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  • sistrsprklsistrsprkl Member Posts: 1,013 Member Member Posts: 1,013 Member
    I made bread & butter pickles with zukes one year and they turned out great.
    Also, Allrecipes.com has a recipe for zuke brownies that I usually make all summer long. So good, no one knows there's a ton of zucchini in them.
  • 100df100df Member Posts: 668 Member Member Posts: 668 Member
    I love this forum. Zucchini pickles are in my future! Never would have thought of it. I don't eat enough veggies. Finding tasty ways to eat helps me eat more of them.

    Great thread :)
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Member Posts: 1,634 Member Member Posts: 1,634 Member
    100df wrote: »
    I love this forum. Zucchini pickles are in my future! Never would have thought of it. I don't eat enough veggies. Finding tasty ways to eat helps me eat more of them.

    Great thread :)

    :)
  • 2snakeswoman2snakeswoman Member Posts: 655 Member Member Posts: 655 Member
    I love gardening, too, although I haven't done much the last couple of years due to other obligations. Now my yard is such a mess that I feel I'll never get the various gardens and flower beds cleaned and productive again. Especially not when I'm sitting here .... sigh ....
  • lisawinning4losinglisawinning4losing Member Posts: 732 Member Member Posts: 732 Member
    I'm an apartment dweller but so far I'm having good success with a container garden. I'm harvesting spinach and lettuce already. We'll see how the green bean and tomato plants do. Just today someone recommended making your own pickles, and I thought hmm, I might try that.
    edited April 2016
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member
    sawyeram wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Canning is in my plan for new thing to start this year. I always have extra tomatoes, especially as I get CSA tomatoes too, and I often have extra cucumbers (going to make pickles!).

    Try making pickles with zucchini instead of cucumbers. I did that a couple years ago when my zucchini plants went crazy and would not stop producing. They turned our much better than expected. I like them better than cucumbers because there's more flesh and less seeds.

    OP ... avid gardener and canner here. Once thing that I was impressed with here in the Midwest is the amount of farmers. The benefits are just as you listed them between the physical exertion to the healthy organic home grown veggies and fruits.

    Do you can the zuke pickles? If so, what do you do to avoid mushiness? I've canned them in mixed veggie pickles before, but they don't hold up well in the water bath process. Refrigerator pickles, sure. Pickled green beans are great canned - eat them hot or cold.

    Obligatory on-topic general comment: I grew up gardening, and gardened once I was out of apartment/dorm living, up until I got cancer . . . it took a couple of years to get my stamina/energy back post-chemo, during which time the garden plot grew up with rootsy grasses and small bushes, and I haven't gone back to it. I miss the produce, but not canning in August in a house with no A/C, I gotta admit. I still have some perennial herbs in the flower beds, and find those both easy and extremely rewarding (yum to eat, expensive to buy).
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Canning is in my plan for new thing to start this year. I always have extra tomatoes, especially as I get CSA tomatoes too, and I often have extra cucumbers (going to make pickles!).

    I started canning a few years ago...I own a pressure canner, but just use it for hot water bath canning, as I have not worked up the nerve to pressure can yet (I think I was traumatized as a child by my mom telling me to stay out of the kitchen because the canner might explode). I came across this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens that explained water bath canning, and I thought it sounded manageable and I could do it in my stock pot. Make sure to get the Ball Blue Book of Canning, the canner's bible. You can do chow chows, relish, kraut, all kinds of pickles, jams, fruits, sauces and tomatoes in a water bath. Sun pickles are a lot of fun, and my little boy eats them by the quart, given the opportunity. (We don't boil those; we just keep them in the fridge). You can also do freezer jam just on the stovetop--my freezer is still crammed with strawberries, blackberries, rhubarb, cherries and peaches and I need to get them turned into sauce or jam before the next crop starts rolling in.

    Do you go to that big farmer's market in Lincoln Park? I wandered through there the summer before last and was in absolute heaven! I also love that mini-farm at the zoo.

