I have been knocking my head against a wall to think of something to say. I am Kitty, a second year BIU participant. I am, like many of you, still feeling very uncertain of myself even as a second year gardener. Am I doing this right? Did I pay enough attention in the workshops? Am I watering enough? Am I overwatering? But, even with those concerns, I am excited about my seedling babies. I am impatiently waiting for the first tomatoes to be ready. Waiting to sink my teeth into a pepper straight from the plant. Looking forward to the cucumbers that will fill my plate in a few weeks. I look at my plants each day, more than once a day. Perhaps too many times to see the growth that I KNOW is happening. I don’t know how fast I want them to grow. Maybe like the magic seeds in Jack and The Beanstalk. I want to go to bed and wake up with a giant garden and bounty to share.

Since, I do not yet have a bountiful harvest to share, I will share two books that have made a difference for me. The Ball Preserving Book is a wondrous text to have for any new or experienced canner. It has been published again and again over the years. It is THE book on food preservation. The workshops on canning always mention this book. The recipes are all verified and tested. If you follow these recipes and instructions, you will have great success in canning and “putting by” your harvest for later. I use several jars of home canned tomatoes each week. I cannot imagine my kitchen without those.

The second book is Good Bug, Bad Bug. I was happy when Lexi mentioned  this gem. I went straight to Amazon to order one. I have happily identified our pests and even found myself less likely to squish a bug if one finds its way into my house! Knowing who the bad guys are and being able to spot a good guy has been great. I recommend both of these for your bookshelf. I am certain that there are other wonderful books to add to the shelf, but I often use digital copies. These, however, I am happy to have in hand. The bug book often accompanies me in the garden. The canning book is splashed with tomato juice and is dog eared with folded pages. That is a tactile badge of courage that helped me can for the first official time. 

Good luck to each of you on your growing path. I hope you can find more patience than I and do not find yourself whispering “Hurry up” while in your bathrobe in the earliest morning minutes.