Re-Planting A Mid Summer Vegetable Garden – A 2nd Chance For Harvest!

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Planting a mid-summer vegetable garden is an excellent way to increase and extend your garden’s harvest! Perhaps your spring-planted garden got away from you this year. Or, maybe life was simply too busy to get one planted at all. Well,

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How To Protect Cucumber Plants From Beetles And Powdery Mildew

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Looking for ways to protect cucumber plants from the onslaught of beetles and disease?  Cucumbers are the second most popular vegetable grown in home gardens, playing second fiddle to only the beloved tomato. Gardeners everywhere simply love to grow and

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PICKLING RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE THAT DO NOT USE CUCUMBERS

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I love pickling recipes! I love how fruits and veggies taste after you pickle them…and frankly I just love pickles. But pickling can be great for your health too, much like fermentation, it can be great for your gut health. Just make sure you’re using good, organic, ingredients.

Today I’m sharing 17 of my favorite pickling recipes that don’t use cucumbers. I love those cucs but why stop there? There other amazing recipes for pickling all sorts of things. Can we say…preserve the harvest without canning? Oh yes, we can!

OK, ENOUGH RAMBLING…BRING ON THE PICKLING RECIPES!

First, my personal recipes…aka my super favs:

 

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How To Protect Your Garden From Cabbage Worms And Moths – Naturally!

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Anyone who has ever grown cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower knows the damage cabbage worms and cabbage moths can do! One day your plants are healthy and vibrant, and then suddenly it looks like they have become riddled with holes like

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Growing Cucumbers – How To Grow Your Biggest and Best Crop Ever!

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Growing Cucumbers! When it comes to backyard gardens, cucumbers are right up there with tomatoes as one of the most popular home-grown vegetables. It’s not hard to figure out why. Is there anything better than a fresh cucumber sprinkled with a

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21 Tips for growing cucumbers

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Looking to add cucumbers to your garden? These easy tips and guidelines could have you knee-deep in cucumbers in as little as 2 months.

Growing cucumbers is among the most popular activities in backyard vegetable gardens across the country. In fact, almost half of the nation’s home vegetable growers – 47 percent according to Susan Littlefield, horticultural editor at the National Gardening Association – plant cucumbers. That makes cukes America’s No. 2 most popular homegrown vegetable. (Tomatoes, which should surprise no one, are the runaway favorite at 86 percent.)

There are two forms of cucumber plants, bush and vining. Bush selections form compact plants and are ideally suited for small gardens and containers. Vining plants, however, may be the better choice. They clamber up trellises and produce fruit that is straighter with less disease and insect problems than cukes grown on bushing plants.

Cucumber plants make two basic types of fruit, those for slicing and those for pickling. There are many varieties of each. Pickling varieties seem to reach their peak faster than slicing varieties.

Growing cucumbers is easy if you have a garden space that gets maximum sunshine. If you follow the few simple directions below from the National Gardening Association and don’t have unexpected late spring freezes, you should begin harvesting cucumbers in 65 to 105 days.

Planning and preparation

1. Select disease-resistant varieties.

2. Choose a sunny and fertile site with well-drained soil.

3. For an earlier harvest and to reduce the threat of insect damage to seedlings, start a few plants indoors in individual pots (or trays with separate compartments) about a month before your last spring frost date.

4. Set up trellises or a fence if you plant the vining form.

Planting

5. Sow seeds in the garden only after danger of frost has passed and you are sure the soil will remain reliably warm. Cucumber plants are extremely susceptible to frost.

6. Make a second sowing 4 to 5 weeks later for a late summer or early fall harvest.

7.  To seed in rows, plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 6 inches apart.

8. To seed in hills, plant four or five seeds in 1-foot-diameter circles set 5 to 6 feet apart.

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Care

9. Thin cucumber plants in rows to 1 or 2 feet apart, depending on the type (slicing or pickling), when 3 to 4 inches tall.

10. Thin cucumber plants in hills to the healthiest two plants when plants have two or three leaves.

11. Keep soil evenly moist to prevent the fruit from becoming bitter.

12. Side-dress cucumber plants about 4 weeks after planting. Apply two handfuls of good compost or a tablespoon of 5-10-10 or similar fertilizer per plant in a narrow band along each plant.

