikon radish, Watermelon radish, & Beer radishes

I finally had a few beets ready to harvest. I’ve not had the best experience growing beets, but I love them so much I keep trying.

Chioggia & Early Wonder beets

Chioggia & Early Wonder beets

This month, I’m posting How My Garden Grows through the seasons as slide shows of my garden from spring planting through the end of 2014, with new pictures of how my garden looks in December. Don’t miss either slide show in Part 1 and Part 2.

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

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