After a wonderful week at the beach we returned to PA to find out that everything on our farm had a major growth spurt. It rained over 5 inches while we were gone – lucky for us we had just gotten the new rainspouting installed on the barn the day before we left for vacation. The vegetable plants, as well as the weeds and grass, had grown incredibly fast. We got home around 10 am on Saturday after a 12 hour drive from South Carolina, took a short nap and got to work in the garden. By that evening we had picked and cleaned 1 bushel of green beans and pulled all the weeds out of the herb garden and the flower beds around the house – 6 wheelbarrow loads of weeds for the compost pile! We picked and processed another bushel of beans on Sunday and altogether froze 24 quarts. These were the earlier variety of snap beans, the second variety we planted is just now in blossom.
We also picked 3 buckets (the 5 gallon size) of cucumbers, and loads of zucchini as well – shared much of this weekend’s harvest with friends. Luckily Rachel and Zach had kept up with the zucchini while the rest of us were at the beach – Rachel baked 12 loaves of zucchini bread that week.
On Monday evening, after a spice shopping spree, we made our first batch of “bread and butter” pickles and canned 7 pints. We have not made pickles for a long time, and our plan is to experiment with different recipes and methods, from fermenting, to fresh pack (like the batch we just did) to refrigerator pickles. We’ll have to wait and see which ones turn out best. Even the fresh pack pickles take about 4 weeks in the jar in order to develop their flavor. Here is hoping that they stay crunchy after being canned 🙂