How to Grow Pickles

Pickles growing in a garden.

In “ye olden dayes,” everyone knew how to make their own pickles. These days, most people buy pickles from a grocer. But what you may not realise is that pickles are vegetables.1 And vegetables grow in gardens. Vegetable gardens, to be exact.2

Now you are probably asking, “But how does one grow a pickle?” And we shall tell you. And by “we,” I mean I.

First, in order to grow a pickle, you need pickle seeds. Technically, you also need dirt, but most people have no trouble finding that. (If you live on the 13th floor of a high-rise apartment building, you may be out of luck, in which case you need to ask your neighbours on the first floor for some dirt; or just dig some up when no one’s looking. Politicians also have a lot of dirt, but we won’t go there.) So back to the pickle seeds. We looked in several hardware and garden stores, and for some reason they don’t seem to sell pickle seeds. They have tomato seeds, pepper seeds, cucumber seeds (who grows cucumbers?), even Japanese squash seeds, but no pickle seeds. Apparently, the Big Pickle Industry doesn’t want people growing pickles. But guess what! You can get pickle seeds from a jar of pickles. So just buy one jar of pickles, and you’ll have all the seeds you need. Open the jar, cut a few pickles, take the seeds, and eat the pickles. Yum.

Once you have the seeds, put them in the dirt. Push them into the soil a little; not too deep, not too shallow, but just right.3 Water generously, and give them lots of sun. If you don’t have lots of sun, try going to the beach in the summer. You’ll get all the sun you need, and end up sunburned. While you wait for your seeds to germinate, and grow into big, plump pickles, you can eat the rest of the pickles from the jar. Or go to the beach and get more sun. 4

If you have any trouble growing pickles when you try our method, let us know in the comments. Happy pickling!


“Planche Lactuca sativa” by Tepeyac and “Pickle” by Renee Comet, both public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Composition and alteration by Lynn Locifero.

  1. Or fruits, depending on the importance you place on the presence of seeds versus the culinary use.
  2. We do NOT recommend growing pickles in herb gardens, flower gardens, or kindergartens.
  3. “Just right” is a technical gardening term that only real gardeners understand. If you don’t know what it means, you aren’t a real gardener.
  4. These activities normally do not hinder the growth of pickles.

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