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I guess we are all getting tired. The new normal has us all changing our routines, and it is draining on all of us. The hot weather is also draining. Even my computer wanted to take a break this month, right in the middle of writing for the TV show and for the Garden Time magazine too. I guess it is time to head out and get into the garden and recharge my batteries. They say that gardening improves your mood, and I would agree wholeheartedly. So if you are feeling a little out-of-sorts, hang out in your garden and reset your mood!
This week we featured...
Making Dill Pickles
Late summer is the time to think about preserving all the great flavors of the garden. We have done lots of stories about canning jams and jellies, but this week we tackle one of the most liked recipes for canning, pickles! Ryan narrated this story as assistant producer, Therese, did all the hard work in the kitchen to walk you through the steps for canning cucumbers (or cukes, as we called them when we were growing up). This recipe is for dill pickles, but you can find similar recipes and techniques on the OSU Extension Food Preservation website.
Here is what we did. First we got all our materials together so we didn’t have to stop once we got going. We started the process by cleaning the canning jars and then sterilizing them in boiling water. 4 jars fit in a 9 x 13 pan. We also sterilized the lids and rings in a pan. We put ¼ teaspoon alum or one grape leaf in the bottom of each jar. This is to help make the pickles crisp. Then we added one to two sprigs of fresh dill to each jar and a clove of garlic if desired. We then packed the jars full of cucumbers. Remember to keep the cucumbers just below the head of the jar so the brine can cover the cucumbers and allow a bit of room for the brine to boil during processing. Cover with a sterilized lid and screw the lid on hand tight. Process the jars in a hot water bath canner for 15 minutes. The water should be boiling before adding the jars. Remove from canner and let cool. The jars will either have sealed in the canner or will seal as they cool. If the jar does not seal, the pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for a month before eating. You can remove the rings after the jars have sealed. Pickles are ready to eat after a month. (It’s a good idea to write the date on the top of the jar with a permanent marker.) They can be stored up to a year and a half. If you are interested in this recipe you can click here. If you are interested in preserving anything from the garden we recommend that you check out the OSU Extension Food Preservation website before you start to make sure everything you do is tasty AND safe!
Hot summers equal lots of watering for the average gardener. One of the tools that can make that job easier is some of the great watering tools from Dramm. Dramm is the choice of nursery industry professionals when it comes to watering and it has become the gardener’s choice as well. We love our Dramm tools, because they work so well. That is because they have been perfecting their tools for over 75 years. Dramm was founded by John G. Dramm who was a local florist. He was looking for a watering tool that mimicked the coverage and gentleness of rainwater. He came up with the 400 Water Breaker which was an immediate success. This has led to the production of a wide array of watering tools that meets the needs of every garden watering chore. From watering wands to the revolver spray gun, Dramm has stayed on the cutting edge of design and durability. We saw how they ensure that durability with some of the testing they do. They bang watering wands into the concrete, drag them around the floor, and turn the valves on and off for days at a time, all to make sure that the tools work well in the home garden. We saw some of their wide range of tools including their lawn sprinklers, soaker hoses, cutting tools and even their new Drammatic fertilizers! You can find the colorful line of Dramm tools at your local independent garden center.
TOW – Topping Weeds
So you’re in a hurry and you see some weeds in the garden on your way out the door. Our tip of the week is meant to buy you a little time before those weeds go to seed. Simply deadhead the weed! That’s right, pinch off the top of the weed. This will keep it from spreading all over your garden, until you can get out and pull the whole weed when you have more time. Remember not to leave the weed head on the ground. Even if it is pulled, the seeds can still be active and start making new weeds, so get them up and off the ground as soon as you can.
Al’s Grow Your Own Cocktails
Summer is a time for gardening and a time for entertaining. At Al’s Garden Center Sherwood (503-726-1162) they can help you do both! We stopped by and chatted with Eve about how they can help you with your gardening and also with your cocktail making. There are lots of plants you can use for your cocktails and infused liquors. Herbs and fruits can be sliced, crushed and soaked to give your drinks different flavors and scents. Eve showed us how easy it is when you harvest to do something simple like ‘muddling’ some fresh fruits (strawberries and blueberries) and fresh mint. Muddling is when you lightly crush a fruit, herb or vegetable to release more flavor or fragrance. This is a great way to add a twist to any drink or cocktail. If you would like to learn more about mixing fresh ingredients in your summer drinks then you can check out their on-line video featuring Eve as she makes a mojito! After watching the video, be sure to head to your local Al’s Garden & Home, pick up some plants and get ready for a summer full of fun!
