How My Garden Grows ~ Mid June 2012 ~ Reno, Nevada

My small garden has taken off with the warm nights and hot days we’ve been having lately here in Reno!


Barrel full of Red Onions

Potatoes, Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Tarragon, Rosemary, and Catnip.

Beets…lots of them with garlic to the right and some more onions in front.

3 types of zucchinis on the left with a bunch of beans on the right.

Sugar Peas…there are carrots to the left.

BABY zucs!

Back right ~ japanese eggplant, Left ~ cucumbers, Front ~ pumpkins

Big box has oodles of heirloom tomatoes, two containers on the left have tomatillos.

Lots of different peppers and one basil.

Grapes…lots of grapes forming on the very old vine.

Pears are getting larger…branches are starting to droop.

Finding Different Canning Recipes for Cucumbers

I’ve cucumbers coming out of my ears…guess that is what happens when I put four plants into the ground!

This time, besides more Speedy Dill Pickles I found a couple of recipes that I wanted to try and sort of merged them into one, with a few additions of my own. And I came up with:



You can find the originals I worked with at: Self-reliance: Recession-proof Your Pantry, pg 87 – Aunt Merna’s Chunky Mustard Pickles and Canning & Preserving for Dummies, pg 104 – Pickled Veggies.

All veggies, sans the cauliflower, came from my garden…I’ll try to give you the precise amounts of each one, but sometimes I just had a “handful”, so bare with me.


2 quarts pickle cucumbers, cut into large chunks 1″-2″ skin left on
1 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
3 large carrots, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces then halved
3 Sweet Italian peppers, stemmed and cut into 2″ pieces seeds included
4 Jalapenos, stemmed and seeded cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 Bell peppers (I used red & yellow), stemmed, seeded and cut into large pieces
4 2″-3″ onions – peeled and cut into rings
6 Tomatillos – husked and quartered (that was all that I had ripe after making salsa)
Green beans – handful, I found a plant underneath the tomatillos!
6 yellow pickle peppers

Get your water bath canner ready and jars hot (I had ready 6 quart jars and a couple of pint jars as I wasn’t sure how much my recipe would make. )

Cut all the veggies and put in a large stainless steel pot, glass bowl, or crock. Sprinkle 1 cup kosher salt over veggies and then cover with 4 quarts of water or enough to cover veggies. Let soak for 6 hours or more. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Bring to boil 4 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar in large stainless steel pot.

Mix 1 cup of cleargel (or flour) with 2 cups of water, 1 TBS celery seed, 4 TBS of mustard powder, 2 TBS Tumeric and 1 TBS mustard seed. Blend well and then add to vinegar mixture. Let thicken then add veggies and bring to a rolling boil.

Ladle into your hot prepared jars and leave 1/4″ head space…wipe rims clean and put on lids and rings.

Process for 20 minutes after boiling starts. Higher elevations add 10 minutes. I’m in Northern Nevada so I processed for 30 minutes total. Hook canning rack over the pots rim and let sit for 5 minutes before pulling jars out for cooling.

August 2009 Garden Update ~ Sparks, Nevada

Well…it’s almost the end of August and here is what is left of my garden. I don’t think it produced as well as last year, but I tried different plants than last.

Cucumbers…I’ve oodles of cucumbers. The best producing ones have been the Lemon and the Homemade Pickles. Both I bought as seedlings from the UNCE Plant Sale, and that particular Master Gardener got her seeds from Botanical Interests in Colorado.

Cucumber ~ Homemade Pickles Seeds


They have made many many many pints and quarts of pickles (picture shows lemon and homemade cucs):


Lemon Cucumber Seeds ~ These are tasty little cucumbers!


Spacemaster Cucumbers round out my cucumber plants. It’s not producing as many as the other two…but supplies us with great cucs to slice into salads and add with red onions and vinegar.

Squash…I’ve diddly-squat in the squash department. Squash bugs ate my whole crop. I couldn’t smoosh them fast enough.

I do have a mystery volunteer that is coming up in the decomposed granite in between two of my boxed tomato plants. I’m thinking it’s a winter squash of some sort…or a mutant. Anyone have any ideas?


Tomatillos…I’ve tomatillos coming out of my ears. 🙂 They grow well here in Northern Nevada, that’s for sure. I think I may decrease to 2 plants next year. I’ll be making more salsa soon. I’ll add a bunch into pesole that I plan on canning (going to break out that pressure canner that I got for my birthday soon).

Peppers…peppers ALWAYS do well here! I’ve been picking bell peppers, hungarian stuffing peppers, yellow pickle peppers, jalapeno, cayenne, and sweet italian. I’ve borrowed my sister’s dehydrator and plan on using it and the pressure canner to put up my peppers after roasting them. I read that you can dehydrate peppers even after roasting them. Will be making sauces up and canning them too.

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

The corn did ok, not as well as last year. I planted it in a different spot, guess it didn’t like it much.

The heirloom Brandywine tomatoes did not do well at all. The plant looks ok, it blooms, but then they drop. The heirloom Siberian tomatoes are producing very well.

Beets did great. Carrots not so well. Radishes did well. Brussels sprouts not so well…I finally yanked them as they were full of bugs. Cabbage did great. Cantaloupe got eaten by squash bugs. Horseradish is doing great…well, the top part is really big, not sure about the root part yet.

Herbs do great in my yard. You should see my one sun room…loaded with brown lunch bags of herbs drying. Basil, fennel, chamomile, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage.

Speedy Dill Pickle Recipe ~ Canning for Dummies



I had a request a few posts back about the pickle recipe I used ~ thought I’d post it here.

It came from Canning & Preserving for Dummies (hee! It’s a great book!)…page 102 ~ Speedy Dill Pickes.

