Our little garden is doing pretty good. We seem to be pretty hit & miss with our gardening. Grand plans, but not always the results we would like. We tried a few new things this year.

To begin with, we scrapped the wooden tee-pee as a bean trellis. We didn’t have much luck with the beans on it. There were four places to plant and they climbed all over each other. I saw a nifty “bean cage” in a garden catalog. We had a few of these panels left from something, we zip-tied them together and planted the beans down all three sides. Some of the beans are climbers and some are bush type.

They have done really well. The biggest problem has been the size of the openings. I can get my hand in, but just barely. They sell the wire “mesh” for concrete re-enforcement that has the 4 inch openings and we will probably use that next season. This method has given us more beans than we’ve ever had, and in less space. This is our most recent harvest. The purple beans turn bright green when blanched!

Which brings me to the other thing we tried. Pickling cucumbers. I’ve grown field & lemon cucumbers on tomato cages before and had good success. I saw this set-up in the same garden catalog as the bean cage, and thought we might as well give it a go.

The idea is for the vines to climb up the frame and the cukes will hang down. By hanging to grow there won’t be any flat places or white spots from the cukes resting on the ground, OR in our case, slug damage. Those slimy monsters eat just about anything!

Here are some of the results of the experiment. We have found that you need to make sure to check the cuke-lettes as they are developing. One or two were laying on the wire and made weird shapes. Not so worrisome if you are making sliced pickles like this.

My husband got bitten by the pickle bug. All of those cucumbers were just too much to resist. We had most of the ingredients on the list so after a quick trip to the market for horseradish and the main pickling spice he was set. I even found him my wavy chopping knife for more pickle fun!

He made two separate batches. The first, on the right, are zesty bread & butter refrigerator pickles. The second are the sandwich dills. He actually used the canner and hot-packed that batch. In either case, we have to wait a bit for the pickles to develop their full flavor. It will be interesting to see how they taste.

He already has big plans for the next batch of baby cukes on the vines!