This is shaping up to be a good garden year. Earlier this spring, I planted Thomas Laxton and Laxton's Progress peas and we harvested over 20 pounds of sweet, delicious peas. Most were consumed fresh but we were able to put a few pounds away in the freezer for future dinners. If all goes well, we'll grow one more round of peas in the Fall. By the way, both of these English pea varieties are excellent. The Laxton's Progress produce larger pods and are a bit sweeter in my opinion, but you can't go wrong with either. To learn about freezing peas and other veggies, check out my prior posting on Freezing & Using A Vacuum Sealer.
We have also harvested and enjoyed the last of the Artichokes. Artichokes are in the thistle family and are very easy to grow. They just need to be waterered and nature takes care of the rest.
If you're growing garlic and onions you have either harvested them or are just about to do so. The onions we grew this year are a variety called Red Weathersfield and the garlic is a medium hot hardneck variety called Purple Glazer. Both are excellent and it never seems we have enough of either. For those interested in growing garlic, you should be aware that it is planted in the Fall and harvested the next Spring/Summer. If you would like to add garlic to your garden, plan on buying garlic sets in September. To learn more about growing and harvesting garlic, see my postings on planting garlic, overwintering garlic and onions, and how to harvest and store garlic.
In the past, I've grown an Alpine strawberry variety called mignonette. This variety is an intensely perfumed and delicious berry, but the strawberries are only a little bigger than a garden pea...Tasty but too time consuming to harvest for the amount you get, so this year I planted a June bearing variety called Sequoia and an everbearing variety called Quinalt. Both produced well in the first year and fresh picked strawberries from the garden leave supermarket berries in the dust.
Our cucumbers have been rolling in for the last several weeks now. In our family, we tend not to eat many cucumbers in salads, so all the varieties we grow are bred for pickling. For long-term storage, pickles should be canned using a pressure canner. However, you can make "quick pickles" that will last in the refrigerator for a few weeks when stored in brine. The brine is made from water, vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonings. The seasonings vary but include things such as bay, dill, mustard seeds, garlic, etc. To quick pickle, you throw all the ingredients into a pot and bring them to a boil. Then you place sliced cucumbers into a jar and pour the brine over it. When the pickles come to room temperature, you place them in the refrigerator. That's all there is to it! If you do an Internet search, you'll find plenty of these recipes. Just choose one that appeals to you. Quick pickling is so fast and easy that you can a bunch of these recipes to find a few favorites.
Sadly, we are now approaching the end of our green bean harvest after having harvested them for at least the last three weeks. The variety shown below is Slenderette from Renee's Seeds. This was a new variety for us this year and, when I planted it, I hought they would be particularly tender due to their slender shape. As it turns out, they are not really any more tender than other varieites. Burpee's Tenderpod is the variety to beat.
In my next posting, I'll let you know about a variety of Wheat I grew this year called Frassinetto. I harvested it a few weeks ago and have put away the wheat berries which we plan to grind into pasta flour.