My Growing Garden in Sparks, Nevada

Had an extra long Fourth of July weekend…yesterday I took the first of 12 unpaid furlough days. Spent yesterday in the garden, napping, crocheting, and bowling. I bowled a 121 my second game…was doing an Irish jig (if you knew my average was in the 80-90’s you’d do the jig right along with me! 🙂 )

Anyhoo…am going to post some pictures of my garden. Seems to be a bit slow this year, probably was all the cool weather we had earlier in June.

On Friday I picked some of my beets and onions to pickle them…wanted to take some up to Truckee area for the Fourth of July. I didn’t can them in a water bath…figured we’d eat most of them up so I just put them in the frig. With the leftover beet brine I made a variation of Dilly Beans with the green beans and some dill that I also picked Friday morning.

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I have two heads of cabbage, I yanked about 4 other cabbage plants as I really didn’t have the room for them in the bed. They’re a nice size now…even have two recipes lined up for them.

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Edna Mae's Escalloped Cabbage Recipe

The other recipe is from my Cooking from Amish Country book…I’ll bring the recipe tomorrow.

I’ve about 8 Brussels Sprout plants with these guys growing on ’em…

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Peppers are setting on the plants…

Hungarian Stuffing Peppers

Hungarian Stuffing Peppers

Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne Peppers


Sweet Italian Peppers

Sweet Italian Peppers


Yellow Pickle Peppers

Yellow Pickle Peppers

Corn was knee high by the Fourth of July; will be picking the first of my heirloom maters this week!; Hearts of Gold cantaloupe growing well; grey squash finally setting on; have lots of different kinds of cucumbers growing; oodles of tomatillos; green bush beans have been producing well; yellow wax beans are coming along; I’ve onions and garlic ready to be picked; and I’ve already harvested quite a bit of the herbs, shared them with coworkers and have some up drying.

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The Great Beet Massacre of Sparks, Nevada

BULLETIN NEWS FLASH! Woman Found Red-handed Massacring 16 Beets in Sparks, Nevada! Ohhhh!!! The HUMANITY of It All! Stay tuned for details!

That would have been the headline on the evening news if anyone saw my kitchen on Saturday afternoon…my first attempt at making Pickled Beets.

What was I thinking? I’ll tell you one thing I was thinking…Beets are pretty hard to peel! It’s not as easy as it sounds! And messy! I’m soooo glad my husband was out of the house when I massacred the beets!

First I boiled the beets for about 30-40 minutes…roots intact with about 2″-3″ of tops.

Then put them in a cold bath. Once somewhat cooled I cut off the root and tops…then pondered how to skin’em. I read that you could just slip the skin off after boiling them. HA! They lied! My sink looked like this when I was finished…

All I kept thinking was “those damned beets are gonna stain my wood floor and 80 year old sink!” Thank goodness for bleach spray.

Then I sliced them about 1/4″ thick…

During all that ~ I had simmering (after a boil) on the stove a pot of sliced onions, apple cider vinegar, sugar, water, salt, and a bag of pickling spices.

Which was then added to the beets and then simmered for 3 minutes before adding to the canning jars…took 40 minutes in the hot bath due to high altitude adjustments. Was able to get 5 pints out of it all.

Oh yeah…made 5 more pints of Kosher Dill Pickles too. We ate all the ones I canned from the garden!