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Anyone canning food from your own garden?

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  • melly Aug 31, 2009 11:56 AM
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I canned tomatoes and wanted to make pickles..but for some reason, my cukes aren't producing much. I've only picked about 5 in the past 6 weeks. Same with zuchinni. I have raised beds...new this year. I used really great soil and fertilized once. Just recently, some of the leaves on my cuke plants have this white on them...like someone dropped very diluted white paint on some of them. Help?!

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  1. This probably belongs on the Gardening board.

    Sounds like your cucumber plants have powdery mildew. My cucurbits -- zukes, cukes, squashes, all get it every year. A minor annoyance mainly. You can keep it in check by spraying with diluted milk, but it probably wouldn't affect production much if you didn't. I've had zero luck with cukes this year-- vine borers are killing them off before anything can mature. Zucchini not dying off, just mainly sitting there putting out minimal squash. Never had this problem before.

    This has been an absolutely miserable garden year where I am. All the tomatoes got late blight so I've picked a bunch of green ones before they get infected and am waiting for them to ripen on the windowsill. We get cukes from our CSA and I've been able to make fresh half-sours and one batch of bread & butters. The blackberries seem to have liked all the rain and gloom so this weekend my mom and I put up a bunch of wild blackberry jam.

    On the other hand, my green beans are finally producing, and our CSA is supplying extra. This has been a banner year for dill, so we've made several pints of dilly beans, which are really the beans' highest and best use IMHO.

    Given the almost total lack of summer, I don't expect to see much more of our personally grown produce this year. Sigh.

    6 Replies
    1. re: the_MU

      I have frozen 7 quarts of green beans, canned 5 quarts of tomatoes, made one gallon of icebox pickles, and 6 pints of Cinnamon Apple Ring pickles (made from cucumbers). I have more tomatoes to do in the morning but probably only 4-5 quarts. The cooler than normal summer has taken it's toll on my garden. The cucumbers and yellow squash have powder mildew. I've only had 4 edible squash from my plants this year. We had blossom end rot on part of the tomatoes but they are better now.

      I dehydrated some cayenne peppers for powder and have frozen a gallon bag of chopped bell peppers to use in cooking later.

      The garden just isn't producing well and I'm really getting discouraged. Not to mention, someone stole my large pumpkin that wasn't even ripe yet and kids were seen throwing my tomatoes at each other! It feels like between weather and thieves, I'm fighting a losing battle.

      1. re: alliedawn_98

        I didn't know there was a gardening board! Cool,...thanks!

        1. re: alliedawn_98

          that's global warming for ya....

          1. re: alliedawn_98

            What are icebox pickles, and cinnamon apple ring pickles? Very intrigued!

          2. re: the_MU

            hi. Sorry it's not been good garden year for you! I barely got any tomatoes last year, and was particularly bleak about that. I did do cuke pickles though, but wasn't happy with the recipe. Care to share your recipe for 'half sours'? Thanks.

            1. re: Gooseberry

              Gooseberry, I use a modified version of Marian Morash's recipe from Victory Garden Cookbook (which is awesome). It's very very easy.

              Take about a dozen pickling cukes, or the approximate equivalent amount of full-size cukes (8-10, I guess) and quarter them so you have a bunch of 4-6 inch spears. Squash 3-4 cloves of garlic. Take a couple of dill flower heads that are gone to seed but still green, or, if you don't have that (we had a good dill year, at least), you could use a tsp or two of regular dill seed. It's not very exact. Put everything in some kind of heatproof container so you can submerge them in boiling brine. I use a big enameled soup pot.

              Boil 10 cups of water with 1/4 cup white vinegar and a scant 1/4 cup of salt. After it's come to a good boil, pour it over the cukes/garlic/dill. Weight everything down with a plate and a jar of water to keep things from floating. Leave stuff overnight and transfer to jars, cover with brine and refrigerate in the morning. Pickles will keep 2-3 weeks in fridge.

          3. Just sauced and froze a lot of roasted tomatoes, and am piling up enough peppers and beans that something will have to be done with them soon. Generally we eat the cukes as fast as we pick them so haven't had to fuss with any pickling yet.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DonShirer

              Roasted tomato sauce is the only success this year - I have frozen approximately a dozen pints, which will add a little bit of sunshine to our mid-winter meals. Other things have not done so well this year - eggplants are definitely down, and there are not enough peppers and onions for relish. The last project will be the pickled green martini tomatoes.

              New fun experiments this year are peanuts and loofah - now I have to figure out how and when to harvest.

              1. re: Ms.M

                Pick the loofahs young if you plan to eat them and let them go on the vine if you plan to use them for scrubbees.