13. Apply a thick layer of mulch after applying the fertilizer.

Controlling pests

14. Monitor cucumbers and other vegetables for the buildup of insect pests.

15. Perhaps the best way for home gardeners to control insects, especially the destructive cucumber beetle, Littlefield advised, involve strategies to disrupt the insect’s life cycle and habits. These include covering young plants with lightweight row covers until they begin flowering and crop rotation, she said.

16. If you decide to use insecticides, consider trying natural, less-toxic pesticides first. The problem with this approach, said Littlefield, is that there are not many effective “natural insecticide” choices in the case of cucumber beetles.

17. The most effective of the “natural insecticides” choices, she added, is kaolin clay applied preventatively. It acts as a repellent.

18. There’s also a problem with using broad-spectrum contact insecticides such as malathion, bifenthrin, cyhalothrin, cyfluthrin, permethrin, carbaryl and pyrethrin. These kill beneficial predators and parasites of insect pests.

19. In the case of all insecticides, read package labels to be aware of whether you must wait several days before harvesting cucumbers after applying the insecticide.

20. Consider capturing the pest, placing it in a sealed plastic bag and taking it to your local garden center and asking the staff there what control method would work best in your area.

Harvesting

21. Once cucumbers reach pickling or slicing size, harvest every couple of days to prevent cukes from getting excessively large or yellow and to keep plants productive.

 

Source : www.mnn.com

 

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3 Vegetables You Didn’t Know Could Be Grown Vertically (Yep, We Were Surprised, Too)

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3 Vegetables You Didn’t Know Could Be Grown Vertically (Yep, We Were Surprised, Too)

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Jack may have followed a beanstalk up into the clouds, but beans aren’t the only vegetables that love an excuse to reach heavenwards.

Vertical gardening offers a number of benefits compared to traditional gardening, and is a technique which lends itself well to a surprising number of common plants. This sort of approach is especially helpful when space is at a premium, allowing even a compact section of soil to nurture multiple large plants supported by a trellis or other structure.

Not only does vertical gardening save space, but it also tends to produce healthier plants. The increased air circulation helps reduce problems with pests and diseases, and, because vertical plants are generally easier to access for the gardener, the arrangement tends to result in better watering and fertilizing.

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Let’s take a look at three plants you might be surprised can be grown vertically.

1. Squash

Squash are notorious space hogs, but by sending them skyward they’ll be less likely to overwhelm your garden.  For best results, seek out smaller varieties, like zucchini, pie pumpkins, or acorn squash, that will be easier to shore up. Note, though, that because of their weight, even relatively small squash will require sturdy supports, so consider constructing a trellis with a metal frame to prevent mid-season tragedy.

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2. Cucumbers

While many people are accustomed to seeing bush cucumber plants, several varieties (especially heirloom varieties) are available that embrace the vertical lifestyle and can grow upwards of five feet high if carefully supported. This distance from the dirt is especially helpful in preventing fungal infections and other diseases from overwhelming cucumber plants.

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3. Melons

Like squash, small melons can readily be trained to climb trellises rather than sprawl across the garden. To prevent damaging tender vines, avoid using string to attach the plant to the structure. Instead, consider using surveyor’s tape, strips of fabric, or even pieces of nylon to coax the growing plant along. Once the fruit starts to weigh more than a pound or two, create a sling for it (mesh vegetable bags or cut up nylons work great) to shift the weight of it to the support structure rather than having it pulling entirely on the vine.

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Some gardeners grow these three vegetables near a fence, which can provide even more support.

Vertical gardening is a great way to increase both the yield and the appearance of vegetable plants grown at home. Consider incorporating the different plants listed above in your next garden plan and discover that, when it comes to growing food at home, the sky really is the limit.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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Refrigerator Dill Pickles Recipe – No Canning Required

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Making refrigerator dill pickles is a great alternative to traditional canned pickles. It is a perfect way for new gardeners who have not yet attempted canning to reap the benefits of a plentiful cucumber harvest. But as an experienced canner,

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All You Can Eat: 6 High-Yield Vegetables Your Summer Garden Needs

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All You Can Eat: 6 High-Yield Vegetables Your Summer Garden Needs

Image source: Pixabay.com

Some garden plants require intense diligence and extensive resources to coax out a single flower or handful of berries. Other species, however, are determined producers, bearing bushel after bushel of fresh, sun-ripened, bounty.

