Monthly Archives: August 2014

Recipe: Pickled Green Beans

2 lbs tender green beans
8 cloves garlic (at minimum)
4 large heads dill
2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup kosher salt

You will also need 4 pint canning jars and lids, and a pot large enough to hold jars and water to cover.

– Clean and cut green beans and pack tightly and uniformly in hot, clean pint jars.

– To each pint jar, add 2 cloves garlic and 1 head dill. Optionally add ¼ tsp cayenne pepper for heat.

– Heat together water, salt and vinegar. Bring to boil; pour over beans. Adjust lids at once. Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes**. Remove jars from canner.

** If you will be eating these within a month or so (and why wouldn’t you?), it is not necessary to process them. Just pour the boiling brine over, cover, and refrigerate


Garden 2014

Somehow it’s August already and we’ve hardly taken time to keep the blog up to date this year.  Despite our failure to document it, however, the garden grows steadily.  We’ve gone from this scene in early May:


To this, last night:


This year we installed 4-way automatic timers and drip line in the gardens, and it has made a significant difference in the number of weeds we are battling in the aisle.  Now our time in the garden is focused on harvesting (Archimedes is especially a fan of green beans now that the snap peas are done for the year), and it takes an hour a week to keep on top of the weeds.  So, drip line is one of our lessons learned, as in, we should have done this years ago!  Last night a friend came by to pick up some of our extra kale seedlings (lesson learned: be more patient about letting the seeds germinate, and don’t try to seed lacianato on top of winter russian kale!), and the conversation turned to gardening lessons.  He pointed out that the thing about mistakes is that you have to live with them for a whole year befor you can try again, so you really take them to heart and learn well!  I agree, but thinking about it in the light of new morning today, I thought, the other glorious thing about gardening is that you can always try again next year!  You can buy more seeds, turn the soil, watch the calendar, and add water over, and over, and over again, and you have years to get it right.  And maybe sometimes you end up eating 30lbs of beans and flea-beetle-laced arugula leaves all week, but there’s always next year.

A few other lessons learned this year:

  • I really should have pulled up most of the calendula volunteers — they were lovely, and we made a lot of calendula oil, but our onion harvest suffered from being crowded out.
  • As much as I like radishes, I really need to stop reserving garden space for them: being the only one in the house who eats them means they just go to seed every year!
  • Flea beetles really REALLY like arugula. 🙁
  • Last year, I complained about one of the varieties of chard we grew (Bietola a Costa Fine, from Adaptive Seed) because it bolted so early.  But this year I’ve realized I was thinking about it all wrong.  If I think about it as spinach, instead of chard, it’s the slowest-bolting spinach I’ve ever grown!  It’s a lovely chard, very sweet and fine, delicious raw, and cooks up much more like spinach than chard anyway.  I’m giving up on spinach for good, it always bolts the first hot day we have (which was 95 degrees in April this year, for heaven’s sake).  At least the chard gets through the season, even if it is just barely.
  • Cucumbers should really not be the last thing we put in the ground… especially not if we’re hoping to pickle them using the dill the started as volunteers in the garden aisles!  The dill is drying already and we just got our very first cucumber yesterday — timing issue.
  • Our pole bean solution seems to be working well!  We put up 4 8′ t-posts, spaced 5′ apart, and topped them with PVC pipe fittings.  We worried the PVC might not be strong enough to bear the weight, but although it’s bowing a little, so far it’s working great.  Love that it is easily moved to another bed for next year.

… and the season is only halfway over!