Holiday 2017 Newsletter

You're receiving this newsletter because you are a member of the Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club.
saturday DEC 2 2017

Editor’s note

Happy Holidays everyone!

Time for visiting, baking, decorating, traveling and hosting friends and family. It’s been another terrific year for the club. Join us next year for another round! The Board has been hard at work planning for the meetings and events. Here are next year’s proposed board members-still to be ratified at the holiday party:

President and programs: Debbie Brooks

Secretary: Mike Degroot

Treasurer: Cynthia Armstrong

Membership: Diane Glass

Media and PR: Nancy Lovett

Hospitality: Betsy Porter

Historical committee: Barbara Stockard and Gyorgyi Szbenski

Volunteers: Marjie Caldwell

Greeter: Shelby Collier

newsletter Allison Liddell

webmaster Jacki Brewer

But first we party!

Allison Liddell-GDOGC newsletter editor

Sunday, December 3 @ 2:00 PM

Debbie Strecker has graciously offered to host at her house in Garland. The address is 2614 Lancaster St, Garland TX 75044. The club will provide turkey, tamales and tea. Please bring a side dish or dessert, and a garden related gift around $15 for the gift exchange. See you tomorrow!


It’s Seed Starting Time!


Collect those seed catalogues and start choosing your selections to grow for the GDOGC Spring Plant sale. This is our main annual fundraiser and lots of fun. I have a new greenhouse (thank you Elizabeth!) and will probably way overestimate how much I can grow in there. Ha!



Naturally Fermented Spicy Dill Pickles


Growing:  Varieties of cucumbers listed as pickling cucumbers work best.  They have a lower water content and tend to harbor more of the beneficial bacteria on the skin that promotes the fermentation process than salad cucumbers.

Picking:  I experimented with picking the cucumbers at all stages of development.  The very small, which make gherkin pickles, tend to be the most crisp tidbits.  The medium size cucumber will make standard size pickles and, and as long as not fermented too long will also come out quite crisp.  The giant cucumbers are more difficult to arrange in the crock for fermenting, and in the jars for canning.  They also will never make as crisp a pickle as the smaller cucumbers in order to achieve proper fermentation and spiciness.  That said, sometimes there is nothing like a huge pickle like the ones you can get at the movie theaters (or bigger).  It is not necessary to wait to get enough cucumbers to fill an entire crock (see preparing) before harvesting.  The cucumbers can be added as harvested, but should begin the fermentation process the same day as harvested.

Preparing for fermenting:  The cucumbers can be fermented in any glass, clay or plastic container, but not metal.  I found that wide-mouth one or two gallon glass crocks work well.  They are inexpensively available at Wal-Mart.  It might be desirable to start with one gallon containers in order to make any adjustments to suit individual tastes in the final pickles for future batches.  But, trust me, when satisfied with the taste, two gallon crocks are easier as long as you can lift them.  Something that will fit inside the crock to hold the cucumbers submerged while fermenting will be needed.  I found that a plastic Tupperware lid or lid from an Anchor glass container worked well.  If choosing to add cucumbers daily until the crock is full, as I did, some kind of weight will be needed to put on the lid until the crock is full.  I used a ramekin or small Tupperware cup filled with brine effectively, and found it to be very easy.

The brine (salted water) should be prepared from distilled water.  Chlorinated water will slow or completely prevent the fermentation process.  Use Pickling and Canning salt, White Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt.  Read the ingredients to be assured it is just salt. Iodized salt and non-caking ingredients will cloud the brine and, if I remember correctly, alter the taste as well.  I used Himalayan Pink Salt.  Add 3 teaspoons of salt per quart of distilled water.  Large quantities of the brine may be made, as it lasts indefinitely.   Make brine far enough in advance for the salt to thoroughly dissolve before using.  There is no need to refrigerate, and the brine should be at room temperature prior to use. 

After fermenting, canning jars with lids will be necessary for storage of the completed pickles.  Obtain jars appropriate for the size and number of pickles that are desired to be stored per jar.  Fermented pickles must be refrigerated upon completion to stop the fermentation process and for storage.  In addition to the spices listed below, one fresh hot pepper for each canning jar will be needed at canning time.

For the rest of the details, click this link or look on the GDOGC website.

Future speakers

Mike created a new form for members to use if they hear about an interesting speaker.

Feel free to use this and submit by scan and email or drop off at mtg.


Annual Seed Exchange


The annual grab and run was a great time as always. No one was injured and it seemed everyone left with plenty of seeds and other garden items.

Thank you Ft. Worth!

Sadly the Organic Garden Club of Ft. Worth has disbanded, and in the process gave a very kind $150 donation to the GDOGC. Many thanks! You will be missed!

What to do in the Garden in WINTER

Winter is a great time for garden clean-up and planning, but here in Texas there is still plenty of action in terms of planting. Many cool season vegetable and herbs will do much better in the winter, and winter is the time to plant many hardy perennials, trees and shrubs. While you are cleaning up don’t forget to leave food and habitat for our urban and suburban wildlife, and properly dispose of you garden waste. Consider shredding and reusing as much as you can.

p.s. Did you know all of North Haven’s guides are available on line? Lists of best plants, native plants, and many more.


Submitted by Jacki Brewer

Hot Links:


A fun little article about a garden club:

Shades of Green nursery has some nice articles and a newsletter.


My sister Markene is an Episcopalian priest, so this link has a religious message but is still a nice garden story.


Plant of the Month


‘Red Dragon’ Persicaria (Persicaria microcephala)

Member Jacki Brewer has this colorful foliage plant in her garden and states it does get a little summer weary, but comes back with a bang in the fall, just as beautiful as it is in the spring.

For more information check out this blog:


Plant some kale during the cool season to use in this yummy dish:


Cauliflower and Kale Frittata

4 servings







2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or shredded Manchego cheese
  • Preparation
  • Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add cauliflower and water. Cover and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add kale, garlic, thyme and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until the kale is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk eggs, paprika and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the vegetables to the egg mixture; gently stir to combine. Wipe the pan clean; add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and top with cheese. Cover and cook until the edges are set and the bottom is brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil until the top of the frittata is just cooked, 2 to 3 minutes.

Submitted by Debbie Brooks. For a taste test be sure to come to the holiday party!

From Eating Well magazine


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GDOGC History

Check out the fantastic scrapbook pages created by our history committee-Georgyi, Barbara Stockard and Pat Curry. Were you there?



Newsletter Editor: Allison Liddell
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