Want to get the most “bang” for your gardening efforts? In this post, we’ll look at some of nature’s top producers and why these “bunny rabbits” of the vegetable world ought to be included in your home garden.

1. Tomatoes

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Nothing screams summer quite like a tomato plant covered in bright red fruit. It’s no wonder these plants require caging or other support — a 10-foot row of tomato plants on average yields 15 pounds of sun-ripened bliss over the course of a season. And even more amazing, by taking special care to pick varieties appropriate to your growing conditions, properly amending the soil, and providing adequate support, it’s possible for a single plant to produce that much (or more!) on its own. Even taking into consideration the inherent challenges of growing tomatoes, it’s well worth the effort to include these high-producing summer staples in your garden plot.

2. Summer squash

There’s a reason August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Even if you’ve only planted a few of these prolific plants, you’re likely to be swimming in squash by the end of the season!

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Set aside a 10×10 plot specifically for zucchini and you will literally find yourself surrounded by more than a hundred pounds of deliciousness. To keep plants producing, pick zucchini while they’re relatively small — the size of a large cucumber or so. Not only does smaller summer squash taste better than their ginormous counterparts, but the frequent picking will stimulate additional growth.

3. Winter squash

Not to be outdone by their warm-weather counterparts, winter squash are another family of plants sure to bulk up your garden yields. Like summer squash, a dedicated plot of winter squash can easily produce a hundred pounds of fruit over a season. And with so many varieties to choose from, you’ll definitely want to set aside a space for them! Whether it’s pumpkins for home-grown Jack-o-lanterns and pie, vitamin rich butternut squash, or fun-to-eat spaghetti squash, there’s sure to be a variety for every taste. And, unlike many vegetables which must be carefully preserved in order to enjoy long term, an abundance of winter squash isn’t likely to be a problem — most winter squash will keep well into the winter months if stored in a cool, dry location.

4. Cucumbers

Not only are cucumbers easy to plant from seed directly in the garden, but if you can keep the cucumber beetles at bay, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by piles of pickle-worthy produce. You can expect roughly 12 pounds per 10-foot row or 120 pounds per 100 square-foot plot. Want to extend your harvest? Consider staggering seed-starting dates, adding a few plants each week for a rolling harvest that lets you enjoy fresh cukes throughout the season.

5. Beans

All You Can Eat: 6 High-Yield Vegetables Your Summer Garden Needs

Image source: Pixabay.com

Beans are another crop that can easily go gangbusters in a home garden. Not only are individual plants high producers, generally averaging up to 15 pounds per 10-foot row, but because they grow so quickly from seed to harvest it’s possible to rotate through multiple bean plantings in a single season. And while bush beans are notable producers, anyone who knows, well, beans about gardening will tell you that pole beans are where things get particularly impressive. Pole beans are happy to crawl up supports, producing over and over for weeks or even months before petering out.

6. Rhubarb

Finally, any list of high-yield hotshots wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to rhubarb. A rare perennial vegetable, rhubarb returns season after season, expanding as it grows. Considered low-maintenance and long-lasting, once a rhubarb plant is established it’s one of the easiest ways to guarantee a hefty harvest from the garden.

Few dilemmas in life are as delightful as discovering your garden has grown even more food than you can consume immediately. High-producing vegetable plants are the perfect plan for a harvest that can be shared with friends or preserved to enjoy throughout the year, making them not only a great way to maximize the return on your garden, but also the satisfaction that comes with those efforts.

Which high-yield vegetables would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:

Sources:

http://www.msuextension.org/gallatin/documents/horticulturedocuments/PlantingASuccessfulHomeVegetableGarden.pdf

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf

Every Year, Gardeners Make This Dumb Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

Pickling Fish: How To Do It (And Why You’d Want To)

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Pickling Fish: How To Do It (And Why You'd Want To)

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Pickling is not just about cucumbers and green tomatoes. Pickling, in fact, is a great way to preserve and enjoy your daily catch of fish.

