September 15, 2008: Delightful Aroma

The beets I planted July 18th are finally large enough to harvest. I had pulled a few for dinner the other night, but I need to begin picking the bush beans in this garden so I decided to get the remainder of the beets out of the way. I left three or four very small ones, for greens for my rabbit. I had only planted two very short rows, so there weren't enough to bother canning or freezing. I decided they were perfect for pickled beets, and a half recipe was just the right amount for one quart jar full. For many of my garden veggie recipes, I count on those found in my old (1972) Farm Journal's Country Cookbook. This one, for pickled beets, is one of my favorites:

Pickled Beets
makes 4 pints

24 small beets
1 cup cooking liquid
1 pint cider vinegar
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. salt (I used much less, about 1 tsp.)
6 whole cloves
1 (3") stick cinnamon
3 medium onions, sliced

Remove beet tops, leaving root and 1" of the stem. Cover with boiling water; cook until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Remove skins and slice beets (I quartered the small beets, rather than slicing them).

Combine reserved cooking liquid, vinegar, sugar and salt. Add spices, tied in cheesecloth bag (I just dump 'em in, bagless). Heat to boiling.

Add beets and onions; simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag.

I then poured it all into a clean quart jar, and it's sitting on my counter until cool enough to refrigerate. The aroma is delightful!

If you want to can them, ladle the hot beets, onions and liquid into hot pint-sized jars, leaving 1/2" air space . Adjust the lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Today in the garden the July planted bush beans are beginning to bear. I got a small picking, enough to mix with some crookneck squash, for dinner. They are blooming profusely, and have lots of small beans that will be ready for picking real soon. The crooknecks have done a complete turnaround, after slowing down for the past two or three weeks. I gave my neighbor several little ones yesterday, and picked another half dozen for myself today. The zucchini are still slow to mature now, I have picked only two this week. It looks as though a few of the carrots in that bed might reach eating size by the end of the month. I wish now that I had planted more, but I didn't think there was any chance they would have reached edible size. No regular tomatoes today, probably a half dozen for the week, but a lot of green-turning-to-yellow, nice sized ones on the vines. One red bell is half red, half dark green. I've had to put bird netting over the spinach bed, as the birds are eating it as fast as it grows. It looks as though I'll be able to pick a few leaves for salad by next week. I've also discovered several heads of romaine in the rabbit's greens bed! I'll be taking those for myself, thank you.

I have just about finished the new gardens. They are all built, painted and filled, and part of the raspberry support system has been attached, just two low cross arms left to screw onto the posts. The bark mulch has been spread over all of the garden paths, and the one open section of fence filled in with chicken wire. I ran out of the green fencing about 5' short, and really don't want to buy 50' for that one section! Next year there will be a bed of sunflowers in that corner, so it shouldn't even show. It had to be secure though, as the puppies delight in taking cow pies out of the compost and bringing them in through their pet door! It's not good finding chewed up cow pies in your bed. YUK!

There will be plenty of room for a few containers in the new garden area, both up against the cedar fence, and also by the little wire fence along the front. My next project, though, will be a pretty little birdhouse for the top of one of the raspberry bed posts.


  1. Granny, I love seeing pictures of your garden....they look all nice and neat! I'm thinking about staining my wood on my beds....don't really know how it'll look, but I bet it'll be nice! How many square feet of gardening space are you up to, since the new boxes have been added? I think you've got more than my 136...

  2. EG, I haven't figured it out, but...

    East Garden:
    4@ 4x4= 64
    1@ 3x4= 12
    1@ 3x25= 75

    North Garden
    3@ 4x8= 96
    1@ 2x5= 10
    1@ 1x5= 5

    Total square feet in boxes = 262

    Plus, I have a 6-foot hill (circle) of compost in the north garden for either squash or melons, and a 3'x4' oval for sunflowers, also in the north garden. As soon as I can, I will also add a 10'x1' box inside the dog kennel for peas. There are also two mounds at the south end of the east garden for summer squash. I still have room for at least a 4'x4' box for potatoes, behind the garden shed. I definitely want to use some of the space for flowers next year.

  3. Whoa, granny - that's alot of raised bed to plant! I'm not planning on adding more boxes, cause if I do -my wife will kill me! However, I will construct at least 2 earthtainers for growing my tomatoes in. Ok....maybe 4.

  4. Hey granny! I was showing your blog to my wife, and while she was reading the muy caliente entry - she looked at me, and said " Pasco, Washington? That's where I was born!" Ain't that cool? She asked me what town you lived in.....I told her that I didn't know.

  5. Ok, granny - i'll check it when I get home this evening.

  6. Wow Granny! I totally agree and had to post how imaculate your garden is. Puts mine to shame, but that's ok. You do great work. Really impressive. And whoever tends your grass is a perfectionist. I mow the tops of my weeds because I'm too lazy to pull them as fast as they reproduce.

    And you've got exactly double my bed space. That's not fair! hehe.

    And EG, your wife was born in my state, very cool! I did a project in Pasco. Nice towns the Tri Cities. And also make sure you look at Judy's SWC instruction page. I've reviewed all the plans and hers are the best by far! I hope to build another SWC to do 4 tomato plants next year myself.

  7. Thanks for the compliment, Sinfonian. Mr. H is responsible for the mowing and I'm responsible for the rest, although we do have a company come in and spray four applications a year for weed control, or the yard would be solid crabgrass and dandelions. It still has a problem with Bermuda grass, but short of killing everything out and starting over....well, we just live with it! I'm afraid I spent so much time in garden construction this summer that my yard has suffered, especially my front yard. I have very few flowers this year, but hopefully next year will be better.