Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 12/22/14

The weather has been fairly mild the past week, and I’ve been able to leave the plastic off my hoop tunnels at night. That’s been great as my plants need some direct sunlight – and the rain we’re now getting. I harvested a few things, and I noticed some seedlings finally germinated. A typical quiet week in my December garden.

WHAT’S NEW:

The last batch of beet and carrots seeds I planted have finally germinated. The lack of rain and reduced sun under the hoop plastic have slowed things down, but I’m hoping this mild weather will kick start growth. Here are my new carrot seedlings.

Carrot seedlings

Carrot seedlings

This is the first year I decided to leave my key lime trees outside. I have large Christmas tree lights on the soil in the pot, and I cover them with clear plastic when the temperature is expected to go below 45 degrees. I’m trying to avoid the severe shock they experienced last year with the in-and-out routine. (They lost almost all of their leaves and spent all summer growing them back instead of flowering and fruiting.) So far, they’re doing well. I even have a handful of new key limes growing!

New key limes growing

New key limes growing

IN THE GARDEN:

My turnip and lettuce seedlings are doing well under the hoop tunnels.

Turnip seedlings

Turnip seedlings

Lettuce seedlings

Lettuce seedlings

While I was clearing the fallen leaves from my kale and lettuce along my front walkway, all the leaves of one of my scarlet kale came up in my hand. Beneath that one plant was a good-sized hole. No other plant was affected, but something ate the roots or cut off the leaves at the soil line. Very strange.

Scarlet kale - eaten?

Scarlet kale – eaten?

My mustard greens are thriving, even with the chilly nights. I’ll have to harvest some this coming week (along with kale) to cook up another batch of yummy greens.

Mustard greens

Mustard greens

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my arugula was suffering from some form of nutrient deficiency. I thought it was magnesium, but it isn’t. (I actually applied an epsom salt foliar spray to all my plants this past weekend anyway because I haven’t done it in a while.) After looking at the extent of the maroon color in my leaves and doing some online research, it appears that this may be more of a nitrogen deficiency – and an extensive one to turn the leaves purple. Potassium deficiency can turn the leaves dark, as well, but usually with browning along the leaf edge. My arugula doesn’t have that, so nitrogen deficiency is my best guess. Time to get out the fish emulsion, for sure!

Arugula with nitrogen deficiency (best guess)

Arugula with nitrogen deficiency (best guess)

IN THE KITCHEN:

This past week, I baked several dozen pumpkin cookies for my coworkers (and family), using my own pumpkin harvest. However, I neglected to take a picture of them to share. I assure you, they were VERY yummy!

I also made a soup with my weekly harvest that tasted fantastic. I’ll share the recipe for my Autumn Harvest Soup on Friday.

GARDEN BOUNTY:

I love harvesting in December. While much of the country is blanketed with snow or suffering frozen ground, I’m harvesting here in the South. I harvested 1/4 pound of radishes, 1/4 pound of lettuce, 2  1/4 pounds of turnips, and 2 key limes.

The few key limes that I have on my trees are ripening quickly now. Limes are to be harvested when they start turning lime green (not dark green) with hints of yellow. I love key limes.

Key limes

Key limes

My watermelon radishes are finally starting to ripen. These didn’t even make it into the refrigerator because they went directly into the evening salad.

Watermelon radishes

Watermelon radishes

Speaking of salad, I harvested a wonderful supply of lettuce, too. (Identification is from top left, clockwise.)

Red romaine lettuce, red sails lettuce, black seeded Simpson lettuce

Red romaine lettuce, red sails lettuce, black seeded Simpson lettuce

I harvested more turnips, too. I simmered the purple top ones in butter and ate them with my latkes the other night.

Golden globe turnips & purple top turnips

Golden globe turnips & purple top turnips

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

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2 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 12/22/14

    • Thanks! I don’t have many key limes growing right now, so there’s not enough for a pie. However, I’m a fan of tonic and lime – especially after working in the garden – and using a fresh key lime in the tonic water is so refreshing and delicious!

      I’ve ordered some of my spring seed so far, but I have several new catalogs to look through yet. Over the holiday break (I work full time so breaks are very needed), I’ll be planning my spring/summer garden. Seedling planting in my grow room commences the first of February. That’s only 5 weeks away!

      We gardeners and farmers don’t get much of a break from growing, do we? But that’s the fun of it, for sure!

      Merry Christmas to you and thanks for stopping by!

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