Making your own pickled fish is both easy and can be accomplished with a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular fish for pickling include pike, salmon, trout and sucker.

There are many benefits to pickling fish. One is the fact that the vinegar in the pickling brine actually works to dissolve and soften any bones in the fish. I’ll usually try to pull out the Y-bones in a pike or the pin bones in a salmon, but it’s harder to do with a small trout and almost impossible given the number of small bones in a sucker. That’s where the vinegar really helps to soften and dissolve the bones, much like you find in canned sardines or anchovies.

Health Benefits

Pickled fish is very healthy, for a number of reasons:

  • The softened and partially dissolved bones are an excellent source of calcium.
  • If you choose to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, then you reap all of the health benefits associated with it.
  • Many of the herbs and spices used in various brine recipes have proven benefits — turmeric, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and both dill and fennel fronds.
  • If you’re diabetic or subject to edema, then you can reduce the amounts of sugar or salt in a brining recipe to suit your taste.

Unlike traditional canning methods that call for the jars to be immersed in a hot water bath for a period of time, fish pickling is a cold-pickling process. It often requires a cold soak in the refrigerator for a day or two in a pre-soak brine before you make the final, flavored brine for the jars.

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You’ll also need to sanitize the jars in boiling water before filling them with the fish chunks and other ingredients. All pickled fish must be refrigerated or kept cool in some way at 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The safest shelf life is two weeks or less.

Some recipes recommend that fish like pike be frozen for 48 hours prior to pickling to kill any potential parasites in the fish.

We’re going to cover several recipes with salmon, trout, sucker and pike. Here’s some of the basic equipment you’ll need:

  • Glass canning jars and lids.
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Tongs for putting the fish chunks into the jars
  • A non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel)
  • A large, non-reactive bowl for marinating (glass or ceramic)
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons

Pickled Sucker

This recipe has long marinating and holding time to allow the vinegar to thoroughly dissolve the many bones in the fish.

INGREDIENTS

2 quarts of sucker cut into one inch by half inch chunks

Marinade:

  • ½ cup of salt
  • 1 quart of vinegar

Pickling brine:

  • 2 cups of vinegar (white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar with at least a 5 percent acetic acid concentration)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pickling spice
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 sliced onion separated into rings

DIRECTIONS

Pickling Fish: How To Do It (And Why You'd Want To)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Mix the salt, vinegar and water and pour over fish in a glass or ceramic bowl or crock. Weigh down the fish with a plate to keep it immersed. Let stand 5 days in the refrigerator, and then drain and rinse with water. Pack in jar. Put fish, then layer of onion, then fish. Mix 2 cups vinegar, sugar and pickling spices and wine and heat and stir in a non-reactive saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Let cool, and pour into jars. Do not cook. Let stand 5 days in the fridge.

Pickled Pike

This recipe also has a marinating step to dissolve the y-bones common in northern pike.

INGREDENTS

  • 1 pound of thawed northern pike fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 quart white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

Make a brine combining the salt with a quart of water in a Mason jar or glass bowl. Add the pike to the brine and soak for 24 hours. Drain the fish, but do not rinse it. Add a quart of vinegar to the fish and soak for an additional 24 hours. Drain the fish.

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Combine a cup of vinegar, a half cup of water, and the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar, and then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

In a 1-quart Mason jar, add a quarter of the fish, then add some of the spices and sliced carrot and onion. Repeat with the remainder of the fish, spices, and vegetables so that the ingredients are layered and evenly dispersed. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least three days to allow the flavors to develop.

Pickled Trout or Salmon

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds trout or salmon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 red onion sliced into rings

DIRECTIONS

Combine water, vinegar, seasonings and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar, and let cool. Rinse filets and cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice onion. Arrange fish and onion rings in alternate layers in sterilized jars. Cover with pickling solution.  Refrigerate at least three days before serving. The fish will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Have you ever pickled fish? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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