Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In a Pickle

Today I picked our first real harvest.  3 cucumbers, 2 summer squash, 2 chinese red noodle beans, 2 tomatoes, 2 cayenne peppers, and one okra.  I reread all my pickling recipes and am wondering how on earth, one ever gets 3-5 pounds of cucumbers or summer squash or beets even at one time to actually make one of the pickle recipes without purchasing the produce?!

This garden thing is a test of patience and I am about through waiting.  We planted 15 raised beds of vegetables so that we would have enough food to put up to supplement groceries through the rest of the year.  So far, the only thing I seem to have enough of is tomatoes.  Amish paste tomatoes are still green but they are bigger than my fist so it wont take many to fill up even the quart size jars.  Everything else though...its seriously lagging.

Dont get me wrong, the plants are thriving.  There are flowers and mini fruits galore.  Only, they seem to ripen one maddening fruit at a time.  The weather isnt helping either.  During this strange July we have had several days with temps in the low seventies and night temps in the low fifties.  The okra all but stagnated during the last summer weather lull and now the uncharacteristically cool weather will be back again next week.

I know, I am bitching.  This is supposed to be a learning experience and it is certainly the first time I have tried to grow this many things, in my own garden, with my own two hands.  I guess I just expected the payout to be better, like, right away.  :)

Although I have not been keeping track of the number of items I have harvested, I am doing my best at keeping a mental tally of what we have enough of and what we will need to plant more of next year.  One easy way to tell will be the amount of cans stored in the guest room at the end of the season.  Already it seems though, that we will need to plant twice the number of squash, cucumbers, okra, marconi peppers, and beets than we thought sufficient this year.

Granted, the season isnt over yet, but the other crop that seems to be doing very well are the pumpkins.  Although I only planted three kinds (Red Kuri, Long Island Cheese, and Omaha Pumpkin) it appears we may have four different kinds growing which is a bit curious.  Pumpkin seeds tend to look similar so its possible an incorrect seed got into one of the packets I purchased and I just happened to pick that particular seed to start or maybe there was some kind of cross pollination and I have a hybrid of some sort testing away in my garden.  However they turn out, we definitely seem to have enough young fruits on the vine to assure that there will be sufficient harvest come Fall.
I believe this is the Omaha Pumpkin.  They are tall and orange when mature.

This is the Red Kuri.  They are medium sized and will turn neon red when mature.
Mystery Pumpkin

Mystery Pumpkin
One of the last two (or both perhaps) is the Long Island Cheese.  The pumpkins are supposed to be fairly large and tan in color with lobes or segments.  The later photo has the segments but a mottled color and the former has a lighter color that I can see turning tan but, at least for now, its fairly smooth.  One is in the shade and one is in the full sun so its possible the various elements are affecting the appearance of each.  I guess patience and time will tell - go figure.

In the meantime, I am off to research recipes for small batch pickles!


  1. I feel ya. :-( I have been giving it my best for the last several years and this year I pretty much gave up. My tomatoes are almost dead, squash vine borers got the squash, worms got the kale....it looks like Ill have beans at this point. Granted, I didn't try real hard this year (new baby), but after several years in a row...it's just frustrating. I have never been able to grow enough tomatoes to can. I did have a decent amount of cukes last year, but I didn't even get any planted this year. Ugh. Next year will be better...right? :-) PS Hannah Queen has a great pickle recipe on her blog Honey and Jam. It's just one jar and they are tasty! I made them last year.

  2. Maybe look into fermenting pickles. They taste better anyway, and you can keep a jar of brine in the fridge and add cukes as you get them, then bring it out of the fridge to start the fermentation process.

  3. Hi Sarah, I found your comment on my blog about the Amish Paste tomatoes and of course had to come see! This is the third year I've grown Amish Paste and have to say they are very inconsistent in size and shape. Some of them are pear tomato like, others are huge and round like yours. But they are so tasty, fresh, canned, or as sauce.

    I got the Zuchetta seeds in a seed trade. :) So of course I would be happy to trade with you as well.

    Your squashes are beautiful! And yes, it sometimes seems to take awhile to collect enough of anything for a canner load. For things like pickles, I often only can what I'm able because something is better than nothing.

    1. Yay! That's so great of you. :)
      What do I have growing that you want seeds for? What fun!

  4. Oh I agree! Every year I say I'm going to make pickles and I never get enough pickling cucumbers at the same time!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you join us again this week!

    ~Lisa M

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