Friday, August 7, 2009


I love braiding garlic. It takes something that would otherwise look like this:

And turning it into this:

Not all garlic is braidable. My top photo is of the variety "Music," which is a hardneck garlic. The stiff shaft that runs in the center of the head makes it not conducive to braiding. The second photo is of Inchelium Red, a softneck variety. I clean the heads, chop off the roots, and lay them in the shade until the necks are pliable. Then I follow these instructions. The braids last for months without unravelling, and doesn't it look so much prettier?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pickles in Progress

I made a batch of refrigerator pickles with my first "large" harvest of cukes last Friday. I don't have a crock (yet), and I don't grow enough to merit a whole crockful of pickles (yet).

Three pounds of cukes is just enough for five pint jars of dill refrigerator pickles, though! Instead of putting the cukes in brine in a crock, you pour hot brine over the cukes in a large bowl, let them sit until they're room temp, and then put them in pint jars. The recipe, from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving said to let them sit in the fridge for two weeks. That's the hardest part of the recipe.... I tried one on Monday, and it was pretty close. Still a little salty, but the cuke was nice and crispy and full of dilly, vinegary yumminess. Can I wait until August 14th to eat them? I don't think so.

Now, what to do with the next batch of cukes....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

July Harvest Tally

For the month of July, here's what was taken from my garden:

11.2 lbs cherries
9.3 lbs peas
6.7 lbs hardneck garlic
5.2 lbs softneck garlic
5.2 lbs strawberries
3.9 lbs pickling cucumbers
2.6 lbs lettuce
1.5 lbs cabbage
1.6 lbs onions
1.1 lbs tomatoes
0.1 lbs basil

for a total of 48.4 lbs of food for the month. This is a little (0.6 lb) less than last year. However, last year I had planted lots of potatoes, and had brought in 25 lbs of them during the month of July. So I'm very pleased with the fact that I was able to make up for all those potatoes!

The hot weather has been responsible for the early tomatoes and cukes. Here we say that it's either a "tomato summer" or a "cabbage summer." Last year I didn't get my first tomato until August 22nd, and my first cuke on August 30! Last year was definitely a cabbage summer, and this year a tomato summer.

Looking ahead, I only brought in 30 lbs of produce during the month of August last year. It'll be interesting to see if I can beat that number, as I've been really lax replanting salad greens and getting the autumn garden going - my excuse is that it's been too hot. This week it's finally cooling down, so that excuse is out the window!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Oooh, between running kids to this camp and that, dealing with garden stuff, it's been too hot to sit at the computer, and generally being under the weather. I'll try to be better about posting.