Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Great Garden - A wee bit late...

Our garden is officially - In! Better late than never, right? We actually started way back in May, planting seeds in starter packs - sweet corn, beets, cilantro, carrots, jalapenos, green beans - all kinds of stuff.

Well, by the time the garden was ready to go, the starter packs had expired. Too much water... Not enough water... Too long in the packs... Plain ole neglect... a variety of issues came into play.

So... we decided to just go for it. Even though the 4th of July had come and gone, we figured a small garden would be better than none at all. The boys and I picked up a few plants at the local nursery - a cantelope, lemon cucumber, soybean, pepper and eggplant - and dug out a few seed packets - basil, cilantro, parsely, green onion, green beans, cucumber and gourds.

The boys also had a few pumpkin seeds from a friend who grows pumpkins each year. She had a few loose seeds that she passed on to them, so we're in for a treat when we see what we've got!  

At this point, we've got 3 green bean plants, 9 pumpkin plants, 2 gourds, 5 cucumber plants that have sprouted. The cantelope and pepper plants are doing well and the eggplant perished at the mouth of a gopher. No sprouts yet from the basil, cilantro, green onion or parsely.

After we got things planted, we headed in for lunch. We decided that it was finally time to open the first of 6 jars of Quick Dill Pickles we made last August. I made a few jars of Bread & Butter Pickles that were a hit, with everyone but our boys, that is! They prefer dill, while I'm happy with sweet relish on my hot dogs and in my tuna, thank you very much.

The B&B jars were ready to eat the morning after they were canned... these had to sit for some time, so we decided to wait a year. Since this was my first canning experience, I have been nervous, and somewhat irritated, seeing these jars sit on my pantry shelf. Wondering if they are even worth the space they are taking up, or if I should just dump them and use the jars for something else.

The first official taste test...

And... it's a winner! Yea!!

Little Man liked them, too! They are a little different than the store pickles, and I'll be purchasing fresh dill to try this year (I used the dried that I had on hand for this batch)...

But it looks like we'll be putting up a lot of pickles from our 5 plants this year! What we had last year all came from one plant!

What's your garden favorite and what's your favorite item to preserve?


Anonymous said...

How long do we have to wait for the dill pickles before they are ready. I made them this afternoon and didn't even realize until I was done that it doesn't say how long to wait before you can open them.

Ellen Durrer said...

I actually had the same question! We ended up not opening them for about 11 months. I did find this link - that suggests 1 week to 3 months. The longer they sit, the more the flavor.
Thank you for visiting, I hope yours turned out great!