Quilts for Sale

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pickle Time

Love the little tendrils on the cucumber vines.

We love gardening.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I love reaping the benefits of our garden.  My DH has been amending the soil here with organic materials since 1972.  With the addition of compost, leaves, grass clippings and scraps such as egg shells, peelings and coffee gounds, he's turned the formerly hard red Carolina clay into wonderful, fertile, 97% organic soil.  An entire year's worth of rich compost, as well as leaves are double-tilled into the earth each year.  We have an agreement with a neighbor to pick up his bagged grass clippings for soil amendment.  It makes it easy to gather the bags once his gardeners complete their work.  We also pick up bags of grass put out for trash pickup.  Many on our street use commercial lawn crews, making it easy for us to obtain other organic materials.

It's always a struggle for me to convince my DH that my perennial garden needs compost too.  I may have to begin my own or start buying mushroom compost - the best! I don't work my area of soil as diligently as Bill.  After all, I grew up on a farm in Illinois which has some of the richest, black dirt anywhere.  One could dig it with a teaspoon - effortlessly.  Trying to dig the hard clay is very labor intensive.

Our bounty is great, so we share veggies with neighbors.  My DH, Bill, has a reputation for being the "garden authority" on our street.  He's even conducted tours for the little kids and their parents, hoping  to spur them on to having gardens themselves one day.  Several have started, but have either not amended their soil enough, planted cool weather crops in the middle of summer, or tried to grow veggies in shade.  They'll come around, I'm sure.

Ten pounds of sliced cucumbers and onions!

Today was pickle making day.  Bill was given a recipe for refrigerator pickles which have become his favorite.  I like them too, but not the fact that they take up so much refrigerator space.  My favorites are the bread and butter pickles from Irma Rombauer's "The Joy of Cooking."  Those pickles can be stored in the pantry.

Figs next door are almost ripe.  Few people know, but the place has been unoccupied for over 15 years.  The owners show up occasionally to do yard work and have given us total access to their figs. Tomatoes are coming in like gangbusters.  And I'm determined to freeze more blueberries.

I'll be freezing peaches soon, a task postponed from a few days ago.  My concentration these days is trying to find our diningroom table.  I know it's in there somewhere!  Tomorrow will be day three.  Just ridiculous, my inability to throw things out!  I see a giant yard sale in my future!

I think we'll have a tomato pie very soon.  Check back tomorrow for the pickle recipe.


O'Quilts said...

Ellen, Thx for the soil enrichment tip. Now what about the deer???? Help, my hostas are to the soil line all eaten up, tomatoes are eaten while they are still flowers.

Ellen Guerrant said...

We do not yet have a deer problem, although one was sighted in the front yard of a home 4 houses away. There are deer in back of the houses across the street, which back up to a woods.
Since the animals are so close, I'd best look into that. I have no idea except to know that once it starts, it's a huge problem. A woman in the mts. told me she plants dill all around her garden, as the deer hate it. Love your profile picture.