I pressure-canned a few quarts of plain green beans this summer, but I did it out of duty–not love. Who could honestly and truthfully love a limp, peaked green vegetable soaked and bloated in its own juices? In my defense, we had an abundance of fresh green beans, and I had to preserve them in a way that would honor this generous gift from Mother Earth. “Dearie, it’s what you’re supposed to do when you get a bumper crop of green beans.” So I did.
But behind the universe’s back, I secretly canned a few half pints of pickled green beans (also known in the canning world as “dilly beans”). I canned them hoping that they would fill the hole in my heart left by plain canned green beans.
And they did. My heart is now filled to “half an inch from the top” with crisp-tender haricots, little beads of popping mustard seeds, and a swirling snowglobe of dill and garlic.
For the past two months, the tiny jars of dilly beans waited patiently for me on the pantry shelf. Every time I walked by them I said firmly, “Not today, friend. I’ll wait until a very sad or lonely day, and then we will see what joy is bottled up inside.”
Today wasn’t sad or lonely, but still, a bottle was opened. And it brought the brightness and crispness and pure joy that I was hoping for–the happiness that pickledcucumbers promise every season, but really can’t deliver.
There are only 5 half pint jars of pickled dilly beans left. I will eat them very verrrrrry slowly over the next 10 months.
We picked our first ounce of beans today. 😉 The beans that were barely alive are now looking quite healthy and should produce a good crop. The first cucumber and pepper should be ready this week. My peas are almost done for the season. They weren’t nearly as productive as last year but still provided some good table fare. The chard and kale continue to produce like gangbusters.
I seeded some carrots and spinach along the center of my row. The peas have been giving us a sparse harvest, and the beans are barely surviving, let alone growing. On the other hand, we’re harvesting plenty of chard and kale.
Our garden continues to languish while we see lots of things growing around us.
We did a red cabbage pH test yesterday, and I think we found a major problem.
From right to left, the first four are the rows of our garden from south to north. All rows are too alkaline, especially #2 and #3. Next is soil from north of the barn, where we plan to plant blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries next year. It’s also too alkaline, especially for blueberries. Next is the only good news in this test: our well water is pH neutral! After that is tap water, which is alkaline. Then distilled water, our pH neutral control.
We also bought an electronic soil pH tester yesterday. I can’t get any reliable results out of it.
We immediately went to the at store, bought 50 pounds of granular elemental sulfur, and spread about 10 pounds on the garden rows (including a little on rows 5 and 6). We’ll spread the rest in the future berry patch area later this summer.
Fortuitously, it rained last night and absolutely poured today, so that will help get the sulfur into the soil… but it will still take months for bacteria to concert it to sulfuric acid and lower the pH of the soil. In the meantime, Heather is experimenting with a watered down vinegar solution to see if it helps in the short term.
Trying to keep up on what Heather has been planting…
The carrots she planted on April 11 didn’t sprout. She replanted today.
Half of the beans that she planted on April 17 didn’t sprout. She replanted today.
She transplanted a gypsy pepper plant today.
Miniature slugs have been eating several of our garden plants the past couple weeks. We have been picking them off and they seem to be diminishing, but not before doing a fair bit of damage to my peas.
I got my first handful of beans a few days ago. We haven’t been able to keep up with the pea harvest of a pound every few days, so I’ll plant half as many next year. My kale and chard are very healthy and producing well. My Mortgage Lifter tomato finally has some blossoms that have become fruits. Overall, my garden row hasn’t needed much watering.
I got my first kale harvest (4 oz). I found one green worm eating some kale.
My peas are looking fantastic. I picked a few today, but I think I should have enough to be part of dinner tomorrow or the day after. I added a one-foot-high fence for them to climb. I probably could have added something taller.
My second planting of beans is up, and greener than the first planting, which is yellowish.
My Mortgage Lifter tomato seems to be recovering and greening up.
The peas that I direct-seeded have caught up with the transplanted ones, and they’re healthier. Today I planted an Early Girl tomato plant that I got at the Ag Fest, and 10 blue lake bush beans. The soil on my garden row dries out quickly and can absorb a lot of water.
Heather planted a few Oregon sugar pod peas on her row and transplanted two tomato plants of unknown variety from the Ag Fest.
In the back corner of the property, one of our douglas fir trees got mowed down. It was the one that wasn’t doing well anyway. We planted another one in its place that we got at the Ag Fest. We also planted two lodge pine trees that we got at the Ag Fest, and we mulched the trees with wood chips.