Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/19/15

It’s been a quiet week in the garden, although the weather has bounced around. In typical Charleston fashion, the week’s weather included a low of 33, a high of 67, over 2 inches of rain, clouds, sun, and quite a bit of wind one day. Is it winter? Is it spring? My garden surely can’t tell! Without any frosts this week – and a couple of days in the 60s – there is some new growth in the garden.

WHAT’S NEW:

A few days ago, I (finally) transplanted my Black Krim tomato cutting that I had taken from a plant back in November. If you missed Friday’s article about it (with pictures), click here.

Outside, I have some new seedlings. On January 2, I planted two kinds of peas and some spinach. I know it’s not the time to plant spinach, but I had the extra space around the peas, so I thought I’d try it. They’re germinating!

Giant Noble spinach seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

Giant Noble spinach seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

I have 3 times as many dwarf gray pea seedlings as I do tall telephone pea seedlings right now. Funny how two varieties of the same plant can germinate differently.

Dwarf gray pea seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

Dwarf Gray pea seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

Tall Telephone pea seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

Tall Telephone pea seedlings ~ 16 days after planting

On November 22, I planted some scarlet kale on the end of my turnip bed. They never germinated…until recently. That just goes to show you that a seed will germinate when it knows the conditions are just right. Now, they’re the only thing growing in this bed (besides a few weeds).

Scarlet kale seedlings ~ almost 2 months after planting

Scarlet kale seedlings ~ almost 2 months after planting

IN THE GARDEN:

Meanwhile, my arugula is bolting. It hasn’t been that warm, so it must be a maturity thing. The flowers will be pretty when they bloom, and they’re edible. I’ve never eaten them, but I hear they taste like the leaves. I’ll have to try them.

Arugula bolting

Arugula bolting

My brussels sprout buds are growing.

Brussels sprout buds

Brussels sprout buds

Remember the lettuce I lost to the frost a couple weeks ago? I was hoping that it might grow back. Well, I think the Black Seeded Simpson lettuce is toast, but the Red Romaine is starting to get new growth!

Red Romaine lettuce with new growth after a hard frost

Red Romaine lettuce with new growth after a hard frost

IN THE KITCHEN:

Ever make up a recipe – just throw things together – in order to use something you just harvested? This past week, I harvested some beets. The greens were so pretty, I had to cook them up. But how? I had some mild turkey sausage in the fridge, and that got me to thinking. I sauteed some onion and garlic (I’m still eating my own garlic) then added the turkey sausage with some salt, pepper, and dried sage. When the sausage was almost cooked, I added a can of pinto beans. When the sausage was fully cooked, I added the beet greens and stirred everything until the greens were fully wilted. I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste, but I am happy to say it was wonderful!!! I’ll have to try the same thing with mustard greens or kale, too.

Turkey sausage, pinto beans, & beet greens

Turkey sausage, pinto beans, & beet greens

GARDEN BOUNTY:

This past week, I harvested 2 pounds of turnips, almost 2 pounds of radishes, 1 1/4 pounds of beets, and 3/4 pounds of greens. A good week for January!

I harvested some watermelon radishes that were the size of small turnips – perfect size for this variety.

Watermelon radishes

Watermelon radishes

I pulled the last of my beer radishes. The tops were frostbitten, but the roots were still firm. One radish is larger than a turnip (on the far right). I somehow missed pulling that one earlier.

Beer radishes

Beer radishes

My daikon radishes were totally frostbitten. I pulled the rest of them, and even some of the roots were rubbery (frostbitten). I did salvage these three.

Daikon radishes

Daikon radishes

I harvested the last of my Golden Globe turnips, too. Now the only turnips I have growing are the new ones in my hoop tunnel beds.

Golden Globe turnips

Golden Globe turnips

Once again, it’s amazing the differences you’ll see in two varieties of the same plant. Look at the differences in the color of the beet root and the leaves between Early Wonder and Chioggia beets. (You’ll also notice a couple of Chioggia beets that are actually white!)

Early Wonder beets

Early Wonder beets

Chioggia beets

Chioggia beets

Aren’t these some pretty beet greens? And yummy, too!

Beet greens

Beet greens

I had to trim the frostbitten leaves off my escarole harvest, but otherwise, they tasted just fine. (I added these to my Italian chicken soup.)

Escarole

Escarole

What’s happening in your garden?

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