Quick Garlic Dill Pickles 

Yesterday I went out into the garden and was delighted to see I could pick my first harvest! Whoa Hoo!!!!!

Although I only got a handful of raspberries and enough lettuce to make an awesome salad for lunch, I did get a bunch of cucumbers, fresh dill and garlic! What was a girl to do? Make refrigerator dill pickles of course!!! 

I will never can pickles. I just don’t see the point to cooking them and turning them soggy. Refrigerator pickles are super fresh, crunchy and only take a couple days to become delishous! They last up to 12 weeks in the fridge (if you don’t eat them by then) and you can play around with flavours since they are so easy to make! This jar only took me 15 minutes!! 

Quick Garlic Dill Pickles (makes 1 quart)

  • 3-5 small pickling cucumbers (enough to pack them in there good)
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • Fresh dill, or dill seed
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed peppers 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

Just put everything into a jar, top up with water to the rim and let sit in the fridge for 2 or 3 days and enjoy!!

This is a starter recipe for me. Depending on your taste, play around with mustard seed, regular vinegar, other spices, etc. It is so easy to make these, you can make a jar in less than 15 minutes, so get creative!! 

Pretty Like a Flower, Tasty Like Food

In my opinion, if you plant something in your garden, ideally, you should be able to eat it. Gardening takes water, valuable time and money to grow, so you minus well reap the rewards!

Chives in bloom!

There are so many beautiful herbs and vegetables that have flowers and look just like other perennials you can spend hundreds of dollars on (but can’t eat). If you plant the right ones together, they can come into bloom in a timely manner, ensuring your gardens are always bright and colourful!

Beautiful zucchini flower!

In the past couple of years, I have been slowly replacing greenery that offers no nutritional value with delicious AND pretty plants in my gardens! 

Strawberries, chives, raspberries and garlic

I love planting herbs! They are probably the prettiest and tastiest plants. In addition to my chives, mint, dill, parsley, sage and basil, I have added lavender, oregano and thyme this year. It just adds so much beauty and it is amazing to add to a salad. 

Tiny thyme flowers

As part of building a sustainable lifestyle, we want to grow as much food as we can for ourselves! Having roses, daisies and gardenias are nice, but at the end of season, all they were good for was to look at and then chop down. I would much rather eat the plants that I spend so much time watering, pruning and weeding!!

Delicious garlic

Little Stems That Suck! Removing Suckers From Tomato Plants

Tomatoes fresh out of the garden are definitely on the top of my food chain! Juicy, red and delicious with a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (insert drooling noises here!) 

Growing healthy tomatoes is not rocket science, but yielding tons of fruit requires a few tricks of the trade (did you know tomatoes were a fruit?) 

Other than the obvious soil condition, fertilizer and plenty of sun and water, there is a little trick to growing huge, fruit delivering plants! Remove the sucker leaves! 

These suckers suck the nutrients from the producing leaves. You need to remove them as soon as they pop up. They are pretty easy to find. They grow in the joints of the regular stems and suck and suck the life from your tomatoes. I guess we could say these little stems really suck!!

Just snap them off and you are good to go (don’t mind the dirt in my nails, I have been playing in the dirt) 

A couple years ago, a friend told me you can plant them in the dirt and they will grow into fruit producing tomato plants. I thought it was impossible but far and behold, it worked! So if you have the space, you can grow lots of tomatoes from your already growing plants! 

Hope this little trick gives you millions (ok, maybe that’s a little exaggerated) of tomatoes to enjoy this summer!

Holy Rhubarb 

I love me some rhubarb. Check out my recipes page for yummy spiced rhubarb jam!

I recently moved my Rhubarb from one part of my yard to another because it was starting to get holes from pests. The stalks were perfectly fine, but the leaves were showing some major damage. 

Pests are not typically a problem with rhubarb. Even if they eat some of the leaves, they generally leave (haha, always love a good pun!) the stalks alone, and we just discard the leaves anyways. 

The reason I moved the rhubarb was because it had been in the same place for over 10 years. Leaving anything in the same location leaves (haha….again!!) it open for aphids, slugs and beetles to infest! The same goes with planting your tomatoes every year. It is good practice to rotate your crops every season to protect them from infestation. 

After moving the rhubarb, they have almost immediately improved. My next step would have been to spray them with soapy water, but no need! A simple shovel did the truck this time. 

I feel like I saved a little being from being eaten alive (by something other than me!) This calls for a celebration! Rhubarb jam on ice cream for all!

Please Peas, Grow Faster!

It’s that time of year when the garden is just starting to pop out of the ground and tease you with its brilliant colours and shapes. You can almost taste it already! 

One if my favourite snacks is snow peas right off the plants. Every day I go out to the garden to see if these little guys have grow anymore. 

They are growing fast and just about ready to cling to the fence and start flowering! I am so excited to see those flowers because you know they will soon be delicious peas for the taking! 

I think it will be another month still, but I keep checking everyday in hopes of a miracle pea appearing for me to snack on! 

Little Lettuce Gonna Feed Me Someday

Deciding what to grow in your garden can be a stressful ordeal! If I could, I would just grow everything available and save seeds to have a never ending supply if delicious fruits and vegetables!

The problem that I have is space. We expand our gardens every year but never have enough room for everything I want to grow! 

I try to only grow things that we will eat all the time and can freeze or can for the colder months: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, peas, beans, raspberries, strawberries, etc. 

This year I am going a little outside the box and growing lettuce! We eat at least one salad a day and go through so much lettuce, it seemed like a no brainer. You can’t freeze it or can it, but if it makes me eat more salad to keep up with it so it doesn’t get wasted, how bad can that be! It is also beautiful! I used it as a border around my pepper! It started coming up last week. I love the variety of colours and textures.