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

homemadepickle_august

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

august_pickles

Lemon Cucumber Seeds ~ These are tasty little cucumbers!

lemon_cuc

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?

mysterysquash1

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

****HEY ALL! COME BACK AND LET ME KNOW HOW YOUR PICKLES TURNED OUT! 🙂 ****

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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.

SPEEDY DILL PICKLES ~
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.

~~~~ HIGH-ALTITUDE PROCESSING TIMES! ~~~~
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!