Good day, good day. The weather cooperated, though I didn't get much done in the garden. I did dig around about a foot down into my yukon gold bed and didn't find anything. I was afraid to dig too much so I gave up. Whatever's in there will hold for a while so I'm going to let them cook a bit more. I may even cover them to keep the rain from providing irrigation.
But good news, I found flowers on my cantaloupe! Tomorrow they should be big enough to tell if they're male or female. Of course they should be male first, followed by females a few weeks later. But you can bet I'll be hand pollinating any female flower I find!
We also were hoping to pick some berries or maybe harvest some plums, but their not ready yet. DoubleD's right when she says in years past we'd have harvested all there was to harvest by now. Here's to hoping there will be plums and blackberries to harvest this year. Without it, there will be no PB&J sandwiches for a year, for my kids or I. Yep, I regularly eat them for lunches or even dinners if I get home way late. But I can't remember when I've had store-bought jam or jelly, and I'm not going to start now.
Speaking of preserving, we did harvest five more mini-cukes for pickling. Then, for the larger ones, we cut them into fourths (wedges) and started the pickling process. To begin with, we mixed up the pickling spices from a recipie found on the net and raiding my mother's and brother's spice racks.
The only things we're misisng here is Mace (whatever that is), and dill seed (we figured we had fresh). Then we cut up the cucumbers...
The next step was to layer cucumbers, spices and dill. But wait, I've got to show you my farmer's market dill find (thanks to my brother for calling me to tell me about it). It's so tall it took two pictures to get it all in, hehe.
That's right, they were 3 feet tall and my house smelled like dill even before I started marinading. So here's one of the layers of pickles to be...
Note that we threw in six cloves of garlic from my brother's garden, then came the thick layer of fresh dill. I had more than needed so I laid it on heavy. Why not?
So, now that mix is marinading in vinegar and that mess for the next 4 weeks in the garage with a plate weighed down to keep it submerged. It says it will have foaming and scum. So in anticipation of that, my corn pot (I'm not needing that this season /sigh) is resting in a pastry/cookie sheet. The mix smells great! Much better on my wife than the bread and butters did.
We also would love to can some beans since I've got far too many to eat for all three of our families. But all my mother's canning books say you need to use a pressure cooker to preserve any veggie without acid in it. We don't have a pressure cooker. Anyone experienced with preserving know of a way to can beans or the like without a pressure cooker? The last thing I need is MORE kitchen tools.
Anyway, in case you thought I just sat around eating bon bons the rest of the day, I also started making a loaf of no-kneed sourdough bread. And my mother is pleased that her white flour starter is 90% ready for her to take home. But since you're probably tired of the progression shots, here is the current finished product.
It needs to sit under plastic for 18 hours. Tomorrow morning I'll do the final proof and bake it! I can't wait. Tonight I thought of something. We've got that rosemary plant that's taking over our yard. I bet that would be great in sourdough bread. The possibilities are endless. Now if only I can bake it without my make-shift cloche breaking on me.
Also, I took a few more pics of my garden. Enjoy...
Here are some tomatoes that are almost done...
And here is a funny S'shaped broccoli plant that grew leggy behind the cauliflower. It's twin we harvested tonight and I essentially boiled it in the microwave along with some frozen corn for the rest of the family and it was very tasty! Yay! It may not be as healthy as lightly steaming it, but if I'm eating it, it's better than nothing. Same will go for the beans thanks to the peanut gallery!
And here are Judy's marigolds. Funny that my brother hadn't heard of marigolds as an amazing companion plant. But they're pretty also. At least I think so.
However, if they're supposed to draw in bees to pollinate anything, it's not working. hehe\
Lastly, I've been hanging out at Freedomgardens.org with some new local and not-so-local garden buddies, most of whom are either existing or homesteaders in training, so I'm learning a ton. Anyway, there was talk about clothes lines for drying laundry, and how they're hit and miss in the PNW where it can rain at a moment's notice. Tough to get your clothes dry if they get wet. Here's what we've done to dry almost all our shirts, pants and some other laundry.
It was a quick re-build after my father grabbed a hold of it to keep from falling off a ladder, ripping the old one from the ceiling. It works. Cheap PVC desigend to fit a very small laundry room!
Yeah, I know, this is a gardening blog, so why am I bothering with making bread, pickles and saving energy. Tis the season for saving money and preserving what we grow.
Hope you enjoy it!