Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/6/15

Good morning, everyone. I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. I intended to spend quite a bit of time in the garden over the weekend, but it seemed my body was more exhausted than I realized. So I slept. A lot. I spent some time in the garden, doing a few things (like pruning and tying my tomatoes), but the major chores will just have to wait a few days longer. Funny thing – my mind continues to make plans as though I’m 25 but my body often screams, “Enough!” Ah, the joys of getting older. So, I do what I can as I can while I’m still working full time. Meanwhile, my plants may not be as healthy as they could be, but they are doing what they do best – fighting on.

WHAT’S NEW:

This week, I happily discovered that I have this season’s first batch of Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars on my parsley! Check out pictures of these beautiful creatures (click here).

On Independence Day, watching fireworks was not possible in many areas due to the weather. However, Mother Nature provided her own fireworks. Look at these clouds over my neighborhood just before sunset.

Independence Day clouds

Independence Day clouds

IN THE GARDEN:

Because of fiscal year end work overload, my exhaustion, and the holiday weekend, I didn’t spend too much time in the garden other than harvesting. However, look at this beautiful Amish Paste tomato cluster, getting ready to ripen.

Amish Paste tomato cluster

Amish Paste tomato cluster

GARDEN BOUNTY:

This week was a decent week of harvesting, considering the heat. Overall, I harvested 5.2 pounds of tomatoes, 2 pounds of peppers (mostly chilis – my sweet peppers are struggling), 1.2 pounds of cucumbers, 1.3 pounds of eggplant, 6.2 pounds of melons, almost 1 pound of okra, and a handful of basil.

Produce identification in the pictures is listed from the top, clockwise.

Harvest on July 2:

A banner day for harvesting.

Peppers: Jalapenos, Cayenne, Black Hungarian, Filius Blue, Hot Cherry

Peppers: Jalapenos, Cayenne, Black Hungarian, Filius Blue, Hot Cherry

Tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, Black Krim, Riesentraube. Center: Star of David okra

Tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, Black Krim, Riesentraube. Center: Star of David okra

Beit Alpha cucumber, Rich Sweetness melons, Boston Pickling cucumbers

Beit Alpha cucumber, Rich Sweetness melons, Boston Pickling cucumbers

Harvest on July 3:

My first watermelon of the season – a white one.

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Black Beauty eggplant, Edirne Striped eggplant, Star of David okra, Purple Beauty bell pepper, Noir de Carmes melon (overripe!). Center: Rich Sweetness melons

Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Black Beauty eggplant, Edirne Striped eggplant, Star of David okra, Purple Beauty bell pepper, Noir de Carmes melon (overripe!). Center: Rich Sweetness melons

Harvest on July 5:

Tomatoes are coming in! And so are the chili peppers.

San Marzano tomatoes, Cayenne peppers, Reisentraube tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes, Mini Yellow Stuffing peppers, Hot Cherry peppers. Center: Serrano peppers

San Marzano tomatoes, Cayenne peppers, Black Hungarian peppers, Reisentraube tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes, Mini Yellow Stuffing peppers, Hot Cherry peppers, Pink Brandywine tomato. Center: Serrano peppers

Noir de Carmes melon (properly ripe), Rich Sweetness melon, Star of David okra, Boston Pickling cucumber

Noir de Carmes melon (properly ripe), Rich Sweetness melon, Star of David okra, Boston Pickling cucumber

IN THE KITCHEN:

The other night, I made roasted chicken. While it was in the oven, I was thinking about what to make with all the eggplant I had. What’s better with chicken than stuffing? So, I made one of my favorite recipes – Emeril Lagasse’s Eggplant Casserole (very much like a stuffing), which used my eggplants, onions, peppers, and basil. Yum! My Garden Wilson also made a batch of my Fried Jalapenos, too. Nice garden supper.

Roasted chicken, fried jalapenos, and eggplant casserole

Roasted chicken, fried jalapenos, and eggplant casserole

What’s happening in your garden and kitchen?

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