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AFTER 18 DAYS AWAY FROM HOME we returned to garlic ready for harvest and zucchini ready to be pickled.

GARLIC HARVEST was later than normal but there were still plenty of green leaves left on most of the stalks to  insure good wrappers when dry and only one variety had started to fall over. I harvested Inchelium (26), two types of hardneck (50), an unknown softneck variety from friends (28), and a dozen Itlaian White, which after three generations are finally to golf ball size. Still left to harvest is Chesnok, (another hardneck type) that looks like it needs another week or so. I lay the garlic on the potting bench for about two weeks to cure before completing the cleaning and trimming for storage. The potting bench is on the north side of the house and protected from rain by wide eaves.

Here’s a look at the vegetable garden; the lettuces and zucchini plants seem to be most vigorous, but everything is doing pretty well in spite of the mixed-up weather.

This is where the zucchini pickles begin. Yesterday I picked enough zucchini from three plants to make the first batch of Bread & Butter style pickles. The variety is Costata, a firm fleshed, ribbed type that held up well for pickles last year.

Step one is the sliced zucchini and onions, salted and covered with cold water and ice cubes for two hours.

This little slicer is the simplest form of a mandoline and is still sharp after forty years of use and a must have to make quick work of slicing zucchini and onions.

I found a use for the garlic scapes: I peeled them and placed one ‘head’ into each jar of pickles.

Five pints of pickles, the first of the season. Now the wait for the cucumbers to really come on so I can make my friend Betty’s dill pickles.