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THIS. This is Why I Love to Garden

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Early start to the veggie garden for 2013

image This spring has been very unusual here in my zone 3 yard. During the last week of April we were inundated with snow and cold – ok maybe that’s not terribly unusual for Alberta. But on May 6th we set a new record high of 31C (that’s 88F my American friends). I brought out all of my seedlings to acclimate them and its too darn hot! I have to protect them in the shade for crying out loud. That’s just not normal.

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The forecast says that the risk of frost in the next week is minimal, and Edmonton’s average last day of frost is May 12th, so I should be home free, right? Well, as much as I’d like to believe that I think I’ll wait another week before I transfer my seedlings to soil.

But the weather has been perfect for sowing my vegetable garden. Here’s what’s going in the dirt this week:

  • Corn: Fleet Bi-Color Hybrid
  • Squash: Spaghetti
  • Sunflower: Ruby
  • Zucchini: Raven
  • Spinach: Regal
  • Swiss Chard: Lucullus
  • Peas: Progress #9
  • Lettuce: Esmeralda
  • Lettuce: Buttercrunch
  • Carrots: Touchon
  • Carrots: Scarlet Nantes
  • Beet: Chioggia
  • Bean: TendergreenBush
  • Potatoes: Kennebec
  • Onion Set: White
  • Onion Set: Red

As far as seedlings go I’ve sown:

  • Tomato: Black from Tula
  • Tomato: Tumbler
  • Tomato: Mamma Mia
  • Pepper: Serano del Sol
  • Onion: Spanish Candy Hybrid
  • Cucumber: Spacemaster
  • Eggplant: Hansel
Seedlings in waiting

Seedlings in waiting

I have some winter lettuce that will be ready to eat long before the head lettuces. I think I’ll plant a second type of cucumber as well. My chives, lavender, mint and oregano have all returned and I have ample garlic coming up in more than one place. I’ve got parsley and cilantro seedlings started and I’ve bought some basil, thyme, rosemary and sage bedding plants.

Yippee! It’s spring!

Refrigerator Pickles: Yum

Refrigerator Pickles 2012

Heck, why haven’t I made these before? Well, I guess the answer is obvious – I’ve never had enough cucumbers to spare. But this year has been fabulous for my cucs and I’ve been able to eat them fresh every day and still have plenty for a batch of pickles.

Here’s my recipe (adapted from myrecipes.com)

Refrigerator Pickles

2 lbs cucumbers, sliced thin (I use my mandolin)
2 medium onions, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used dried Serrano peppers from last year, finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8-10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Layer the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil on the stove and simmer for one minute. Pour the liquid over the cucs; don’t worry if not all are submersed – they will be in a few hours.

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours before dividing the pickles and placing them in jars. These must be stored in the fridge, as they have not been processed. Don’t worry, they won’t last long.