Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 3/23/15

It’s been a busy week on the homestead. The first day of spring ushered in a weekend filled with activity. We started work on my shade garden with the front “L” garden complete and the full shade garden on the side of the house to be dug up this week. (I have never before dug a ditch, and my body feels like someone beat me up while I slept!) I also attacked several fire ant hills inside my raised beds or near my food. Signs of spring are everywhere; the days are counting down to the big spring planting, and there is still much work to be done.

WHAT’S NEW

While walking around my garden this past weekend, I saw several changes caused by the warmer weather and numerous rain showers we’ve been getting.

I have my first fingerling potato seedling.

First fingerling potato seedling

First fingerling potato seedling

My arugula has started producing seed pods.

Arugula seed pods

Arugula seed pods

Remember the small onions I harvested last year that I replanted in the fall? Well, because this is their second winter, they’re beginning to bud. (It’s amazing how the bulbs keep track of the seasons, isn’t it?)

Onions harvested last year & replanted, now budding

Onions harvested last year & replanted, now budding

The Black Krim tomato cutting that I transplanted into a pot in my kitchen grew to about four feet tall! The top of the plant reached to the underside of the ductwork covering and grew flower buds that are actually opening! I cut the top of the plant and put it into a vase to root it for another plant, then trimmed down the plant in the pot to about 15 inches tall – so it will grow bushier. When the flowers are fully open, I’m going to hand pollinate them to see if I can get some tomatoes started.

Black Krim cutting flowering

Transplanted Black Krim cutting flowering

This week, my Garden Wilson brought me a second birdbath. He found this one on the side of the road and thought it would be perfect for my new shade garden. I heartily agree! The cracks and the moss growing on the sides add just the right amount of character for a shade garden. Now I just have to rearrange my planting plan to accommodate it as a focal point.

Mossy birdbath for my new shade garden

Mossy birdbath for my new shade garden

In the grow room, my Butterbush squash and Golden Midget watermelons are no longer the only seedlings flowering. My noir de carmes melon and Wilson Sweet (red) watermelon seedlings are also flowering.

Noir de Carmes melon flowering

Noir de Carmes melon flowers

Wilson Sweet watermelon flowers

Wilson Sweet watermelon flowers

IN THE GARDEN:

The warmer weather has caused my fall planting of lettuce to start bolting. (In the picture, you can also see the pile of mulch bags, waiting to be applied.)

Red Sails & Black Seeded Simpson lettuce bolting

Red Sails & Black Seeded Simpson lettuce bolting

This head of lettuce looks like a Christmas tree!

Reine des Glaces lettuce bolting

Reine des Glaces lettuce bolting

The warmer weather and rain showers have also brought out the fire ants in full force. The huge hill in my lettuce bed actually grew over the top of the bed and into the hoop tunnel plastic. I moved the plastic to better get to the ant hill to administer the organic pesticide when I saw this. ARRGHHH! I applied TWO gallons of the concoction on these nasty buggers.

Fire ant hill in my raised bed, spreading down the side

Fire ant hill in my raised bed, spreading down the side

Of all the chard I planted last year, two plants have come back. The funny thing is, these two were the ones that didn’t do well throughout the summer last year. Silly, plants.

Fordhook chard - second year growth

Fordhook chard – second year growth

A quintessential sign of spring in the Charleston area is the yellow pollen on everyone’s cars. The culprit? Pine trees!

Pine tree making pollen

Pine tree making pollen

GARDEN BOUNTY

I harvested my first two asparagus spears on Saturday morning. They’re thin, but I see several thick spears poking through the ground. Let the harvest begin!

First Asparagus harvest

First Asparagus harvest

IN THE KITCHEN:

I took those asparagus spears and put them in my scrambled eggs. A few pieces of sharp cheddar cheese, local strawberries, red seedless grapes, a piece of toast with the last of my fig preserves, and a cup of Organo Gold coffee, and breakfast was served! The only problem was I wished I had more asparagus. 🙂

Breakfast with asparagus harvest

Breakfast with asparagus harvest

What’s happening on your homestead this first week of spring?

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