Thursday, August 29, 2019

Midwest Gardening August 2019 Part 1 Vegetables

Ad-Free Blog
Midwest Gardening Part 1
Vegetable Garden August 28th, 2019
 I've split my gardening into two posts....Now, for the CROPS!

August 28th picking, plus peppers we ate for dinner (4) 5 small zucchini and some pickles I put in the refrigerator.

From my kitchen I can see out to the EAST is the DILL. I joked and said enough to supply Heinz pickles, LOL.

Again, I planted extra this year, just for the butterflies. Each day I scan these stalks for larvae happily munching and sucking on the stems. We are going to let this seed this whole fenced section, for next year. Fences are for bunnies and do nothing for woodchucks, raccoons, moles or ground squirrels. And, bugs of course go everywhere.

Further down the fence we have our late pickles, which have been bearing well. Some of the leaves are curling, but lots of blossoms. Empty now--hubby picked a whole shoebox full on Wednesday. We also have squash wandering along the fence. lower. I tried to train them up, with no success. Hubby says they are dark green hardshell squash. When (IF) we get one, I'll share the name.

Down further and into the fence in the garden are more squash vines. Butternut seems to be the most successful this year. Thank goodness we had started them in pots and transplanted. They will certainly need another month at least to be ripe.

Butternut squash is a family favorite, and great keepers. This one is about 12" long now. More than one of these has wandered over into the neighbor's side hanging on the fence.

This one is hidden in the leaves and very long. I missed taking the ones hanging on the fence when I took photos...I'll get them in mid-september on another post.

The back of the garden has the BigBoy tomatoes we started from seed. They are winding down, and it is a toss-up whether we pick them or the critters chew them. I'm thinking raccoons because the toothholes are so big.

Leaves are starting to curl and some dried up---

The heat contributes to the 'burn off' on the plants.  On Monday, I will pick everything that is turning at all and ripen them in the house on trays! Then we will pull the vines and keep them separate from the weeds for mulching. 

Behind the greenhouse is NO MAN"S LAND. I had this all cleaned out---but it is a jungle again. Anything could be growing back there. When it is long pants weather, I will venture back there.

I know there is chives back there, I cut them in spring, before blossoming and dried them.

The garden side of the greenhouse has some zucchini still quite happy, and I'm sure there are some lurking in there somewhere.

The wood in the upper left corner is from the green house.
Our beans and pickles grew on all these contraptions...we will be pulling some of the lattice out now, and moving them. Rotating crops is always a good idea. We really try to do GREEN and organic gardening, so beans will be moved. The bedspring on the other side has been super for the cucumbers. The downside is BUGS. 

Hubby planted 6 giant Kolrabi in the garden. They were doing very well, until the excessive heat and bugs. I'm guessing if or when they are full size (about the size of a softball) they will be woody. We will see. Think of kohlrabi as American Jicama..juicy, crunchy and tasty.

My lettuce by the Dill gave out two weeks ago. But this planter is still doing well. Monday, I will plant 3 planters with new lettuce. I'm using this for Sunday. We are having a family Trout Boil...always a favorite.

My green onions are looking like these...more stalk then onion. We have two planters with red. We plant to transplant these to the garden for growing into next year to full size!

Here's some zucchini that gave up---one blossom, left. They produced lots though. 
Not using mulch on the Garden cloth---has been successful. Hubby doesn't do weeds, and I've not been able to do that much in the garden. Walking on squishy ground is very hard on my knee. Today it was quite firm and I pulled quite a bit.

This is white onions...that didn't do much, seeds planted late, like everything else.

We only got 3-4 pickings of beans but tons of zucchini.

In the past, I showed how to ripen tomatoes. Usually two-three days in this east window and anything ripens.

As our crops slow down---there will be time to do the inside of the greenhouse, and stain the wood on the outside. We need to add the insulation, wire some lights, and clean all the containers and arrange the storage. I definitely want a tool rack, and some cute stuff in there also. Hubby isn't into cute, so everything will have to be 'functional' cute! 
Water will be hooked up. We will try moving the peppers in pots in, and lettuce in planters through Fall, just to see how warm it stays.

 For this year, Chicagoland gardening has been cold, wet, cold, wet, wet, cold, then hotter than HADES and more wet...dry for 3 weeks, then wet and now---simply gorgeous. You just never know!

I will be sure to commiserate or answer any questions, and please let me know... 


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Garden Recipes: Canning Memories

Ad-Free Blog
Hello, sweet Readers!

So, I know we ALL have our favorite recipes for eating from the garden. One of the favorites here is Pickles: dill, sweet, refrigerator pickles, and my last post was fresh Danish Dill pickles.

Refrigerator Fresh Danish Dill Pickles: HERE!

A photo from last year,  Green Gardening with Swallowtail caterpillars feasting on Dill:  POST HERE.

