Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 10/27/15

Good morning, everyone. It’s been a while since I gave you an update on the garden and homestead, so I thought I’d share with you a few pictures as well as tell you how things are growing (or not) in the garden. We did have a couple nights in the 40s last week, but my excitement over autumn weather arriving was short-lived. Our lows are now in the upper 50s to mid 60s with highs in the mid 70s to low 80s. Not exactly autumn weather in this Yankee’s opinion, but at least it’s not scorching hot anymore.

HOMESTEAD IMPROVEMENTS:

I thought I’d have a few photos to share of my trees professionally trimmed off of my garage and shed, but the appointment had to be postponed twice due to the flooding. The poor guy couldn’t get to me. He was supposed to come yesterday, but I think he forgot! I’ll be calling him today to reschedule. So, pictures of that coming soon.

Remember my shade garden? Well, that was money washed down the drain…literally. What the brutal heat this summer didn’t kill, the 19 inches of rain earlier this month did. The only things that survived are the three hostas, the astilbe, and the ajuga. My ferns are still alive, but they’re struggling. Every single coral bell (heuchera) croaked. 😦 In the spring, I’ll have to replant, and I’ll be choosing different plants. It seems the outer edges of the shade garden get more sun in the summer than I realized, so I’ll choose things that like partial shade to sunny areas. Maybe more hostas and some begonias, I think. We’ll see.

Last Monday, my Garden Wilson and I went to a huge auction up in Darlington, SC. In addition to the vintage and antique items up for auction, farmers and gardeners brought their produce and flowers to auction. Look at these three pots of chrysanthemums I got for less than half the nursery price! Aren’t they gorgeous!! They’re perennials here, so even when the mums fade, they’ll come back. I want to put the yellow ones flanking my front door, and the purple one on my patio.

Chrysanthemums awaiting transplanting outside

Chrysanthemums awaiting transplanting outside

We also came across some antique farm equipment. When I saw this antique plow cotton planter, I instantly pictured it in my front yard with a window box in it full of flowers. All I need to do is treat the wood with some linseed oil to help preserve it. My Garden Wilson got it for me for a song! (Thank you!) Doesn’t it just shout southern farm??

Antique plow and cotton planter

Antique plow and cotton planter

Now, this has nothing to do with homestead improvement, but you know how I always look at the plants growing wherever I am. At the auction, there was a row of large pine trees, laden with pine cones. I just had to snap a picture.

Pine boughs heavy with pine cones in Darlington, SC

Pine boughs heavy with pine cones in Darlington, SC

IN THE HOUSE:

I never thought I could grow orchids, having heard how difficult they are to grow. Of the three large orchids and one mini orchid that were given to me last year, only one died. And it wasn’t very healthy to begin with. However, the others are doing well. In fact, my mini orchid has just bloomed for the second time since I received it.

Mini orchid reblooming

Mini orchid reblooming

One of my two large orchids is budding – for the third time! (Sorry for the brightness. The sun was coming through the curtains.)

Orchid buds

Orchid buds

IN THE GARDEN:

First frost is next month, so I’ll be cutting down the asparagus and raspberry canes, and pruning the apple trees and elderberry canes. Before then, I need to weed – about a week’s worth of hours, the garden is so overgrown! And I have to pull the dead plants up and gather soil for a soil test before frost. I was outside yesterday for the first time in a few weeks (due to the storm and my work schedule), and I was surprised at what my garden still had to offer me!

GARDEN BOUNTY:

Yes, I actually pulled in a harvest yesterday! I thought all that rain had killed the last of everything, but the peppers and squash and pumpkins are still going. I even got a few green paste tomatoes. Altogether, I harvested 9.5 pounds of squash, 4.6 pounds of pumpkins, a half pound of tomatoes (unripe), and 4.6 pounds of peppers! I think I actually have enough peppers to make a batch of my favorite hot pepper relish tonight – my first, and only, canning of the year!

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

Not many sweet peppers, but hopefully enough for my relish.

Harvest - sweet peppers 26Oct15 SG

Sweet peppers: Cubanelle, Mini Red bell, Emerald Giant bell, Mini Yellow Stuffing. Center: Purple Beauty bell

The chili pepper plants are loaded with peppers. Many were overripe and I had to compost them, but I still got quite the haul.

Chili peppers: Filius Blue, Serrano, Black Hungarian, Lemon Drop. Center: Hot Cherry

Chili peppers: Filius Blue, Serrano, Black Hungarian, Lemon Drop. Center: Hot Cherry

 

Chili peppers: Cayenne, Jalapeno, Pepperoncini

Chili peppers: Cayenne, Jalapeno, Pepperoncini

But wait, there’s more. A few more chili peppers, along with some unripe paste tomatoes. (The plants were lying on the ground because the storm knocked the stakes over, so I picked them green.)

San Manzano tomatoes & Fish peppers

San Manzano tomatoes & Fish peppers

Last but not least, the quintessential autumn harvest.

Black Futsu squash (the bumpy ones) & Seminole pumpkins (the smooth ones)

Black Futsu squash (the bumpy ones) & Seminole pumpkins (the smooth ones)

What’s happening on your homestead? What’s the weather like where you are?

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