Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 4/13/15

It’s been a full week of hard work here on the homestead. I took the week off from my job to work in the garden, and it’s taken the full week to accomplish! With the warm weather, a plethora of weeds started to take over my garden – inside the raised beds as well as around them. I spent the week harvesting the last of my winter crops (and processing much of it), weeding (filling ten four-foot lawn and leaf bags), prepping the soil (adding Azomite rock dust and compost), top-dressing the cypress bark mulch around the beds, and actually planting my spring crops (both seeds and seedling transplants). But, it’s done. Next week, I’ll be sharing “How My Garden Grows” pictures, so you can see how my plants and seedlings are doing. Here’s what’s happening already in my garden.

WHAT’S NEW:

My cilantro is flowering. No more cilantro, but on the way to making coriander.

Cilantro flowers

Cilantro flowers

Last spring, a friend gave me one of her comfrey plants, which I transplanted into a large pot near my patio. Throughout the winter, it was touch-and-go to see if this perennial would survive. Not only has it come back beautifully, but it’s beginning to flower! Look at these buds.

Comfrey buds

Comfrey buds

I was checking my mason bee house the other day, and I found that one bee laid an egg inside. There’s only one cell filled, but it’s a start. I know the season for mason bee egg laying is over, but there’s hope for next year.

Mason bee house with one cell filled - an egg inside

Mason bee house with one cell filled – an egg inside

IN THE GARDEN:

I wish I had taken a “before” picture of my side beds to show you, but I was on a mission to retake my garden from the spring weed fest. This is a picture of the 18 beds I have on the side of my house. (The other 3 are along my back fence.) Everything has been harvested and weeded, and I had just added Azomite rock dust and compost to each bed. (You can see the garlic and onions growing in the back.)

Beds weeded and prepped

Beds weeded and prepped

Normally, I hand mix my amendments into the beds. (Okay, yes, that’s a lot of work, but I love feeling the dirt.) This year, my Garden Wilson bought an electric tool that twists the soil (to about three inches deep), so he mixed the soil for me. I admit, it was much better on my aching back! Once that was done, he helped me topdress the mulch around the beds and put my trellises up. Voila! Ready for spring planting.

Beds ready for spring planting

Beds ready for spring planting

Although I planted more chard seed, I like having these two plants that survived from last year’s planting. They’re already needing to have some leaves harvested (and stems roasted!).

Fordhook chard - 2nd year

Fordhook chard – 2nd year

My elderberry bushes/trees are growing like crazy, putting up new canes and sprouting new branches. I need to hurry up and decide how I’m going to protect my berries from critters. Anyone have ideas? Types of netting that work? Other ideas?

Elderberry bushes/trees

Elderberry bushes/trees

Remember how I shared pictures of my tulips coming up along the front of my house? Well, over the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at these green leaves and finally realized that they don’t belong to my tulips. My tulips were planted closer to the brick edging. These are actually my gladioli! What is going on? My glads are coming up early, and my tulips didn’t come up at all. Last year was my first year for the tulips, so I don’t understand why they didn’t come up at all this year. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Gladioli coming up

Gladioli coming up

While sitting on the patio the other night around dusk, my Garden Wilson and I noticed a Carolina anole climbing the bags of soil I have ready to create my shade garden. (Yes, I’m STILL waiting for my plants to arrive!) As my Garden Wilson was closer to the cute little critter, he took a picture for me. These guys are all over my garden, and I love it.

Carolina anole

Carolina anole

GARDEN BOUNTY:

Along with all the winter crops I harvested (click here to see those pics), I harvested my first Tom Thumb pea pods (about 3 oz). You can eat them as peas or as pods, depending on when you harvest them. My Garden Wilson likes to eat the pods raw; I prefer them sauteed in butter. However, the peas inside (when mature) are VERY sweet! I’m picking pods from plants that are only 6 inches tall. Amazing. I think I’ll be planting these peas from now on.

Tom Thumb peas

Tom Thumb peas

IN THE KITCHEN:

With all that I harvested, I did a lot of cooking and still have more ahead of me. We’ve been eating salads almost daily, and I cooked two batches of escarole and beans. We ate one batch over the weekend. The rest is in the fridge for later munching. (For the recipe, substitute escarole for spinach in this recipe.)

Escarole and beans

Escarole and beans

I also made two huge batches of Southern greens. We ate some, put some in the fridge, and froze two gallon-size baggies full. (Click here for the recipe.)

Southern greens

Southern greens

I still have turnips, beets, and beet greens to cook. I’ll be rushing home from work to continue with the cooking the next couple of days.

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

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4 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 4/13/15

  1. I am told that it gets too warm in the winter here in SC for tulips which need a cold period before spring. I planted some freebies 2 years ago which did well the first year, then peetered out the next. Now, I refrigerate them for a month in the fall and plant them (crowded) in pots for better drainage, then toss them after flowering. Not cost effective, but they can be moved to where I enjoy them most (on my patio) and they are gorgeous for several weeks.
    Thanks for the greens and beans recipe. I harvested a huge bag of chard yesterday and will use it in your recipe for dinner tonight!

    • Ah…that makes sense. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have planted them. Well, at least they were half price when I bought them! LOL

      Ooh..chard and beans. Sounds good. Let me know how you like it. 🙂

      • The chard and beans were great! I will be making it again, for sure. P. On Apr 13, 2015 12:15 PM, “Sanctuary Gardener” wrote:

        > Rosemarie Thompson commented: “Ah…that makes sense. Had I known that, > I wouldn’t have planted them. Well, at least they were half price when I > bought them! LOL Ooh..chard and beans. Sounds good. Let me know how you > like it. :)”

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