    Be brave - it's easy. Just stick around the general kitchen area while the canner's going to monitor it, especially if you have the rocker-regulator type canner, so you can keep an ear out for the right noise. Most exploding pressure-cooker incidents are from pressure-cooking foods that can gum up the pressure regulator, not from canning in nice tidy jars.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,900 Member
    A favorite gardening/food-preserving strategy:

    Tomatoes need room to grow, but not until later in the season. Direct-seed a thick band of basil all around each baby tomato plant. Here in mid-Michigan, we usually plant main-season things around Memorial Day. By maybe sometime in July, the tomatoes are starting to want that extra space, but the basil is already nice healthy plants.

    Cut the basil plants all down (maybe just leave a few in the gaps for later fresh use), make about a ton and a half of pesto, put it in little jam jars (the snap-top ones work great), and put it in the freezer.

    When it's time to eat in mid-Winter, take out a jar early, sit it in warm water (not hot enough to melt the cheese) to thaw. You may have to swap in new warm water and break up the pesto-block with a knife to speed the thawing process a little if you're impatient.
  • Rocknut53Rocknut53 Member Posts: 1,793 Member Member Posts: 1,793 Member
    When it quits snowing, I'll start gardening...
  • RaeBeeBabyRaeBeeBaby Member Posts: 4,323 Member Member Posts: 4,323 Member
    I love gardening! But, I am a fair weather gardener. I just don't want to go outside and dig in the dirt in the rain and mud, although for some weird reason, my husband likes that so it works for us. By the time the sun comes out he's usually weeded most of the flower beds and has moved on to trimming and mowing. Then I just get to do the fun stuff!

    It's not ALL fun and games. I just came in from a good two hours digging up and separating a big hosta that had been in the same spot for over 10 years. It was starting to get a big hole in the center. I thought it would be an easy dig, but it took me way longer than expected. I now have about 7-8 smaller clumps that I'm planting around in the beds. Now THAT was a workout and I'll take the MFP calorie burn for it and have a glass of wine or two.

    When we first moved to the country 25 years ago I told husband I wanted a smallish vegetable garden. While I was out shopping one day, he called a friend to help. When I arrived home, said friend had come over with his tractor and tilled up my entire back yard. Being the trooper that I am, I viewed it as a challenge and planted the whole thing with every imaginable type of vegetable. And watered, And weeded, And weeded, And weeded, AND weeded. All summer long with the watering and weeding. We did have a pretty nice harvest, but that was the end of gigantic garden. The next year it was about 1/4 the size. After about 5 years, I finally tilled it all up and planted grass again. My veggie garden now consists of about a dozen raised beds, which has to be the best invention ever! I do well with tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, carrots, salad greens, strawberries. I've given up on some things like beets, celery and cabbage. I also have lots of herbs in pots and in the ground mixed in with the flower beds. Trying to keep the deer and ground squirrels out is a challenge. I had a beautiful crop of potatoes last year and the darn squirrels got into them (from above and below) and cleaned them out completely right before harvest. This year I'm doing potatoes in 5 gallon buckets and see if that works better. We're also planting raspberries this year because I spend a fortune on the organic ones at the store. I freeze and can a little bit, but mostly we eat what we grow or give it away. Oh yeah, I forgot zucchini. I always plant at least one, but usually more. Hubby says one zucchini plant is one too many. They are very prolific producers in my neck of the woods. You can blink and a small one becomes the size of a watermelon!
  • RaeBeeBabyRaeBeeBaby Member Posts: 4,323 Member Member Posts: 4,323 Member
    I love gardening, too, although I haven't done much the last couple of years due to other obligations. Now my yard is such a mess that I feel I'll never get the various gardens and flower beds cleaned and productive again. Especially not when I'm sitting here .... sigh ....

