Wednesday, September 08, 2010

My bread and butter . . . pickles, that is

Homegrown cucumbers and homegrown Walla Walla sweets.

The combo, along with its coating of plain salt is ready for pickling.

I thought it would be a better cucumber year for a while, but those little plants did not bear a lot of fruit this year.

I think the warm and cold, warm and cold summer has just plain confused a lot of garden plants.

I picked a batch of cukes a couple of weeks ago and made up six pints of bread-and-butter pickles.

There's just one unopened jar remaining.

So, with the plants bitten by frost from the night before, I cleaned off most of the vines yesterday and brought them to the refrigerator.

This batch may yield five pints cuz this time I'm gonna stuff the jars with a few more pickles.

Seemed like the first-batch jars were basically one helping for one person only.

Ya see when I open a jar of sweet or dill pickles, I always have to sample. One taste leads to another pickle and another.


The rest of the garden is still alive and well but probably not progressing too quickly, except for all those pumpkins.

I'll have a good supply this year and probably some giveaways.

Two of our guests this weekend took home a red cabbage. I'll probably use one more and give the rest away.

Cabbage and dill get planted in my gardens, not so much for their use but for their beauty. And, in the case of dill, I love walking from plot to plot and taking in the smell.

Potatoes should be good this year, based on the few I've robbed from the plants.

And, I have learned an important lesson about growing stuff in planters.

Don't overdo . . . it's a jungle out there in a couple of those planters.

Experienced and Master Gardeners are going to cringe when I divulge that one planter, probably 4 by 12 has carrots, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, a wild rose, and lavender.

Haven't seen the lavender since June, and I'm wondering if it still has the nerve to maintain its existence at the low end of the jungle floor.

I'll hold back next year and make sure everything has its space.

We'll probably harvest that third plum fairly soon. Bill can take it in his lunch.

The apples are looking a little better after going through a stage of looking like they had a skin ailment. That has gone away, but the worms have replaced it in some fruit.

I've sampled about two ripe tomatoes. Hundreds of tiny green cherry tomatoes are loading down some plants, while some small beefsteaks may turn if the weather allows. Otherwise, they'll get plucked and put in a box in hopes of redeeming some fall treats.

All in all, it's been an okay gardening year in spite of all the challenges.

At times, I wonder why I waste my time and work so hard to come up with such mediocre harvests.
Like any journey, however, it's not the final destination that makes the difference, it's the good times along the way.

And, I've enjoyed hundreds of good moments this summer---spent watering and watching Border Collies leap for the hose, discovering some success stories, filling the freezer with blueberries,  savoring cobblers thereafter, and listening to guests rave about the flavor of those coveted bread-and-butter pickles.

So, it's well worth the effort, and I'll be just as crazy to garden come January, 2011.

Now, on to the pickles!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will trade you 12 egg plants for one taste of your pickles! BTW, I too have crammed way too much into my raised garden. Some of the plants underneath like the shade and are fine, others have disappeared....oh well, I don't even recall what all I planted as I dumped a bunch of seeds in there thinking I'd be away for the summer! Puz