Friday, August 23, 2013

Pickling and Planting

The cucumbers were coming on strong this week, so I made the last of the pickles that I needed for the year. Last year I made a full batch of bread and butter pickles, but I only ate half of them. So this year I made half a batch.

Nancy suggested freezer dill pickles, which I had never heard of before. So I looked them up and decided to experiment with them too. My mind won't accept that you can really freeze a dill and it won't be limp and lifeless when unfrozen, but the reviews say they come out crispy. I'll break them open during winter after the refrigerator dills are all gone.

I also froze some beans. Sadly the green beans all have rust, so they won't be long for this world. It seems I won't get sick of green beans this year. Too bad.

Today was the time for another round of planting. I want to succession plant Asian greens (tatsoi, bok choy, and mizuna) every three weeks. I think I planted the last ones about two weeks ago, so I'm ahead of schedule. That is fine. I Have room for one more planting. When that is done the first one planted will be ready to be pulled up.

As you might notice in the above photo, I only had part of the bed with row cover supports. I brought in some more to get the other side of the bed lifted. So far the netting is working out OK. I do have one rip in it. I'm not sure what from. It isn't bad enough yet to fix. We also don't have a swarm of cabbage butterflies this year. Last year there were tons in the garden. But this year I rarely see them. And then when I do they are in singles, not in packs. This year has also seen the number and variety of wasps go up. I wonder if that is the reason for the lack of butterflies. I haven't seen many other kinds of butterflies either except in the spring.

I also wanted to deal with my zucchini bed. It was making the path impassible and was covered in powdery mildew. Also it wasn't producing. The last being the worst part. So I ripped out all the dying leaves. And I cut off all the weak side shoots. The plant above has only produced one single zucchini. Hopefully it will now do more.

This is the second zucchini plant. As you can see the plants have lots of female blossoms, but they all turn yellow and drop before they put anything out. The third zucchini plant does give me zukes. But at one or two a week, I'm hardly drowning in zucchini. I've yet to give any away. I put tomato cages around plants 1 and 2. I'll see if I can contain them in those and let them grow up instead of sprawling. I love the Costata Romanesca zucchinis but they have vines like a winter squash, not like a zucchini so they go everywhere. Maybe next year I'll try another variety. Something that doesn't sprawl as much.


  1. Let me know how the freezer dills work out. I don't have enough room in my freezer to try them this year, and I only grew slicing cukes. My daughter loves dills, and I always make refrigerator ones for her. The slicers don't really stay all that crisp. I whacked back my zucchini and it put forth new growth. I got my first zuke from the new section, and I see another one almost ready to pick. I didn't get a whole lot of them this year, but I sure did miss a few that got huge. Crooknecks have been more prolific, and I just found out my daughter has been buying them at the store! I guess she doesn't read her mother's blog.

  2. From what I understand freezer pickles only work when sugar is included. I have made Lnda Ziedrich's freezer pickles in "The Joy of Pickling." They are not overly sweet, and they do come out unbelievably crisp.

  3. Your canned pickles look so pretty. Hubby doesn't eat sweet pickles but I may make up a small batch of sweet refrig ones. Good luck on your zucchini. I haven't had much luck with it again this year. You are so on the ball with your fall planting! Nancy

  4. One of the reasons why I don't often grow many cucurbits is that they do tend to take up a lot of space. I'd love to grow some of the big Winter Squashes, but I really don't have room for them. We have the opposite situation to you with the white butterflies. We have hordes of them - but also plenty of the other types too, which is nice since they have been very scarce for a number of years.

  5. I have quite a few cabbage moths that fly around, but I have not had a cabbage worm show up in the three or four years that I've had Sweet Williams in the garden. They certainly seem to love them, and I've seen them flutter around the broccoli and cabbages on occasion, but always go back to the flowers. I did see one little green worm on the ground, but it was by the flowers. I don't know if it's the Sweet Williams that are keeping the brassica worm free or not, but it sure looks like it. Now, if I could just find something to keep the slugs out of the cabbage :-(