Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/20/15

Good morning, everyone. Another HHH week (hazy, hot, humid) here in South Carolina. Combined with my vicious fiscal-year-end work schedule, I have been out in the garden only a couple of times this week. <sigh> I’m going through gardening withdrawals, yet I’m thankful for air conditioning and the small harvests I have been getting. (Small due to the heat, fungus/disease, and insects.) However, I still have some pictures for you this week.


While taking time to cut my grass for me, my Garden Wilson found a praying mantis on my fence and took a picture of it for me. Eat the bugs, big guy!

Praying mantis in my yard

Praying mantis in my yard


I didn’t spend much time in the garden, but I thought I’d take a few pictures of the herbs growing along my front walkway.

My regular thyme didn’t make it. Both the one I grew from seed and the one I transplanted (from the store) didn’t make it; I think the heat was just too much. However, my lemon thyme is growing well. The larger patch was transplanted (from the store), and the smaller patch was from seed.

Lemon thyme

Lemon thyme

My basil is growing, but it’s not as green and vibrant as it should be. Basil likes full sun, but I think it’s getting too much afternoon sun, which is a bit strong here.



My sage is being eaten by some sort of insect, but I’m not sure what because I’ve not seen any actual insects. This plant is the worst. The plant across the walkway was looking good until recently, and now it, too, has leaves that are eaten. Anyone have any idea what’s causing this?

Sage - eaten by some sort of insect

Sage – eaten by some sort of insect

Two of my spicy oregano plants are dying. First, it was the smaller of the two in the picture below. Recently, the large one next to it started dying. The branches are dying, but I don’t know why.

Spicy oregano - dying?

Spicy oregano – dying

Here’s what my other spicy oregano plants look like. A little peaked from the sun, but otherwise healthy.

Spicy oregano that's healthy

Spicy oregano that’s healthy


Due to my work schedule this past week, I harvested on only one day. However, I took in a decent haul. I harvested over an ounce of elderberries, 1.6 pounds of melons, 6 pounds of tomatoes, and 10 pounds of winter squash. I didn’t harvest any cucumbers because the three I picked from the vines had holes in them from pickle worms. Yes, they have now arrived from Florida. I even had to throw away two melons due to those worms.

In the photos, produce identification is from the top, clockwise.

HARVEST July 15:

A few more elderberries went into the freezer.



The melons I got to keep after throwing away a couple with pickle worms.

Rich Sweetness melons & Ice Cream (Green Machine) melon

Rich Sweetness melons & Ice Cream (Green Machine) melon

Nice basket of tomatoes. Now THIS is summer!

Tomatoes: Tiny Tim, San Marzano,

Tomatoes: Tiny Tim, San Marzano, Mortgage Lifter, Riesentraube cherry, Pink Brandywine, Amish Paste

I harvested my second butternut squash (Burpee’s Butterbush), but it was just as small as the other one. This is the second year I’ve harvested a handful of very small butternut, then have the plants shrivel up and die. I don’t think this variety likes the Charleston heat, so I won’t grow it next year.

However, the Black Futsu squash does great! I actually need to cook up the last couple of squash from last year now that I have these coming in. (Yes, these squash and the Seminole pumpkins I harvested last year cured very well and lasted through the winter and spring.)

Black Futsu winter squash. Center: Burpee's Butterbush squash

Black Futsu winter squash. Center: Burpee’s Butterbush squash

What’s happening in your garden this week?


4 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/20/15

  1. Hi Rosemarie,
    Regarding your sage… I have also been unable to grow it in SC. Mine looked just like yours. My theory is that, because the leaves are “hairy”, they retain the moisture from the air and eventually begin to rot away. I don’t think it is bugs causing the problem. Sage, and many other herbs, love an arid, Mediterranean climate and our humidity, along with drenching rains are just too much for them. I have had my best luck growing herbs in well drained pots near the patio flowers, where they get a shot of water almost every day, but never sit in moisture. They are along the wall on the west side of the house where they get baked every afternoon, but still do well. Except for sage. I grow thyme, lemon thyme, mint, oregano and rosemary. Being near the house, they last all winter. I can pick big handfuls for soup bouquets in February. Love it! Basil, cilantro and parsley I grow in the garden beds. (Still waiting for the caterpillars. No babies yet even though I have several swallowtails flitting about.)
    BTW, thank you for the column. YOU are one of my few garden buddies and the only one I have that grows vegetables. I’m lucky if my friends and neighbors even EAT veggies much less grow them! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Peggy. I so appreciate the encouragement! And I didn’t think about the humidity and rain causing problems to my sage. You may be right!! Thanks for sharing that with me (and my other readers).

  2. Dear Rosemarie,

    I am here in Florida. I moved from Sacramento, CA. I find it really hard to grow anything here.i have planted a couple of tomatoes and they are now as tall as I am (4’10”) . They have a lot of blooms but no fruits. I am guessing that I planted them too late, after the bees have left. Next time I will plant the in early spring.

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your harvest. They look really scrumptious. Please keep on posting. I enjoy them very much.

    Anita Ibarra

    • Hi, Anita. So glad you like my blog! And yes, Florida is quite different than California! The humidity is a big deal…like here. Don’t give up on your tomatoes yet. Tomatoes are self-fertile; they don’t need bees to be fertilized. A little bit of wind will do it. However, when it’s humid, the pollen becomes more sticky and doesn’t blow around as easily. If you had planted in March, you would’ve had some fruit to get you going. However, keep watering them and fertilizing them, and I bet you’ll have fruit soon.

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