Keddie Farms Cilantro & Dinner
There are a lot of new gardeners this year and many are choosing staycations with side trips to their vegetable gardens for entertainment. With all this ‘growing’ interest in food, we stopped by Keddie Farms to see them harvesting one of their crops in their garden. Reg Keddie met Ryan next to some dried out plants to see what Reg was harvesting. These little seeds on the dried plants were coriander seeds, which are used in cooking. These seeds are the result of cilantro when it matures and goes to seed. Where cilantro has a distinct flavor, you either love it or hate it, coriander has a citrusy and floral flavor to it. To learn more about using that flavor we traveled over to the Keddie Kitchen to meet with Chef Christopher Dahl from the Art of Catering to see what he was doing with it.
Chef Dahl had toasted the seed to bring out the flavor before he ground the seeds into a fine powder. He was making a Salsa Verde. He had some Italian parsley, capers, ground coriander, garlic and lemon that he combined together with olive oil to make a great salsa that could be used on grilled steak, grilled pork chops or even on fish. You can taste some of these flavors if you sign up for a 4 course Dinner and Wine event at Keddie Farms this coming Thursday, the 27th at 6pm. You can go to the Keddie Farms website to save your place. Keddie Farms is a great event space where you can really stretch out and social distance. With a covered patio off the kitchen, a covered pavilion and acres of beautiful open spaces, you can really have some room to spread out. If you would like to learn more about Keddie Farms or any of their events, check out their website. If you are looking for a great place for your next big event, be sure to drop them a line. They can make sure your event will be one to remember!
Sun Protection and Clothing
The summer season for gardening is here and that means more time in the sun and exposure to the elements. We decided to share some tips with you from the American Academy of Dermatology to help your skin survive the summer ahead. The first tip is to wear protective clothing and protect your skin. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF number for your skin and reapply if you are outside for a long time or are sweating a lot. The clothing, like the hats we found at Al’s Garden and Home, have a high UPF number (think SPF for clothing) and will help you with UV protection. Next be aware of the plant material you are working with. Poison Oak and Sumac are naturally dangerous plants for most people, but also be aware of plants with sap, like euphorbias, which can also cause skin irritation. Natural pests can also be a problem. Look out for bees, wasps and biting insects. If you can avoid them, great, but also know how to trap or repel them.
If you are applying sprays or other garden products, read the labels and wear the appropriate gear. Organic or synthetic, you could have a reaction and knowing what you are applying and how to treat it will be a big help. If you get a cut or abrasion, clean it thoroughly and bandage it well. We are usually working in soil or compost and getting that wound clean will help it heal faster and cause less problems in the long run.
Finally, once you are finished in the garden for the day, wash those clothes and take a shower. This will help you get rid of the sap, pollens and other garden debris that can cause a reaction with your skin. Use these few tips and your skin will thank you and you’ll have more fun in your garden.
Stoller Grape Tips Experience Center
During one of our recent sunny days we headed up to Stoller Family Estates (503-864-3404) to get some tips on caring for grapes in your garden. We started at the top of the vineyard with Jason, the VP of Vineyards. He is responsible for the grapes in the field and ensuring the best growing conditions for them. Right now with the sun, it is the best conditions for growing and maturing the grapes. However, June was not the best for early fruit formation. The excess moisture and cool temperatures were hard on the early fruit set. If we get rain in late August and early September it can create mold and mildew problems for the fruit and so at Stoller, they peel away leaves and prune off non-productive vines and shoots. This increases airflow and sunlight, which help control those problems. Grapes love full sun so if you can increase that, they perform better. As far as watering, grapes can do well with available water once they are well established (usually 5 years or older). Jason said there is no need for extra water for most varieties of grapes. One thing that the vintners do that the homeowner doesn’t have to do is cut off clusters. A winemaker wants to concentrate the sugars and flavors so they cut off some extra clusters of grapes in the late summer, the homeowner doesn’t have to do that.
To see where all these grapes end up, we went down the hill to the brand new Experience Center and talked with Melissa, the VP of Winemaking, to learn more about this wonderful new addition to the vineyard. This 8,000 square foot building is as high tech as it can be! One end has a 26 foot screen that features videos of the vineyard and winery. On the other end is a programmable mural of nearly the same size that showcases art that can interact with your mobile device. There are also 4 tables situated in the tasting area so you can learn about the art of winemaking and the Stoller Family Estate story simply by touching the screen. This new center is perfect for corporate events and other special occasions by reservation. It can also be used when the main tasting room is crowded or unavailable.
If you are looking for a getaway and some wonderful wines, be sure to check out Stoller Family Estate. Check their website to make a reservation. We’re sure you will find something from Stoller that will become one of your ‘new’ summer favorites for sipping on your deck!