Tag Archives: gardening

What Will You Put Up in 2015?

Planting could be considered to be the first step of putting up. Now that winter is halfway through, are you looking forward to your spring garden? Now is a good time to start making plans for planting, and eventually putting up!

Here are a few tips towards a glorious garden in 2015:

  • Try to figure out how much of your favorite veggie varieties you and family will eat fresh from your garden. You may not be able to come up with a very precise quantity, but start by recalling how much you consumed in past years and then add to that the types and amounts of food you want to preserve. For example, if your family didn’t eat all the cabbage you grew last year then maybe you don’t need to plant so much…or maybe you’ll stick with it and try fermenting sauerkraut or canning a relish with cabbage in it.
  • Measure your space and lay out the garden on paper. Hopefully you did this last year too, so that you can review your records and rotate crops each year to reduce disease and insects. If you are starting a new garden plot, be sure to consider the basic needs of your plants – most vegetables need eight or more hours of full sun (leaf crops like spinach and broccoli require less), and a nearby water supply will make your watering efforts far easier.
  • Buy seeds from a reputable local seller, and buy the best ones – cheaper seeds may have lower germination rates and may not be adapted to your area. UGA Extension has many more tips about Starting Plants From Seed for the Home Gardener.
  • If you decide buy transplants later, then buy those from a reputable local seller as well. Inspect the plants carefully for insects and disease, leaving any such signs on the shelf.
  • Go ahead and contact your local Cooperative Extension office and ask how to take a soil sample to figure out which amendments you’ll need to make once those starts are ready to go in the ground. Good soil is like a healthy diet – your plants need it to survive and thrive.

Let us know what you plan to put up in 2015 by commenting on this post, and we will try to support you with specific recommendations throughout the year.

This post was inspired and adapted from Wayne McLaurin’s article, Spring Gardening: Getting Ready.

Delightful Fresh Dill Cucumber Relish Recipe

If you haven’t planted cucumbers or dill yet, then this recipe might bring you inspiration to get out and add these delicious plants to your garden. Fresh Dill Cucumber Relish is our own take on a sweet, not salty, relish that is great for your homegrown fresh dill. For a sweet, light, refreshing treat, chill this relish in the refrigerator and try it on tortilla chips!

If this is your first time canning, or if you could use a review of the basics, please read Using Boiling Water Canners and Principles of Home Canning before beginning.

Fresh Dill Cucumber Relish

Makes about 6 to 7 pint jars


–          12 cups chopped pickling cucumbers (about 4 ½ pounds)

–          3 cups chopped red bell pepper

–          1 cup chopped onion

–          ¼ cup pickling or canning salt

–          4 cups crushed or cubed ice

–          8 cups water

–          5 cups cider vinegar (5%)

–          1 cup sugar

–          1 cup water

–          2 tablespoons mustard seed

–          1 cup chopped fresh dill

–          1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids and bands according to manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Prepare cucumbers and peppers by first washing them well. After washing the cucumbers, slice a thin piece from both the stem and blossom ends and discard. Cut into about 1-inch pieces and then chop in a food processor (using about 3 pulses on “chop”) to yield about ¼-inch or slightly larger pieces. Measure 12 cups of the chopped cucumber.
  3. After washing the peppers, remove the stem, seeds and white membranes. Cut into about 1-inch pieces or slices and then chop in a food processor (using about 3 pulses on “chop”) to yield about ¼-inch or slightly larger pieces. Measure 3 cups of the chopped pepper.
  4. Remove the skin from onions. Wash well and chop into about ¼-inch cubes, or process to size in a food processor as for peppers. Measure 1 cup of the chopped onion.
  5. Combine measured chopped cucumber, pepper and onion with salt, ice and the 8 cups water in a large bowl or saucepot. Cover; let stand 3 to 4 hours in refrigerator. Drain; rinse thoroughly with ice cold water and drain well again through a cheesecloth-lined strainer (until no more water drips through, about 15 to 20 minutes).
  6. Heat vinegar, sugar, 1 cup water, and remaining ingredients in a stockpot while stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add drained, chopped vegetables, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Fill hot relish into clean, hot pint jars leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Make sure liquid covers the top of the food pieces. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply prepared canning lids.
  8. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in the table below. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.
Table 1. Recommended process time for Fresh Dill   Cucumber Relish in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes   of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0 – 1,000 ft

1,001 – 6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft



15 min



Note: This recipe was developed at The University of Georgia, Athens, for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It is also available at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/fresh_dill_relish.html.