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A Morning In My Garden

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson

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Head Out Early

I headed out early for a morning in my garden. My goal was to beat the humidity and pick green beans. Unfortunately, the humidity beat me here. It is already hot and sticky but I’m determined to make a difference out here today.

Wake the Snakes

When I get to the garden in the early mornings, the first thing I like to do is make a little noise…ruckus, if you are southern. I walk a few rows and knock down some weeds but the real purpose is to wake up any resting snakes. I’ve seen a few in my garden and I prefer to get them moving out before they surprise me! Using my favorite new tool called an action hoe has made weeding a little less daunting. I bought this as a recommendation from my garden mentor, Frank. I don’t know why I haven’t had one sooner. These are incredible for keeping the weeds under control. 

A black rat snake sunning on a gravel path.
Not a great picture, but proof that he is here!

Harvest and Can

On this day, I wanted to pick any remaining green beans to add to the large basketful I harvested with my dad this past weekend. My green bean of choice is the Blue Lake bush bean. The seeds are planted in early spring and they’ve always produced tons of beans. When gathering, the trick is to get on their level and look under the big, beautiful leaves. Like the cucumber, beans like to hide from the hot sun. Once I empty the plants of ripe beans, I plan to begin canning them or as I call it “saving summer in a jar”.

A Morning In My Garden

After clearing out the beans, I went ahead and combed through the rest of the garden. It was time to pick some vegetables that were just about perfect. I had to take a quick break to put on a long-sleeved shirt. The mosquitos were out as early as I was and they were relentless. Nevertheless, I managed to walk away with quite a full basket. I found lots of cucumbers, tomatoes and even a few good onions. That will have to be it for today. It is hot and I am going inside for some watermelon…my favorite!

A Tip From My Garden

Pick Your Tomato sooner than later

Before I go, I need to pass on a tomato tip. I know some may think I have picked these tomatoes too soon. However, I have struggled with getting tomatoes to ripen on the vine in my garden. The insects always beat me to the fruit. I recently learned from Joe Lamp’l that it is okay to pick your tomatoes at the “breaker stage”. This is the point when the tomato is just beginning to get some color or is “blushing”. Picking them at this point will not affect their flavor and just might keep them from cracking due to thunder or too much water at the root or being eaten by an insect. Seems a little unconventional but it is working. Set them in a sunny window and enjoy the ripening in the safety of your kitchen. 

Tomatoes ripening in a sunny kitchen window.

What are you growing?

Summer really is such a fun time to garden. It can be a lot of work and often super hot but the rewards are fantastic. Do you plant a summer garden? I’d love to hear all about what you plant in the comments below. My okra  is what I am watching for now. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for joining me for a morning in my garden.

Stay Curious,

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8 Responses

  1. Yes! I pick tomatoes early. I have a new kind of okra this year….will let you know.

    We just canned beans 🙂

    1. Our windowsill is full right now. It is a good problem to have. Be sure to let me know about the okra. I planted mine about 3 weeks ago and it is about 8 inches tall. I think it is such a pretty plant.
      Do you grow bush green beans?

  2. When I had a garden I would always pick tomatoes early to get ahead of birds & hummingbirds. I guess because they were red, they would peck on them & they would rot.

    1. I’m looking for direction on how to prep then pressure can salsa verde (tomatillo). If you have one please share.

      1. I have never made salsa verde but would love to hear how it goes. John loves salsa of all kinds.
        I do prefer pressure canning whenever possible. I made pickles last week and used a water bath. I worry they will get too soft if I pressure can them. I need a good dill pickle recipe if you have one. 🙂

        1. Here is my recipe for dill pickles, it is from Adam King at Mount Paran
          2 grape/mescaline leaves
          1/2 tbsp salt
          1/4 tsp peppercorn
          1 bay leaf
          3/4- 1 tbsp dill
          1/8 tsp mustard seed or ground mustard
          1 tbsp garlic
          A pinch of sugar
          Boil 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar (mostly white vinegar, a little apple cider vinegar)
          Pour over ingredients and pickles
          I have not used the grape leaves, They are used for crispness though
          I have done 30 jars over 2 years so far and everyone loves them . I even do green tomatoes this way.

          1. Thank you for sharing this Judie. If you and Adam make these, I feel certain they are delicious. When I saw grape leaves, I was really curious about what they did for the pickles. Thanks for explaining. I’ll probably skip them too- not sure where I’d get that!
            How many jars (pints?) do you make at a time? Do you know your water and vinegar measurements? I have so many cucumbers. I think I’ll try these tomorrow! 🙂

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