Saturday, June 8, 2013


Do any of you remember the pickle jug at the general store in Oklahoma? I do, but I am not quite old enough to recall the wooden pickle barrel sitting on the flood. That was the only way to buy pickles around the turn of the century, my century.

So, we have tried this in the past, and it is a great place to keep extra vegetables from the garden. This last winter I kept my greenhouse, actually officially a "hoop house," in operation. I also tried adding more fertilizer to the buckets the plants grow in.

Back up please-- I have a good number of 6 gallon buckets I use in the greenhouse. At the end of the fall, before the plants freeze off, I transplant a few into buckets. They die back some, but they always come back. If you do this, prune them so the transplanted plant does not have as much plant to nourish.

So, I fertilized the peppers, egg plant and so on. I also used natural phosphorus for the first time, including guano (bat manure). The peppers went wild. All the flowers set on instead of the usual, which is about half are cast off. 

Setting on all flowers then resulted in smaller fruit, especially since they were in under plastic and had less light than they like. So, we started a pickle jug and had more pickled peppers than Peter Piper ever saw.

Well, the spring is nearly past, and the Armenian cucumbers (technically a melon) are over producing. So, into the pickle barrel. I now use a big stainless steel pot we found at Big Lots. We are adding peppers still because the peppers are outside in partial shade and still producing. 

I am about to experiment with Swiss chard. If you cannot produce too much chard, you need to see a doctor. Something is wrong. Well, I have too much chard as usual, so I will cut rings from the Armenian cucumbers, spoon out the seeds, and insert a tight roll of Swiss chard in the hole. If it does not work you may never hear about it again. If it works well, I will come back here and brag on it.

For pickled barrel recipes here is a site with some good ones.

Remember, the pickling ingredients preserve the veggies. Do not cook it. But, be sure to go generous on either salt of vinegar, or a balance of both. Otherwise, your pickle mixture will allow mold to develop. When you replenish the liquid, be sure to follow the same proportions as you did up front.

You can add various flavorings like dill, turmeric, mustard seed, garlic, wasabi powder, horse radish and so on. Set the pickle crock or jug on the counter and let the kids snack on it. The nutrition is fantastic.

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