Gardeners Awake! It's Time to Order Seeds. Here Are Some Fresh Ideas.

Mar 2, 2017

Jayde Dilks grew up in a small, seaside town in Northeastern England. In 2006 she came to Wellfleet for an internship, fell in love with the area and the man who is now her fiancé, and decided to stay. Today she spends her nights managing a Provincetown restaurant and her mornings in her growing garden. Recently we sat down in my kitchen to talk about her seed order for this year.

“I like mainly things that I use in everyday cooking,”  Dilks told me.  “And also what my friends use that I can pass along, because there’s so much of it that I can’t keep up. We love pickling, so we grow a lot of cucumbers. We’ve usually gone with the English cucumber, but I liked the look of the picture that I saw of this Boston Cucumber, so I’m going to give that a try.”

The Boston Pickling Cucumber is known for its high yields, solid flesh, and straight, full shape. Dilks is not a big fan of bread and butter pickles, but she thinks the Boston Pickling Cucumber will be perfect for her favorite recipe for garlic dills.

Dilks was also looking at seeds for St. Valerie, a type of carrot she had never tried.

“The ones that we have been growing­­—I forget the name­—have been really short and stumpy. These seem to grow a little longer. We have a deep garden, so we have the opportunity to actually grow some decent carrots. I just want to see what the difference is, and if it’s actually us and where we’re planting the carrot and that’s why we’re only getting the short, kind of stodgy, fat-looking guys­­—or if we can grow the long ones. Not just ourselves, but my dog also enjoys carrots.”

Dilks also has on her list to try a pepper named Cute Stuff.

“They are bell peppers that are a variety of colors,” she said.  “So you don’t actually know what you’re getting. I could get green, I could get red, I could get yellow. But they’re mini. They’re not full grown bell peppers.”

I asked her about a note that just said “potatoes.”

“We grew Yukon gold and purple potatoes last year,”  she explained.  “We’ve never had purple potatoes, so it was really cool to see that process, because the stems and flowers are purple, unlike your other potatoes. But we didn’t really have that much fun cooking them. They weren’t our cup of tea. So we’re definitely going to do Yukon gold, and something else.”

Since we talked, Dilks has settled on Russet Burbank—another practical choice. It’s the most widely grown potato cultivar in North America and she likes it for the same reasons most people do—it’s a long keeper, and it’s a potato that you can use for everything—it makes excellent baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and best of all French fries.

Here’s a link to more information about the seed varieties mentioned in this piece.

And here's the Pickle Recipe:

Ice the cucumbers for 24hours - this keeps the crunch.

Cut into chips, spears or leave whole, depending on your preference. Depending on how your crop grows will determine the amount of pickles per jar. Ours were typically fat and small. Anywhere between 3-4 per 24oz jar.

This is for 4 pint jars or 2 quarts jars.. we prefer 24oz to add a little extra brine..

1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled, smash some of them
4 teaspoons dill seed & fresh dill
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Combine vinegar, water and salt in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Equally divide garlic cloves, dill seed, black peppercorns and red chili flakes between jars. Pack prepared cucumbers into jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace (that's the amount of space between the surface of the brine and the rim of the jar).

Wipe rims and apply lids and bands (don't screw them on too tight)

Place jars in pot of hot water. When water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from canning pot and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, check seals.

Let cool completely. We put our jars in our cool basement. We put a jar in the fridge a day before we want to eat them. Let at least rest for 1 week. The longer they have the better the taste.