Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/27/15

Good morning, everyone. I have to admit…after the past excruciating week at work, I don’t know what day of the week it is or whether I’m coming or going. I had such a to-do list for the garden and the yard, but I didn’t anticipate such long hours at work. So, alas, the to-do list remains “to do,” unfortunately. However, I did get a chance to harvest a couple of times and get some pictures of the garden for you, though. Hope you enjoy!

WHAT’S NEW:

Okay, this isn’t totally new, but it’s new again. My raspberry canes are starting to bloom again.

Caroline raspberry blooms

Caroline raspberry blooms

IN THE GARDEN:

The spider lilies in my compost bin (awaiting fall transplanting) have finished blooming, but my ornamental ginger has flowers.

Ornamental ginger in bloom

Ornamental ginger in bloom

My lime green coleus plants are still blooming, despite the heat.

Coleus in bloom

Coleus in bloom

The coleus is doing well in my shade garden. I wish I could say my heuchera (coral bells) were. Of the twelve plants I put in my shade garden in April, only two or three have survived. The heat was just too much for them. 😦  At least my hostas are growing. I have two Patriot hostas and one Vulcan hosta, and they had only two leaves each when I planted them.

Vulcan hosta

Vulcan hosta

Patriot hosta

Patriot hosta

My favorite crepe myrtle tree is in full bloom now. I love these fuschia blossoms.

Crepe myrtle tree in bloom

Crepe myrtle tree in bloom

When I went to harvest yesterday, I couldn’t believe how many peppers were on my Filius Blue plants.

Filius Blue pepper fruiting

Filius Blue pepper fruiting

GARDEN BOUNTY:

I’m still having trouble with my tomatoes. I have over 50 tomato plants, and I’m throwing away more than half the harvest every time. Then, after the tomatoes sit on my counter to finish ripening, I lose half again to some kind of mold or fungus. Each week or so, I may get a dozen tomatoes (besides cherry tomatoes) I can actually eat from 50 plants! <sigh> Here’s what I actually hauled into the house this week: 3.5 pounds of tomatoes, 3.4 pounds of peppers (almost all chilis), 3.4 pounds of eggplant, almost half a pound of okra, 3/4 pound of elderberries, and just shy of 18 pounds of watermelon!

Unless otherwise noted, produce identification is from the top, clockwise.

HARVEST July 20:

My second picking of elderberries was much larger than the first couple.

Elderberries

Elderberries

My eggplant aren’t growing well now. They’re small and several of them fell off the vine. Strange.

Rosa Bianca eggplant (left) & Black Beauty eggplant (right)

Rosa Bianca eggplant (left) & Black Beauty eggplant (right)

My small tomato harvest. (Small for having 50 plants, that is.)

Tomatoes: Mortgage Lifter, Riesentraube cherry, Pink Brandywine, Tiny Tim, San Marzano. Center top: Amish Pastte

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

Most of my chili peppers are doing well. My lemon drop peppers should be huge and covered in fruit by now, but I just picked my first handful of them. My jalapenos look fried, and my cubanelles are just starting to really produce. The Black Hungarian have been okay, and the fish peppers are just starting to turn red. What have been doing well are the hot cherry peppers, the cayenne peppers, the pepperoncini, the Filius Blue, and the serranos. (Don’t even talk to me about my sweet peppers. I’m still waiting to pick more than one or two.)

Peppers: Cayenne,

Peppers: Cayenne, Lemon Drop, Fish, mini yellow stuffing, Emerald Giant green bell (that’s turned red), mini red bell, pepperoncini, serrano. In the center: hot cherry

HARVEST July 26:

This is my largest harvest of elderberries. I have only a handful of clusters left on my trees. This batch was a little over half a pound of berries, and it took me over an hour to pluck them from the twigs.

Elderberries

Elderberries

Yummy watermelon! Unfortunately, one white watermelon was split (waited too long to harvest it), two red watermelons were punctured by grubs of some sort, and my first honeydew was attacked by pickle worms. At least I have these. I can’t wait to try the red one; it’s my first time growing this variety.

Watermelons: (Starting at top right) Wilson Sweet, Strawberry, Cream of Saskatchewan

Watermelons: (Starting at top right) Wilson Sweet, Strawberry, Cream of Saskatchewan

Another few tomatoes.

Tomatoes: Amish Paste, Tiny Tim, San Marzano, Riesentraube

Tomatoes: Amish Paste, Tiny Tim, San Marzano, Riesentraube

I had to cut and throw away most of my okra because it had gotten too big (and would be very tough). But I did get these few. And more peppers. Even some Cubanelle. Time for stuffed peppers AND the dehydrator!

Fish peppers, Star of David okra,

Fish peppers, Star of David okra, serrano peppers, cubanelle, hot cherry peppers, cayenne, Filius Blue peppers. In the center: Black Hungarian peppers & pepperoncini

IN THE KITCHEN:

Pulling elderberries from the cluster is tedious, but I filled up this bowl – then they all went into the freezer. After the harvest is complete, I’m hoping to have enough elderberries to make elderberry syrup.

Elderberries in a bowl

Elderberries in a bowl

I love arranging colorful chili peppers and taking pictures of them. Aren’t they beautiful? HOT-HOT-HOT!

Chili peppers

Chili peppers

What’s happening in your garden?

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2 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 7/27/15

  1. Our garden had very similar issues!!! The heat is just killing everything! My cherry tomato plants are doing fairly well, but the others, not so well. We are still getting pickling cucumbers, but the slicing cucumber plants shriveled up and died. We have gotten a few watermelon, and lots of hot peppers – but NO sweet peppers yet. Our eggplants have done alright, though not as fruitful as I had hoped. Overall, the heat has placed havoc on our plants! Since moving to the new house, we bought some potted peppers and tomato plants. The serrano pepper plant is the only thing that has produced so far. Oh – and my herbs, even my mint, has dried up in this heat as well!

    • Congratulations on your new home! (Still local here??)

      Thank you for sharing about your garden. I’ve heard from one other person in our area via comments, and a fellow co-worker also chimed in about her inability to harvest edible tomatoes. So, I’m starting to feel better that it’s not me – the gardener – but more the weather.

      I just pulled up my sage – it was full of tiny bugs. (I finally saw them!) They were starting to attack my oregano, too, so I trimmed out all the dead and infested branches of that – which leaves just enough plant to grow back. My basil looks so bad, I don’t even want to eat it. 😦 The only thing that looks pretty good is my thyme and lemon thyme. Go figure.

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