Growing a new vegetable for the first time is a little garden thrill that never gets old.


Saturday I picked my first homegrown pepper. I'd been keeping an eye on the biggest one for several days, watching it gradually turn from glossy green to brilliant red. Finally it was ready, so I plucked it off, sliced it up and popped it into my mouth. It was delicious! Juicy, crisp and sweet.

Since I'm a rookie when it comes to peppers, I didn't know whether my first harvest was early or not, so I checked the Minnesota harvest calendar ( Peppers generally start ripening in mid-July and continue through mid-September, according to the calendar, so mine appear to be on the early side but nothing unusual.

I do have some experience with tomatoes, enough to know that my plants are weeks ahead of schedule. I've been harvesting cherry tomatoes since July 1, although my full-size tomatoes are still hard and green.

This year's early spring and hot, sunny summer is expected to push a lot of crops onto the fast track. What's going on in your garden? What have you harvested so far? Are things ripening earlier than usual?