Sunday, August 3, 2014

Garden Update from John, Chief Gardener

Hi friends! Checking in with a garden update. We had a nice soaking rain yesterday and the garden is looking great. 

Musque De Provenance Pumpkins.  Just blooming and beginning to produce fruit.  
We have been picking and freezing Rodcor yellow wax beans and Provider snap beans.  I started picking Northern Pickling cucumbers this week and did some pickling yesterday while Jan was out.
Whole dill pickles packed in jars ready to have lids placed and be processed. 

Processed dill pickles with red chili pepper. 
Processed bread & butter and whole dill pickles.
The whole dills are one of the easiest, yet enjoyable items you can process. Great for first time canners. I used this recipe:

Kosher Dill Pickles:
From The Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book
For each quart:
1/2 pound pickles, 4 inch size (5 or 6 cucumbers)
4 heads fresh dill, or 2 tablespoons dillseed
1garlic clove (optional)
1 small piece dried hot pepper (optional)
2 1/4/ cup water
3/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon of pickling salt
Rinse cucumbers and remove stem and blossom end. Pack cucumbers into hot clean quart jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add dill, garlic and pepper. Make a bring by combining water, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil and pour hot brine over cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rim, adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let pickles stand one week before opening.

New this year, I used the Ball Pickle Crisp, so we will see if the pickles end up crisper than normal. 

Honey Harvesting and Bee Status 

Our lone bee hive.  We are down to one hive this year, but it is thriving.  I harvested two supers of honey earlier this year and will probably pull one more in August.  The two wide supers at bottom of the hive is where the queen generally lays eggs, and the shallow supers at the top are where the honey is stored. 
Bee pollinating some of our squash.  The bees in the garden keeps me company while I weed.  
Harvested and bottled honey.

Honey in jars to be given to family and friends.  Half, one, and two pound jars.

Cover Crops
Pumpkins planted late with buckwheat growing as a cover crop to suppress weeds.  I generally hoe down the buckwheat as the pumpkins spread and grow.  And the bees love the buckwheat!
Cover crops have become an important part of my gardening rotation.  Buckwheat, rye, clover, radishes, and other crops have been useful in weed suppression and adding organic matter to the garden. 

See you next time! Happy gardening!

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