This recipe makes an old-fashioned dill pickle in almost the blink of an eye.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Processing time: Quarts, 15 minutes; Pints, 10 minutes
Yield: 3 quarts or 6 pints

4 pounds pickling cucumbers (I used regular cucumbers out of my garden, not pickling ones)
6 TBSP kosher or pickling salt
3 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
1 TBSP whole mixed pickling spices
18 black peppercorns
3 TBSP dill seed (I did not have this on-hand so used fresh dill instead)
Fresh dill sprigs (optional)
I added 2 (one whole clove) halved peeled garlic cloves to each jar

1. Wash cucumbers, leave them whole if they’re smaller than 4 inches in diameter. For larger cucs, cut them in slices or lengthwise, in halves or quarters.

2. Prepare your canning jars and two-piece caps (lids and screw bands) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep jars and lids hot.

3. Combine the salt, water, and vinegar in a 3 to 4 quart saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over hight heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt. Keep the liquid hot.

4. Snuggly pack the cucumbers into your prepared jars. To each quart jar, add 1 tsp of pickling spices, 6 peppercorns, and 1 TBSP of dill seed. To each pint jar, add 1/2 tsp of pickling spices, 3 peppercorns, and 1-1/2 tsp dill seed. If you’re using fresh dill, add a sprig or two to each jar in between the inside edge of the jar and the cucumbers.

5. Ladle the hot liquid into your filled jars, leaving headspace of 1/2 inch in the quart jars and 1/4 inch in the pint jars. Completely submerge the cucumbers in the liquid. If they protrude from the jar, adjust them until you have the proper headspace. Release any air bubbles. Add more liquid to theh jar if needed.

6. Wipe jar rims; seal the jars with the two-peice caps, hand-tightening the bands. Process your filled jars in the water bath – for quart jars, 15 minutes; for pint jars, 10 minutes; both from the point of boiling. *** PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR HIGH ALTITUDE! *** Remove jars with lifter. Place them on a clean kitchen or paper towel away from drafts. After the jars cool completely, test the seals. If you find jars that haven’t sealed, refrigerate and use them within 2 months.

Altitude in Feet ~ Increase in your Processing Time
1,001-3,000 ~ 5 minutes
3,001-6,000 ~ 10 minutes
6,001-8,000 ~ 15 minutes
8,001-10,000 ~ 20 minutes

Since I live in Sparks, NV I had to add 10 more minutes to my hot bath for a total of 20 minutes.

My husband loves these pickles…I only have 1 jar left of the 6. Better make more of them!

Thursday’s Ramblings on Gardens, Sunrises, and Dark Chocolate!

Just some ramblings for Thursday…nothing concrete, not that I’m concrete on any other day! 🙂

Sunrise (taken through my office window yesterday morning) ~

Sunrise, this morning!

I picked my first corn a couple of days ago! OMGOSH! So good! And I cut up the cucumbers with some red onion and poured apple cider vinegar over them. I just love cucs that way.

I decided to try Newman's Own Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ~ I love Reese’s Cups but wanted to try Newman’s dark chocolate ones. I’ve heard good and bad about them.

Well…they were NOT awful, very edible. The peanut butter centers were more powdery/chalky solid than Reese’s. Chocolate was pretty good. All in all, I’d eat them again. Wouldn’t go out of my way to eat them, but wouldn’t turn one down either.

Also wanted to try Green & Black's Organic Bittersweet Dark Chocolate with 70% cocoa content…

those that said Newman’s was AWFUL said they liked Green & Black’s chocolate better. Not sure what drugs they were on…but it must had made them highly delusional! Holy Cow! That was a piece of crap! I had to rinse my mouth out. ACK! I absolutely love dark chocolate…so I took a big ole bite of the bar…BIG MISTAKE! Ugh. Most definitely will never buy that chocolate again.

My chocolate search continues…

Have to get another pumpking shot in…this is my baby one. I can’t wait until October!

We found these eggs in the junipers we tore out of the yard…maybe some scrub jay eggs? There didn’t seem to be much in them. I think they were duds. They’re very pretty. Like someone painted them with brown watercolours!

Leaving you with a pretty flower from Rancho San Rafael ~

23 July 2008: Garden Update ~ Hemp Necklace ~ Flowers

Was surprised to see so many peppers when I was watering last night. They grew so big in a couple of days! Must be the heat. So…does anyone know when peppers are ripe? Do I have to wait until they turn red? Pick ’em green? I have Sweet Italian, Garden Salsa Mix, Caribbean Habanero, Serranos (those I know I can pick green) and something called a Jimboy.

Here are the Sweet Italians ~

And here are the Garden Salsa Pepper Mix…but to me looks like Serranos ~

Have nice size cucumbers and pumpkins!

Cool sunflower, eh? Looks like a Vincent van Gogh sunflower! This one is towards the back of my yard, so it may survive my stupid neighbors picking it!

Yesterday the power went off in our building so one of the Associate Deans let us loose…went home, collected the husband and hit the thrift stores. Lookie at the necklaces that I found at St. Vincent’s and Salvation Army. They will be taken apart so I can use the beads in other projects. Although my niece may like the purple one with the shell.

Tried my hand at making a necklace with 20-lb hemp cord…my husband knows I really really really want the beads in the necklace I made him a while back. So he asked for me to make him a hemp necklace that I could hang the silver pendant of his from. I started with a regular braid then switched to an Atlernating Half Stitch, then back to a braid. I’m getting the hang of it…took me two hours (was watching Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show while making it). Pictures below show the alternating half stitch part. In this first picture you can see the beaded necklace in the upper left with the silver pendant.

And here is a parting shot of the coneflowers in the front of my house this morning. Toodle-loo!