We planted extra dill this year, of which we will let some seed, BECAUSE, seems the butterflies, especially Monarchs, like to lay their eggs on it, and the caterpillars feast on the juicy stems. This happens late in the season, so it is no loss of Dill, I actually have enough to keep Heinz pickles in stock, this year.

I learned how to can and freeze fresh food, when Mom and I used to do food canning during the summer up at their cottage in Wisconsin. The cottage was an old 1853 Farmhouse, you know the kind that start out as two rooms and then more rooms were added on---in every direction. 

Well, the  old cottage originally had a wood stove in the kitchen. Gosh, MOM just loved the old-fashioned way of cooking everything, even heating water for dishes before we added a water heater. There was a hand crank water pump in the kitchen connected to a cistern, water we used for washing floors and clothes. 

Anyway, the Wautoma area was the pickle and tomato capital of Wisconsin, and we would can tomatoes, and lots of other things, too.

This years tomatoes are gorgeous! Canning tomatoes post: here.Preparing Tomatoes for Canning or Freezing and Canning Tomatoes in January. Yes, you can freeze tomatoes whole in the skins and then can them. Perfect idea when you only have a few at a time, Freeze and save for a big batch. 

Today I did that big bowl tomatoes and 4 bags from the freezer. This made 19 pints this morning! Here, whole tomatoes are keeping warm and waiting to go into the water bath. 

Our one Son's favorite Corn relish: Canning Corn Relish

My Mom and I concocted this recipe from our supermarket brand canned zucchini ingredients list in the 1970's: Zucchini in Stewed Tomatoes  It's absolutely delicious!

We also did, 
green beans, three bean salad, wild plum jam, and lots of pickles: watermelon pickles, pickled beets, pickled choke cherries, slippery Jims, Dill, Sweet, and relishes. These were always shared with extended family members.We even tried Mom's favorite chutney--but nobody liked that. 

Fall was for canning jars of apple butter, apple sauce, pumpkin butter, and lots of baking for the freezer. We kept that old stove a-cranking, when it finally died (the grates disintegrated and we had a 'modern' stove, I don't think it was as much fun!

What sort of foods do you put up
 from your own garden? 
Please Share in comments: feel free to put a link back to your recipe post!

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.You can send me a note and just ask, though.

Thanks for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
Thank you for your cooperation,

I will post at the following Link Parties, I hope you visit them. 

 Sandi Magle

Danish Fresh Dill pickles

Ad-Free Blog

Our Green Garden was so late, but, we were excited when the cucumbers finally started the end of July. Hubby was enthusiastic and planted four different kinds of seeds. It's so nice to use your own cucumbers, free of pesticides and harmful chemicals. 
And cucumbers that are fresh and not waxed, like the store ones--last far longer in this recipe.

Here's a couple of different ones, the fat one is kinda big, but very fresh, so perfect for fresh pickles. This is my Danish grandmother's recipe for Agurksalat, or Cucumber salad.   

Very few ingredients, fresh cucumbers sliced very thin, salt, white wine vinegar, touch of sugar, water, and fresh dill--the feathery part of the dill plant.

In a glass bowl---sprinkle maybe a quarter cup of salt over a bowl of sliced cucumbers...Mix well. (I peel thick skinned cucumbers, but leave the thin skinned ones with skin.)
(IF you wish to add onions, add ratio of 4 parts cucumbers to 1 part white onions, sliced very thin or green onions sliced very thin.)

Push all the cucumbers to the center, place a saucer on top that fits in the bowl, and a heavy weight. This is a huge jar of peanut butter. Let this sit, room temperature for a few hours, or until the cucumbers have weeped enough water to cover themselves. 

Here you can see the water. This water has to be squeezed out, you can put all of the pickles in a towel, rinse well with cold water, (you want to remove all that salt). Ball up the towel,  and then turn and squeeze the juice out until nothing more comes out. 
You can put them back in the original bowl, or maybe a smaller covered glass container. 

Add some sprigs of fresh dill (I used 4), just lay them in the dish.
Make a brine of two parts water, one part white wine vinegar, start with sugar-1/4 to 1/2 the amount of vinegar. (We like them not too sweet, so when you taste the brine, it's first a bit sweet, but then the vinegar kicks in and still goes up your nose) Add more vinegar or sugar to taste. Pour this over the cucumbers, chill, covered.

Example of brine for say 3-4 small to medium cucumbers (not too big)
1 cup of water, 
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 
I start with 1/4 cup of sugar and then add. If you need more, add to taste. (Sprinkle of white pepper optional)
Make more brine if you have lots of cucumbers. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month, but they never last that long, LOL.

This first batch didn't last very long---and I had my lunch of tomato basil hummus on multi grain bread and a healthy dose of my Danish Dill Pickles, NUM.

Grandmother would say,  "There you go to eat!" or
Vaer sa god at spise!