    One spring we hired a bunch of high school kids who wanted to earn money for a trip to Washington DC. They came out with a couple of their parents and went to work. They spent about 4 hours weeding, laying bark, and doing whatever we wanted them to do. Cost was a "donation", so we gave them a couple hundred dollars and had a nice fresh yard.
  • sistrsprklsistrsprkl Member Posts: 1,013 Member Member Posts: 1,013 Member
    I'm exhausted. Put in a couple more citrus trees today with root cages for gophers and tall cages for deer. Also got more pots ready and transferred a tomato. I've having a hard time with my seeds germinating. This happened last year, I think my seedling cells may be contaminated...
  • NoLimitFemmeNoLimitFemme Member Posts: 116 Member Member Posts: 116 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Do you can the zuke pickles? If so, what do you do to avoid mushiness? I've canned them in mixed veggie pickles before, but they don't hold up well in the water bath process. Refrigerator pickles, sure. Pickled green beans are great canned - eat them hot or cold.

    Oh yes. I canned zuke dill and bread and butter pickles (spears, slices, and I did a relish too). You use pickling lime to make veggies crisp. Mrs. Wages has a great version of it. Here's a little information about it. Think Vlasic pickles ... that's how they turn out.

    *********************************************

    Pickling lime is powdered calcium hydroxide, also called slaked lime. It should not be confused with industrial quick lime, burnt lime or agricultural lime, which are toxic.
    The calcium in pickling lime fortifies the pectin in the vegetables to be pickled and you use it before you start the pickling process. The basic recipe is 1 cup of pickling lime in a bowl with 1/2 of canning salt over which you pour 1 gallon of water. After soaking the pickles overnight or for 24 hours, stirring them occasionally, you rinse them and then pickle them as usual. The solution can also be used for watermelon rinds and green tomatoes.
    Pickles that are not properly rinsed after being soaked in pickling lime solution can lead to botulism. Rinse the pickles in fresh water three times to ensure all lime is removed. If you don't rinse well enough, the lime can penetrate the pickle, which allows harmful bacteria to grow in the canning jar and increase the botulism risk.

    *********************************************

    I didn't quote it, but someone mentioned being worried about a pressure canner exploding. The modern canners are made with with a safety valve (it release pressure if it exceeds dangerous limits). They are 100% safe if you follow the instructions.

  • Ws2016Ws2016 Member Posts: 431 Member Member Posts: 431 Member
    Ws2016 wrote: »
    Been gardening since I was a kid, sq ft fir the past five years. The only calorie burn they cite that I think is reasonably accurate is the digging/spading. If I do that for a solid 30 minutes I will burn close to 300 I think. I think the rest are too high, eg planting which requires little effort besides putting in some seed or plants in the ground. I have a bunch to fo tomorrow and don't plan on budgeting it.

    Well, think it through for planting. I am doing 10,000 sq ft for the combined gardens. I am chitting potatoes to plant this weekend in 30 ft rows. Probably 6 rows. Once I get the trenches dug, the actual planting part is a combination of walking (100 ish calories per half hour) and body weight squats (418 cals a half hour) for a 150 lb person. Depending on how fast you are working, that's a pretty good burn. Step, squat. Step, squat. Same scenario for setting out a row of corn or peppers. Now it's a completely different story for, say, planting radishes, because you are on your hands and knees delicately putting in seeds an inch apart. I wouldn't budget that. So, you definitely have to have a feel for how much you are burning and be honest about you effort. But you don't think a lot of extended planting is a better burn than a moderate 3.0 mph walk of the same duration?

    Whoa - 10,000 sf! That's a farm, not a garden. LOL. No doubt, maintaining that every year is going to burn some calories. I do sq ft gardening which is much less intense in terms of work, pesticides, fertilizer, water and of course space. I'll admit to being a bit lazy. On a normal year the amount of work I put into it is quite small, hoeing the soil and planting which takes about 10 minutes per box. This year I rehabbed all my boxes, replacing the rotten wood and rejuvenating the soil. I do that about every five years. Now that burns calories (I lost two pounds doing it!) and it reminds me of just how much work it used to be for me when I row cropped. It can be quite a workout as you say.

    Here's a photo of my bush beans. 128 plants in this 16 sq ft box. If I row-cropped them, it would require 70 sq ft (each plant 3 inches apart in 3 rows of 10 ft). I do cover them to avoid beetles, but other than that I pretty much leave them alone until picking. 3 picks a season, the last is pretty small. I've moved away from wooden cages to pvc cages which I can store in the basement and redo with bridal dress tule from walmart each year, much cheaper and easier.



    ra86jq2e0be0.jpg




  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Member Posts: 30,886 Member Member Posts: 30,886 Member
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    When it quits snowing, I'll start gardening...

