I finally have a garden! After eight years (!) of procrastination, I managed to get three 4 x 8 foot beds built and filled with beautiful topsoil in time for planting in May. I built the fence two years ago (with help from the fabulous Christoph), but it was only fencing in weeds and blackberry vines until this spring.
I have to admit my garden planning amounted to seeing what plant starts were available at the local farm stands when the first bed was ready. So I ended up with a somewhat motley collection of three tomatoes, two basil plants, a hot pepper, a watermelon (wishful thinking in coastal BC, I’m afraid) and a lemon cucumber.
I guess I’ve never had great soil in my previous gardens, because I was shocked by the lush growth produced by the (did I tell you it was beautiful?) topsoil. I had planted some lettuce, radishes and carrots between the bigger plants, expecting them to grow before the tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon took over. But they didn’t have a chance! I swear the tomatoes grew a foot in the first week. The bed filled up with watermelon and cucumber vines until you couldn’t see the soil at all.
I’ve grown cucumbers before; I know they have a tendency to spread out. So I thought it prudent to plant just one. Ha! I am now knee deep in both cucumber vines and beautiful, baseball-sized yellow lemon cukes. What to do? Of course: pickles!
Lemon Cucumber Pickles
(This recipe will make six pints.)
You’ll need some wide mouth jars, either pints or quarts, together with their lids and rings. I used pints, but only because I had them on hand and for some reason my local grocery store didn’t have wide mouth quarts.
Wash and rinse the jars. Sterilize them if you think you should. I just make sure they’re clean. They’ll be sterilized during the canning process anyway. I do put the rings and lids in a small potful of water and heat it to boiling, so I guess I’m not very consistent.
Put the water bath canner, half-filled with water, on to boil. It takes a while for that much water to boil, so do this step first.
-3 tsp. salt
-4 c. white vinegar
-2 c. water
-6 large whole garlic clove (cut in half to expose the flavor)
-18 sprigs fresh dill
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt in the bottom of your jar. (Note: You can use more salt if you like. It’s a matter of taste.) Throw in 1 clove of garlic and one sprig of dill. Fill jar ½ of the way up with washed and quartered lemon cucumbers (peeled or un-peeled, your choice). I didn’t peel mine. Top first layer of cucumbers with another sprig of dill. Fill remaining ½ of jar with cucumbers. Top with one more sprig of dill.
Meanwhile bring vinegar and water to a boil. Pour boiling vinegar and water over cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top of the jar.
Put on the lids and rings and tighten finger tight.
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.