Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/22/15

Good morning from a melted gardener. Yes, folks, it’s STILL in the 100s. Eight days and counting with no relief in sight for another week, at least. I’ve not been able to get into the garden for more than 15 minutes at a time due to the heat. That leaves out any gardening chores other than a quick harvest at the end of the day. And even then, it’s unbearably hot. Example? The other night at midnight, it was 89 degrees with a heat index of 94. At midnight! And remember I planned to get up at sunrise to try to get some gardening done? Well, yesterday morning, at 5:30 a.m. it was 80 degrees with 70%+ humidity! Please let a cold front come through with some rain to water my garden and cool things off, and soon! That said, most of the pictures I’m sharing today are of harvests and kitchen cooking. This week’s garden photos!

Natural Immune Boosters ~ Garlic

Garlic Immune Booster picWelcome to the fifth installment in my ten-part natural immune booster series. If you are just joining us, please see the articles on the first four natural immune boosters: coconut oil, oil of oregano, manuka honey, and goldenseal. Today, we’ll take a look at garlic – the pungent, delicious staple in every Italian kitchen. (I know; I have several braids of my garden garlic hanging in my own kitchen.) This wonderful allium is not just an Italian cook’s delight; it also contains a plethora of health benefits. Garlic benefits!

2014 Fall Planting

Garden Tools SGIt’s a little difficult for me to think about the fall planting when I’m sweating my patooty off in the garden in 90 degree heat! In fact, the whole fall planting thing sneaked up on me right before I left on vacation when I realized I hadn’t yet mapped out my fall garden plan.

The fall planting plan is the most difficult for me because here we have so many summer veggies still growing while fall crops are being planted. I have to determine which crops stay planted through first frost (the week before Thanksgiving) and which will be “done” or sacrificed to make room for the fall crops. Also, fall crops are planted at varying dates from August to November, adding another wrinkle in the process. Granted, having 21 raised beds makes the job easier, but I still have to put my thinking cap on and play with my garden map. Well, I can now say the plan is complete, and I’m ready to share with you what I’ll be planting for my fall crops. 2014 Fall Planting!

2014 Garlic Harvest

Last night after work, I harvested my bed of Italian softneck garlic. I had planted it a month later than I planted last year (at the end of October instead of the beginning), so I didn’t think I’d be harvesting until the third week of June. (I harvested last year’s crop on May 22.) However, the garlic was shouting at me to harvest it. Garlic Harvest pictures!

Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 5/26/14

The weather here got hot and humid again this week, but a cold front came through on Friday (though without any rain, unfortunately). The humidity dropped for a couple days this past weekend, so I was able to spend two full days in the garden without feeling like passing out. And while spending such a long period of time in the garden, I saw that the heat and insufficient rain have brought the insects early. In two days, I saw squash vine borer moths on the squash, spotted cucumber beetles on my eggplant and corn, bean leaf rollers on my snap beans, army worms on my tomatoes, spider mites on my eggplant and lettuce, and aphids here and there. And the summer hasn’t even begun! It’s going to be a season of war with insects, it seems. Well, I”m ready for battle! Despite the uninvited guests, my plants are growing and fruiting; and we’ve made an addition to the homestead. This week’s garden pictures!

How My Garden Grows in May ~ Part 2

Yesterday, I shared pictures of half my garden beds and how they’re growing. If you missed the first half of my pictures, you can view Part 1. Now, for pictures of the second half of my garden. How My Garden Grows in May!

Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 2/3/14

In my last post, I shared pictures of my homestead during Winter Storm Leon. Today, I’m sharing photos of my garden during the storm, as well as a few pictures of the aftermath. Ice covered everything for three days. That’s a record for the Charleston, SC area – at least, since I moved here 19 years ago. I basically gave up all hope of having any kind of harvest this winter crop; between the cold that delayed germination until just before the storm (and that’s if anything germinated at all) and the ice storm itself, I was in despair. However, I was surprised at what survived and what was damaged or lost. Winter Storm Leon in my garden!

Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 1/13/14

It’s winter planting season, and the weather has changed like a roller coaster this week in the Charleston, SC area. From a low of 17 during the Polar Vortex (which dipped this far south) to a high of 73 only three days later! Walking through my garden this weekend, I felt like Goldilocks. This week’s garden pictures!

Curing and Storing Garlic

Unlike most other crops, garlic needs special treatment after it’s been harvested. It needs to be cleaned without water and cured for best flavor and long-term storage. My Spotlight on Garlic article shared with you how to grow and harvest it, but I felt I should do a separate post on curing, including information on how to braid garlic. Learn how!