Less Noise, More Green: Dill Pickles and Plans for the Front Garden

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dill Pickles and Plans for the Front Garden

My husband and son, to be referred to here after as Computer Man and Computer Boy, LOVE dill pickles. After an apparently disgusting dalliance with refrigerator pickles (I still hold there was a mistake in the recipe),  I am back to making traditional canned dill pickles. This year I am using not only my own cucumbers, but my own dill seed which I harvested from the spent dill plants in the garden.

 Dill flowers are so beautiful and the seed heads are stunning. It's so easy to harvest the seed. Just wait until the green seeds are brown and gently rub the seeds off the plant. I should have plenty for several rounds of pickles and use throughout the year. I'll be sure to save some to plant in next year's garden, too.






This recipe can easily be doubled. I like to make small batches so I can mix up the flavorings. Next time I'm going to add red pepper flakes for a little kick.

Classic Dill Pickles
Makes three pint jars.

Sanitize the jars and lids.
Heat 2 cups of water,
2 cups of white vinegar,
1/2 cup of sugar,
2 1/2 tbsp. of pickling salt, in a saucepan until boiling.
Slice thinly, 1 3/4 pounds of cucumbers and fill the hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom.
Add 1 tbsp. of dill seed to each jar, then fill the jars with the boiling liquid. Make sure the liquid covers the pickles and run a knife around the inside edge of the jar to help release any trapped air.
Wipe the rims, add the lids and process in a water canner for 10 minutes, once the water returns to boiling.
Remove and let cool. The lids should pop. If they do not, refrigerate the jars.
For best results, wait at least one week before eating.



Now Art Girl needs to make me some pickle labels!

In other news, I have started planning a redesign of our front garden. As you can see we don't have much land and what we do have is very predictable and messy.


The city just cut down two trees, that were very diseased, in front of the house. Boy, does it look bare, but we now have great light! I have been thinking about what I want to do for a while. Although the front is south facing, I don't want to plant more vegetables. Instead I've been thinking about perennial  fruits and herbs.




I have two small  blueberry bushes already on the side of the house and four rhubarb plants tucked in with the hostas . I want to add elderberry bushes, lavender, perennial herbs, native pollinators, native roses and maybe a mulberry tree. The grass and most of the hostas will go. Now we have a bare strip of grass near the road, I may move some of the hostas there. This fall we will sheet mulch the grass (more on that later) and in the spring plant directly into the new beds.

I'm excited to use some of what I learned in my Master Gardener course and I'm lucky to have talented gardener friends to advise me. As the planning and work continues, I'll keep you updated!

See you in the garden.
Sue


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