Posts Tagged ‘cucumber’

Cucumbers started late in 2012

An experiment that ended up happening this year was to start cucumbers from seed outdoors in late May instead of early May. When I read what I just wrote it just sounds like no big deal…a couple weeks difference…”so what?”, right?

Well, it has me nervous because by this date I usually have fruit set and instead I have baby plants that haven’t even reached the trellis yet.

I’m also trying a row of bush-type cucumbers. Supposedly these set a good amount of fruit without getting over 2 feet in vine length.

Sweet Relish – Canning a condiment

Above is a modification of a recipe I found online, originally for zucchini sweet relish. I made lots of changes and notes when I wrote down the recipe on the card, but I always kept all the ratios of acidic elements and non-acidic elements essentially the same, so I still trust this as an “approved” canning recipe.

I canned some of this a couple weeks ago and it is truly awesome. It beats any store bought relish I’ve ever had. We had it on buffalo hot dogs with our homemade ketchup.

If you’re going to can this for storage outside the fridge, make sure you know the procedure, as I have massively glossed over the canning instructions here.

My photo did not capture the impressive contrast in this product with white onion, light green cucumber with dark green skin, bright green, red and yellow peppers flecked with brown mustard seeds and black celery seeds.  The red is what really makes it fun.

I grew the peppers and cucumbers that went into this, and used onions from our favorite organic farmer.  The other ingredients came from the store.

I will be trying a double batch very soon using mostly green tomatoes.

Cucumbers growing on a trellis

The cucumbers are growing up the trellis I made from sticks that fell into my back yard this March and April.  I just laid them out on the ground in an arrangement that worked, tied them together with twine and stuck them in the ground.

A homemade cucumber trellis

A homemade cucumber trellis

This is actually (like most of the photos I post) quite a large image, so click on it to see it enlarged.  In many browsers, you then have to click once more to see the full original size.  There is a good amount of detail available if you’d like to look.

Potted cucumbers

 

Cucumbers in a container

Cucumbers in a container

The cucumbers I’m growing on my patio in a container are doing well enough, considering how often they need to be watered.  The bottom leaves are yellowing and dying now, but I’m getting a few veggies from the plant.  Overall I’m happy with it.  It’s a neat decoration, if nothing else.

Canning tomatoes

Mrs. Wages spice packets

Mrs. Wages spice packets

I love Mrs. Wages.  Don’t tell my wife.

Actually, I think my wife loves Mrs. Wages too.

I have harvested over 18 pounds of tomatoes so far this year from the back yard.  I have also learned to do canning in glass jars! I’m very excited about having this skill now.  It’s very comforting to know that I have not only saved the food I’ve grown from rotting unused in the kitchen, but that I’m not counting on the freezer to keep running either. These have all been labeled as experiments to see if our family likes the recipe.

I have canned:

By far my favorite thing has been the sweet pickles. I experimented with cucumber slices ranging in size from 3 inch shorties to a big 8 inch cucumber with semi-developed seeds.  They all taste awesome, but I do like the smaller ones a bit better.

My wife’s favorite, and a close second for me, has been the salsa.  It is truly awesome salsa and I can’t believe I made it myself!  Then again, I’m pretty sure I’m not really allowed to take much credit because I used the Mrs. Wages spice pack.

Using the tomato based spice packets does add a significant cost to the tomato-based products.  $2.25 per packet makes 5 quarts.  I would spend less than half of that on spices if I used my own recipe.

The pickling packets make far more product…10 to 12 pints I think it said, so I’ll definitely continue to use those.

Oh!  I canned up experimental jars of bread & butter Jalapeños and Banana Peppers. The sweet brine flavor was tasty, right at first, with the jalapenos, but then…FIRE!  By *FAR* the hottest jalapenos I had ever tasted.  I’m not going to have another one.  They are HORRIBLE by themselves they are so hot.

By the way…aren’t the quarter-pint jelly jars just FUN?  Too bad they cost the same as halves and full pints.

Garden changing weekend ramble

The lettuces are done.  They never made a head…it just got too warm for them and now they are bitter and milky inside.  I pulled all of them out.  We did eat 5 or 6 salads from the garden.

The last bed of radishes did not form bulbs…headless!  All carrots are coming along slowly, very slowly.

The broccoli is definitely done and I pulled all of them, even the small ones that hadn’t made anything to eat yet.  The cauliflower failed completely, so I pulled some of them and will pull the rest tomorrow. Maybe after I raise the beds higher next year I’ll have better luck with those two.

The cucumber vines are starting to grow.  I can see a little baby cucumber once in a while but I can’t find it the next day.  I’m starting to think I’m not going crazy and that a squirrel or bird or slug or something is taking them.

The zucchini is doing great and has quite a few little veggies growing along for me.

The green peppers, jalapenos, etc are still very small, very slow growing.  I hope they start putting on some size soon and maybe setting some veggies too.

The peas look horrible.  They got started too late because the early planting rotted in the ground. This is a strange wet year.

The watermelons and cantaloupe are growing vines slowly.  I’m not too hopeful about them.

The jackolanterns and pumpkin gourds are doing GREAT.  Taking up a lot of space and growing like crazy…bigger every day.

The green beans seem to be doing fine.  I have them planted in three 4×3 foot sections, planted every 10 days or so to stagger the harvest a bit.  I’ll attempt one more planting of green beans in the bed where the broccoli and cauliflower were, probably early this week.

Today I built a trellis for the supposedly smaller tomatoes that I was planning to just stake up with a short stake.  I wish I could show some pictures but our very nice digital camera is broken.  I’ll have to grab a cheapie for the time being.  I wouldn’t want to lose my loyal fans for lack of pictures.

I transplanted a few extra cucumber plants to a container on the back porch.  We have an old aluminum roof/awning and I’m going to let these cucumbers climb the roof legs.  It might even look decorative.

There is a rather big party here on the 4th of July.  I have to get the garage cleaned up nice enough to serve food in (which will include moving the table saw back into the back corner).  I probably need to move the lumber that was/will be the tree house but I don’t know where else to put it.  I could put it outside the fence, but if the creek floods again it will all float away.  It might just have to stay put as an ugly eyesore in the middle of the yard.  Maybe I’ll get started on putting it back up…I do have 2 full weeks and then some.

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