    Heh, snowing here today too. Our safe planting date is supposed to be mother's day.
  • lithezebralithezebra Member Posts: 3,673 Member Member Posts: 3,673 Member
    I don't know what the debate is. Gardening is good physical activity, and often results in healthy food to eat. I love the idea of gardening, and don't have time to do it.
  • manderson27manderson27 Member Posts: 3,499 Member Member Posts: 3,499 Member
    Love my garden, bought a greenhouse last year which is brilliant, good exercise and definitely raises the spirits. Always feel so relaxed after a day in the garden. Also nice to visit gardens and nurseries for plants. :)
  • lemmie177lemmie177 Member Posts: 479 Member Member Posts: 479 Member
    Ws2016 wrote: »
    Ws2016 wrote: »
    Been gardening since I was a kid, sq ft fir the past five years. The only calorie burn they cite that I think is reasonably accurate is the digging/spading. If I do that for a solid 30 minutes I will burn close to 300 I think. I think the rest are too high, eg planting which requires little effort besides putting in some seed or plants in the ground. I have a bunch to fo tomorrow and don't plan on budgeting it.

    Well, think it through for planting. I am doing 10,000 sq ft for the combined gardens. I am chitting potatoes to plant this weekend in 30 ft rows. Probably 6 rows. Once I get the trenches dug, the actual planting part is a combination of walking (100 ish calories per half hour) and body weight squats (418 cals a half hour) for a 150 lb person. Depending on how fast you are working, that's a pretty good burn. Step, squat. Step, squat. Same scenario for setting out a row of corn or peppers. Now it's a completely different story for, say, planting radishes, because you are on your hands and knees delicately putting in seeds an inch apart. I wouldn't budget that. So, you definitely have to have a feel for how much you are burning and be honest about you effort. But you don't think a lot of extended planting is a better burn than a moderate 3.0 mph walk of the same duration?

    Here's a photo of my bush beans. 128 plants in this 16 sq ft box. If I row-cropped them, it would require 70 sq ft (each plant 3 inches apart in 3 rows of 10 ft). I do cover them to avoid beetles, but other than that I pretty much leave them alone until picking. 3 picks a season, the last is pretty small. I've moved away from wooden cages to pvc cages which I can store in the basement and redo with bridal dress tule from walmart each year, much cheaper and easier.

    ra86jq2e0be0.jpg

    I LOVE your cages and think I'll copy them! I have a tiny yard with one 4x4 box and had a problem with leaf miners in my chard. Last year, I grew all these pretty salad greens. Then an orbweaver spider decided to have babies on a nearby fence and I had spider salad to deal with :'( .
  • Ws2016Ws2016 Member Posts: 431 Member Member Posts: 431 Member
    I LOVE your cages and think I'll copy them! I have a tiny yard with one 4x4 box and had a problem with leaf miners in my chard. Last year, I grew all these pretty salad greens. Then an orbweaver spider decided to have babies on a nearby fence and I had spider salad to deal with :'( .[/quote]

    I cover my broccolis, too, to keep the cabbage worms out, although if you're looking for more protein....

    If you use pvc instead of wood, the corner fittings are a little pricey but you'll have cages for life. I use 3/4" pipe and then buy a little length of 1" pipe, and from that I cut small circles about 1/4 inch wide and then cut those in half, which I use to snap over the 3/4" piping to secure the tule. They snap on like this. Good luck!

    yjbnfjxqnjwd.jpg


  • tomtebodatomteboda Member Posts: 2,171 Member Member Posts: 2,171 Member
    I cannot wait until it warms up more! Its too cold to garden here in MN but I'm going to be raking out the flowerbeds this week.

    I love gardening as exercise, investment in great food, and emotional well-being. I just have to be sure to be out of the sun by about 10 am and not go back before 4 pm due to the UV exposure.
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