Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/13/15

Good morning, everyone. I’m still writing to you from the Scorch – only now it’s a little less on the temperature scale (mid 90s) but a lot more on the humidity scale (80%+). Post July 4th, and it’s time to get out the knife and fork to be able to breathe this chunky air. UGH! I can’t stand being out for longer than a few minutes at a time. At least I harvest – doing it as quickly as possible – but I have yet to harvest my lima beans and butter peas due to the heat and how long it takes to harvest them. They’re mostly dry pods now, unfortunately. (At least, that’ll be my seed for next year.) I’m going to have to harvest them this week though, else they’ll stop producing altogether. Must. Get. Outside….for longer than 20 minutes. Unless, of course, I start drowning in my own sweat and choking on the air. Yep, it’s July in the South. Meanwhile, please enjoy the pictures I took of my garden this past week (during a couple of my sweat-fests).

WHAT’S NEW:

First, the bad news. My Pink Lady apple tree had 6 apples growing on it – my first ones. They were getting so big, I could see them from the road when driving past my house. So, yesterday, I decided to take a few pictures of them to share with you how they’re growing. But alas, the tree was bare! That’s right, not a single apple on it!! No pieces of them, nothing on the ground, nada. Two days ago, the apples were there. Yesterday, nothing. Because of how clean the breaks were from the tree, I am convinced the culprit is human. I believe a couple of the unruly kids in the neighborhood have stolen them, even though they were unripe. I was so very upset! And sad. Then upset. No apples for me this year. đŸ˜¦

Pink Lady apple tree sans apple - THIEVES!

Pink Lady apple tree sans apple – THIEVES!

On a brighter note, I was picking up the squash and pumpkin vines that had grown through the fence (and putting them ON the fence), when I realized that my elderberries were ripening! And more astounding still was that I even had elderberries TO ripen. (The birds ate the couple of clusters I had last year, and are working on this year’s crop, as well.) However, I actually was able to pick a few clusters that had berries left (see picture later in the post). This is a cluster in process of ripening.

Elderberries ripening

Elderberries ripening

A couple months ago, my Garden Wilson was given two HUGE clumps of spider lilies, each weighing over 75 pounds each. (They hadn’t been divided in years, and the landscaper was going to trash them.) He brought them over and transported them via wheelbarrow to my compost bin to wait for us to divide them and plant them in my yard. Well, it’s been too hot, so we’re waiting until fall. Meanwhile, they’ve been happy in the compost bin, under the shade of a pine bough and in the moisture of the compost. The surprise? They started blooming this weekend….in my compost bin! My Garden Wilson took this picture and sent it to me. I’ve never seen these in person before. They’re so other-worldly beautiful, aren’t they?

Spider lily blooms

Spider lily blooms

IN THE GARDEN:

I have several squash growing along my fence now. Here’s a Black Futsu squash – a winter squash that is sweeter than a butternut squash. They are now one of my favorites.

Black Futsu squash growing on my fence

Black Futsu squash growing on my fence

I love how the okra grows, in between the stem and the leaf. But I have to harvest it before it gets too large, else the okra is very tough. I’m learning. This one is ready to be harvested.

Star of David okra ready to harvest

Star of David okra ready to harvest

I found another okra flower starting to open. They’re so pretty.

Star of David okra flower

Star of David okra flower

Look at the inside.

Inside a Star of David okra flower

Inside a Star of David okra flower

GARDEN BOUNTY:

In this heat, harvesting has been difficult, but I am bringing the bounty in. This week, I harvested 1.6 pounds of eggplant, 7.4 pounds of tomatoes, 2.5 pounds of peppers, 2.3 pounds of cucumbers, 3.4 pounds of melons, a little over half a pound of okra, and an ounce of elderberries.

The produce identification in the pictures is from the top, clockwise:

Harvest on July 8:

San Marzano tomatoes, Rosa Bianca eggplant, Black Krim tomatoes, Star of David okra, Riesentraube tomatoes, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes, Rosa Bianca eggplant, Black Krim tomatoes, Star of David okra, Riesentraube tomatoes, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes

My first Green Machine/Ice Cream melon! (They’re known by both names.)

Beit Alpha cucumber, Green Machine (Ice Cream) melon, jalapenos, Boston pickling cucumbers, cayenne peppers, pepperoncini, hot cherry pepper

Beit Alpha cucumber, Green Machine (Ice Cream) melon, jalapenos, Boston pickling cucumbers, cayenne peppers, pepperoncini, hot cherry pepper

Harvest on July 10:

My first handful of ripe elderberries…ever! Much of these clusters have been eaten by the birds, but if I’m diligent (and blessed), I may get enough ripe berries from the rest of the clusters on the trees to make a batch of elderberry syrup for winter.

Elderberries

Elderberries

These two melons had fallen off the vine, but I got to them in time. I tried my first one yesterday. A little over ripe but very good.

Serrano peppers, cayenne peppers, pepperoncini, hot cherry peppers, Green Machine/Ice Cream melons. Center: FIlius Blue peppers, Black Hungarian pepper

Serrano peppers, cayenne peppers, pepperoncini, hot cherry peppers, Green Machine/Ice Cream melons. Center: Filius Blue peppers, Black Hungarian pepper

More tomatoes!

Amish Paste tomatoes, Riesentraube tomatoes, Star of David okra, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes. Center: Beit Alpha cucumbers

Amish Paste tomatoes, Riesentraube tomatoes, Star of David okra, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Center: Beit Alpha cucumbers

Harvest on July 12:

My sweet peppers are finally starting to produce, but they’re very small. Too hot, I’m sure.

Emerald Giant peppers,

Mini Red bell peppers, Emerald Giant bell peppers, Cubanelle pepper, Star of David okra, Hot cherry peppers, San Marzano tomatoes. Center: Boston pickling cucumbers, Beit Alpha cucumber, cayenne peppers

IN THE KITCHEN:

I was craving a vegetable kabob the other night; so while Garden Wilson tended to the fire pit, I ran to the store to get some zucchini and summer squash. (Nope…can’t grow summer squash well here in the spring due to squash vine borers. I’m hoping to plant summer squash next month.) I added my cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini to the squash, along with olive oil and spicy oregano from my garden. Grilled to perfection….and YUMMY!!! Here they are, waiting for the fire.

Veggie kabobs

Veggie kabobs

What’s happening in your garden this week?

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2 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/13/15

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