If I've said it once, I just may have said it a hundred times this year… I love gardening!
More precisely, what I love at this very moment is reaping the rewards of all my efforts, as I bring my delicious, organic produce in to my kitchen!
Here's my sweet little girl, showcasing our first 8 pickling cucumbers for you. Yesterday we washed and cut these little babies up, and made a batch of genuine pickles (as in, the old-fashioned fermented ones, a la Nourishing Traditions). We've done this once before, and I didn't post about it, because it was a flop. The reason it was a flop, however, it because I apparently don't like to follow directions well.
The recipe said to leave the jar of pickles out in a warm place (on the counter, in a pantry, etc.) for 3 days, no more, no less, and then put it in cold storage (ie. the fridge). Sounds simple, right? You'd think I could handle that.
But noooooo, I decided that 3 days couldn't possibly be enough, and set out to leave them for a week. Well, I forgot and left them for 2 weeks! What were supposed to be crunchy dills turned out to be soggy, mushy, yucky cucumber slices. Not so appetizing. This time, I actually put a little sticker on top of the jar reminding myself of what day to transfer them to the fridge!
These 3 bad boys are from my extremely productive zucchini plant. I've tried to pick my zucchini smaller than this, but it was cold and rainy for a bit, and by the time I remembered to go out and check for zucchini, there were three big ones already!
That's okay, because I'm going to use one to make a zucchini lasagna for us since we're on Phase 1 of the Maker's Diet and are not eating grains (does anyone have a good recipe?). The rest will be grated and frozen. Did you know you can do that with extra zucchini? I had no idea, but I was talking to one of the older women in my care group the other night (I hope that's not insulting- she's not old, just older than me!), and mentioned my proliferate zucchini, and she told me that's what she always does. I am going to have enough bags of shredded zucchini to make bread and muffins and spaghetti sauce and meatloaf all year long!
I wish very much that I could say this was from my garden, but sadly, it is not. I do have a plant that's growing this very variety of watermelon (sugar baby), but all of my seedlings died in our June cold snap, and had to be replanted. It's growing well again now, but I'm not sure I'm going to see any fruit that actually matures.
I just had to show this watermelon anyways because the amazing produce market I go to had several different varieties, aside from the typical hybrid watermelon that everyone else sells (which I find mildly bland). Not this heirloom, though. Oh no. It is bursting with flavor and it has real watermelon seeds (not the wimpy ones that you can just chew) that make you want to have a spitting contest. This is the real thing. Hooray for heirloom varieties!
May I also just say that whoever told you when you were 7 that you couldn't eat watermelon seeds because one would grow inside your stomach was so very, very wrong? Trust me. They don't grow that easily. I think we're all safe.
Aside from all of this bounty, I've got yellow onions drying underneath my porch stairs, carrots waiting to be picked, oodles of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes getting ready to ripen, Lemon and Japanese Long cucumbers getting bigger every day, corn that has ears growing (I can't believe I'm growing corn!), hordes of winter squash taking over my yard, and even two little teeny peppers on the plant!
A couple weeks ago I planted more carrots and broccoli. Today I ordered some spinach and garlic (oh yes- if you want garlic for this fall- go order it tomorrow- I'm not kidding, or you will miss out as I almost did!), and I've got more pea, beet, turnip, radish, lettuce and carrot seeds awaiting. Too. much. fun. :)
Where are your gardens at? What are your plans for fall gardening? I assume I'm one of the latest ones for being in the midst of my summer harvest, being so far North. What have you all been harvesting and preserving so far?