Pickled Beets and Planning for Frost

Pickling beets and planning for frost, both in early June, you ask? First, let’s get to the most exciting part of today: my first canning of 2012! It really is like riding a bicycle, I swear.
20120608. First canning of 2012!

Since this is our first year of growing beets, though, processing beets was a new experience. I love the vivid purple-red they turn the cutting board… and your hands… and the water. Well, you get the idea.
20120608. Pickled beets.

After pulling out my first batch of beets this evening, I realized I have freed up some prime real estate in the garden. I also realized that, if I want to extend the growing season as I had originally planned, I probably need to at least start figuring out what I want to harvest this fall – and, in some cases, start the seedlings.

Didn’t I just get done with that whole headache? This time around, I will be buying the fantastic organic seed starter mix from the hydroponic store out in Bloomington. No more of this Burpee organic seed starter shake! Seriously, none of my seedlings grew this year, and that is all we did differently.

For my own future reference, here are my overly ambitious plans for the fall season (using dates from the Purdue Extension Office’s fantastic planting schedule).

  • Swiss Chard – plant 6/1-8/1
  • Winter Squash – plant 6/1-7/1
  • Beets – plant 7/1-8/15
  • Cabbage – plant 7/10-7/20
  • Turnip – plant 7/15-8/15
  • Lettuce – plant 7/15-9/1
  • Spinach – plant 8/20-9/10

In honor of beets (and my general love for old school Sesame Street), I give you… the sugar beets song! Hmmm… maybe we should grow some sugar beets.

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5 thoughts on “Pickled Beets and Planning for Frost

  1. I’d love to hear if you have any special tips for canning, because this is the first year I’m going to attempt it!

    Also, I used that nonsense Burpee mix this year too, and my seedlings hate me for it. None of that in the future. I learned my lesson this year!

    • I canned for the first time last year, and it is awesome! At first, it seems really complicated (I have to heat up the jars WHILE I’m doing all this other stuff? What if I don’t have enough cucumbers to make a full batch of pickles? Oh, crap, I forgot to heat the lids!), but once you breathe, read through the recipes in advance, and just do it a few times, there is a really awesome rhythm to it all. I also got a few books for my birthday last year, including the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” (http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Complete-Book-Home-Preserving/dp/0778801314), and it is really fantastic. I have a few others, but more often than not, I pull a recipe out of there just because I have never made anything bad/inedible from it!

      I am so glad to hear I’m not the only one who had a horrible time with that seed starter! That stuff is complete crap! Only the best from now on – either my own mix or the lovely, awesome, expensive stuff from the hydroponics store. 🙂

      • We used ProMix BX (top-of-the-line!) for our raised beds. I expect tomatoes the size of basketballs. 🙂 And thanks for the encouragement regarding canning – I was super intimidated!

  2. Hi Christie. I wanted to return the blog visit and thank you for taking time to leave a comment on mine. Your beets look great. I pickled some for the first time last year, yummy. I love how you’re planning ahead, It certainly does take a lot of that at first, to have an extended gardening season.

    Disappointing about the seeds. I’d look for another source as well. Have you started trying to save your own seed as well?

    • Hi, Leigh! Thanks for stopping by – I love reading your blog. Keep up the good work!

      I ended up planting about six more rows of beets today. Hopefully they’ll deal with the heat all right. I’ll be babying them for a while, I think! I love sauteed beet greens, too, so I planted some Swiss chard seeds this morning, as well. Somebody stop me!

      I haven’t tried saving seeds, but I am really interested in doing so. I’m going to need to do some more research, but if any of my tomatoes are amazing this year, I hear tomatoes are a really great place to start with seed saving (aka relatively fool-proof). Any tips are much appreciated!

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