Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Adopt a Crop 2009: Lemon Cucumbers

I have learned a new thing about you folks that my analytics data can't tell me (Hi Australia! I see you!) - y'all like pickles.

A lot.

Enough to vote them into the garden two years in a row. Crazies, I tell you.

That's something, especially given your other choices, which I thought were good ones. Especially the black tomato/Scary Salsa option - I thought that'd get you for sure - and it would have, if it weren't for those pesky kids and their dog, Pickle Chips.

Wait. Did that make any sense?

Anyway, what I'm saying is that your Adopted Crop for 2009 is the mighty and round Lemon Cucumber and the final product we're shooting for, here, is the burger-ready Pickle Chip.

Don't believe me? This chart snagged on 3/2/09 tells the tale:

So, we had fewer votes this year, but that's OK, I think it really means that there wasn't anyone forgoing their lunch hour for surreptitious voting from coworkers' laptops like I'm sorta sure there was last year.

Not that I minded growing pickling cucumbers last year, we had some tasty renditions at the season's end and I'm still reaping the benefits during our White Trash Hot Dog Dinner nights. We also had some not-so-tasty renditions, but I've since burned those recipes at the stake and warned everyone in my household against muttering their name.

Nonono, I am not dramatic at all.

So, I'm much more ready to attempt to take Lemon Cucumbers from seed to jar than I was at the start of last year's season. In the sense that I finally triangulated the totally illusive but always referenced Pickling Spice. Thank you, Bubba, for pulling this off the shelf at Lunardi's while I was hunting down the other illusive yet wildly popular Vietnamese Cinnamon.

REALLY PEOPLE, why do all these recipes insist on calling for shit I can never find? And it's not like I live in a small town with only a little general store and one donkey or something. I live in the friggen' Silicon Valley for godssake! I should be able to find eye of newt at Safeway on a weeknight is how I see it, but no!

Moving on...

I now have pickling spice. And I have decent pickle recipes that can achieve acceptable pickle-y flavors without the use of pickling spice. And I have jars. And I have verified that my food processor came with an attachment that will slice things into chip form. And seeds for the cucumbers on the way. And the frost date has passed.

Which can only mean one thing - I am behind.


Because I haven't turned any soil or even accepted delivery of all the seeds that will go into this year's garden yet.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

By 3/10/08, I had the garden turned, planted and watering. And I was also wearing shorts and flipflops and, apparently, leading an amazingly charmed life because I can hardly imagine having all that done in a week's time since right now it is raining (this is good), cold (meh) and I'm wearing 4 inch heels (barf).

Not important! I have seeds coming! And I know what I'm planting in the rest of the garden this year and don't you just want to know?!

Of course.

We're going for a more focused garden experience this year. Specifically, I will not be fucking around with bizarre varieties of melon, falling victim to the allure of plentiful (and buggy - gross) squash, taking up space with ill-fated beets and a few measly radishes or tempting fate by reintroducing bastard chard.

No, this year we're going with a Quantity Over Variety approach.

Bed 1: Silver Queen corn
Bed 2: Kentucky Blue Lake Green Beans, Black-seeded Simpson Lettuce (under the beans), Lemon Cucumbers
Beds 3 + 4: 4 Better Boy tomato plants (twice our typical planting - watch out) and sweet basil

I've never grown corn before, so we'll see how this goes. Thankfully, Kristin gave me some sage corn (sounds weird) advice about soil amending and planting strategies, so perhaps I'm off to a more promising start than, say, last year when I set my cucumber seeds out unsupervised to be mercilessly chewed by mystery bugs while I sat at the computer and blabbed about pickling as though I knew a thing about it which I did not.


I certainly hope not to repeat that incident because I was so mad I had to make up extra mean swears and I do believe some neighbors decided to steer clear of me after that. Their loss! I'm fun!

Anyway, your crop has been chosen and now the fun and swears can begin.


  1. Now look Finny, I'm finding this a troubling post. First of all, you've trashed my beloved beets. And then, you're making fun of us one donkey towns. We cherish our donkey out here in the heartland. And dontchaknow, pickling spice is very common when you only have one donkey -- which is clearly why you can't find it. People with more than one donkey have little use for pickling spices. You can't have everything -- it's multiple donkeys or pickling spice -- you decide!

  2. I never used pickling spice last year, because I never remembered to buy it (even though it's just at our regular grocery store here--you probably have trouble finding it because not a lot of people can things in your area) and never had it when I was making pickles. But I LOVED the pickles I made last year, so I probably won't buy any this year, either.

    Oh! More sage corn advice from Kristin: You can inter-plant lettuce with the corn. That will save some space in your other bed. Just plant the lettuce between the rows of corn (the rows are spaced far apart, so you can do this). The corn will shade the lettuce a bit, which will help to keep it from bolting too early, and by the time the corn is really big, the lettuce is done with.

  3. I feel like I'm in a crop-a-long, which is good since I never get around to doing your wonderful craft-a-longs.
    We are sticking with only the things we know we eat and that we don't get swamped by in our CSA- attack of the killer squash.
    I only hope, with this being my first attempt, that I can harvest at least enough for one decent meal.

  4. Anna - Ah, the beloved beets. Yes. They are beloved to me, too! But, alas, I suck at growing them. I'm not too ashamed to say. Also, our farmshare gives us tons and they are WAY better at growing them than I am. Plus, my mom grows them and I think we know she is better at this than me, too. So, basically, beets make me feel like a failure and I don't want to grow failure. That's sad.

    SO - sorry about the beets. I'll take pictures of the ones my mom gives me, deal?

    And not only am I NOT making fun of one donkey towns, I'm JEALOUS of one donkey towns because y'all have the smarts enough to know how to can things and so have this kind of thing readily stocked in your one store. JEALOUS - not MAKING FUN. Wuv you!

    Also, I haven't seen a donkey around here in ages, so who knows if we have any. Which is a shame because I also love donkeys. There, I said it.

    Kris - Ah, good to know on the lettuce. I was planting on planting it under the bean teepee so that it'd get shade from the beans. Maybe I'll do a different variety under the corn? We'll see. I don't know how much lettuce we really need. Given the farmshare, I may already be planting more than I need.

    I wonder if the fact that we just managed to find pickling spice means that more people are starting to can around here? Granted, we found it at a specialty/high end grocery store, but still, I KNOW it wasn't there when I looked over the summer. I scoured every grocery, specialty and hardware store I could find - nothin'.

    So, getting excited for 75 degrees and sunny?

    SAHM - Ooh! Good luck! The first garden is a toughie - but it's so worth it. You'll learn a lot in your first season. Mostly I just learned patience, but I bet you'll do better than that :)

  5. Delurking to say that I am going to attempt to grow those exact same beans this year. We're bean twins! Yeah!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.