Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pickle Farmer

When people asked me what I was going to do in New Hampshire, I'd jokingly reply "pickle farmer," which would make Big Show laugh every time.  But now, I'm a legit pickle farmer!  My cucumber crop is out of control - it's like Little Shop of Horrors - the cucumber vines (despite the fact that I generously provided them with tomato cages to grow on) are taking over - surrounding the eggplants.  Here's a look under the leaves:

I harvest 4 cucumbers a day - with the prospect of tons more, as indicated by mini cukes and more flowers.  Check out this beast I got yesterday, the big one on the bottom:

Of course, growing cucumbers does not make one a pickle farmer - I had to make actual pickles to attain that certification. I made Alton Brown's bread and butters, kinda sorta sours, and then improvised my own garlic horseradish variety, by modifying AB's sour recipe (i replaced the champagne vinegar with white vinegar, left out the onions, quadrupled the garlic and added about 3 inches of grated horseradish root - BOOM).  So I currently have three different jars of homemade pickles in the fridge (note - you can eat these after 24 hours or less - they don't take weeks to cure).

My wife put together a sour cherry cobbler, with cherries picked from the tree outside our kitchen window:

Soon, we'll be swimming in tomatoes.  I'm trying to think of things to do with all of them, apart from sauces, sandwiches, and salsas.  Here's a pic of some of the Brandywines:

In addition, I have green peppers imminent:

Along with eggplant:

My Brussels Sprouts were decimated by the green cabbage worms - I picked off 70 or so worms daily, but they did their damage - check out the tops of the leaves - reduced to stems and stalks:

I do still have some sprouts though, and I'm trying to decide what to do with them - I believe you can either harvest them from the bottom up as they ripen, or, you can pinch the inside crown of the plant, which I think halts the plant growth, and forces the sprouts to mature.  Since the worms have eaten so much of the crop, I may try the forced method.  Here are some sprouts:

The basil and sage still looks strong:

and I also have another variety of basil, alongside cilantro (yeah, I need to do some weeding):

I'm excited about my hot peppers (no peppers visible yet), especially since my neighbor has a food dehydrator:

And the peas provide ample snacks for us and the dogs every time we go outside:

Of course, finally there's the OTHER variety of Brussels Sprouts: the 4 legged kind - who love to eat veggies fresh from the vines.  Note Oscar's limber attack method here, as Griffey implements an advanced rolling defense:



Anonymous said...

As for the tomatos - try Bloody Marys with fresh-squeezed tomato juice (I assume you have a juicer). To die for.

Anonymous said...

Just put the extra tomatoes unpeeled into a freezer zip lock and freeze. Use straight from the freezer, no defrosting necessary to make sauces,the peel with split and separate when heated.

Anonymous said...

Big Show and I NEVER doubted you would refine your skills as a pickle farmer!

David Merkel said...

Cool. We are no good at growing vegetables, but I have done pickling. It has worked quite well.

Nic said...

Very cool, your garden looks delicious :)

rjs said...

you're too successful, KD, next year you'll make the same mistake i did 3 dozen years ago, keep expanding it till its too much too handle...

Kid Dynamite said...

RJS - i went away for the weekend, but my wife was home - and 2 of my tomato plants along with 2 of my cuke plants fell over! didn't break - we stood them, back up, but...