And yes, we had frost — again! We knew it was coming so yesterday we harvested beans like crazy; Will did two five-gallon buckets full and I did four. Then we were up until 10:30 PM, shelling most of them. Usually shelling beans is kind of like my zen time. But as everything was so late, many of the beans had not dried down yet so we had to shell them, so they didn’t mold before drying down. We figure if the bean seeds are the mature color, even if the pods are kind of green, they’ll dry down nice and plump. Right now, we have two crates of beans with a fan blowing on them to help them dry. Right after posting this blog, I’m heading out to the gardens again with my five-gallon buckets to pick more bean pods. Usually we can just pull the bush bean plants and thresh them in a child’s swimming pool. But because this year’s been crazy, weather-wise, some of the pods are nice and dry where others are still green as grass. Then some of the partially mature pods have good beans where others have frozen and won’t have viable seeds. (The beans kind of pucker up.) So we have to hand sort every pod and every seed in the pods. Yep, it is time consuming! But, hey, there’s nothing on television anyway…

I’m out picking these nice Louisiana pole beans which still have slightly immature pods. But the seeds’ colors are fine, so they’ll finish in the house.

Will’s off raking and baling one of our last fields. The haybine broke down so he’s temporarily held up from cutting more hay until the part comes. Oh well, there’s always Plan B around here!

Again, any of you who have planted and harvested a good crop of Hopi Pale Grey squash and did not plant another C. maxima variety, please save your seeds and send them on to me. As our cows ate all of ours, a whole lot of people are going to be sad to not be able to get them this year. Just spread the seed out on a cookie sheet and let dry on the countertop for a week or so. It’s very easy and will make lots of folks happy!

These are one of my favorite tomatoes — Lucid Gem. Not only productive and tasty but pretty too!

I’ve also been seeding more tomatoes and getting ready to can up plum jam and Vaquero Relish out of the pepper crop. But the beans come first as once the frozen pods start to soften, the rot spreads quickly to the bean seeds inside. Because of COVID and the surge in interest in gardening, we want to make sure as many people as possible can get our seeds and have a great garden next spring to feed their families. Especially when I’m wondering what will happen when the unemployment runs out for the millions of folks laid off due to the pandemic … all pretty much at once. Not a pretty picture. Plant lots and stock up your pantries folks! — Jackie


  1. thought you may be interested in a new and surprising shortage in our area, northwest Missouri. I sell or give away lots of eggs. Most of my customers have realized what a great idea it is to be more self sufficient and have their own fresh eggs and not be so dependent on the local stores for very much as shelves are still being refilled sparsely. The problem being that they have not returned my egg cartons. None to be had. Available on Amazon for $1.00 a single carton. Yipes.

  2. Hi Jackie!! That tomato Lucid Gem looks great. Adding to my list again!!

    When might you have your catalog ready this year to order from? I feel like I”m in a competition to get the seed!. I am looking for more ways to apply myself to the garden. Can’t give up right!

    Thanks for all you share and all the seed work you do!!

    • Hi Cindy,

      You’re welcome. Our 2021 catalog should be out in November but you can order anytime now. We’re harvesting more seed daily! We LOVE Lucid Gem tomatoes; so gorgeous and tasty too. Oh, AND productive as heck.

  3. I had at least 5 pickings from my beans I got from you – it seemed that every time I went outdoors to check the tomatoes I found more beans which I hadn’t expected. I have a lot in the freezer and we ate them almost
    every night until my husband said he was tired of green beans. They were provider beans and I can see why
    they were named that. I saved a few for seeds next year. My row of beans were about 12 feet long. I have
    heard reports from several people that the Lord told them to stock up. I guess that is about the highest
    warning you can get.

    • Yes it sure is! Now you see why I always grow Providers!!! Try frying some with bacon and see if he’s still “tired” of them…..

    • You bet, Amanda. Cut the tomato into halves, quarters or smaller pieces, depending on the size of the tomato. Squeeze out the seeds and gel with your thumb, into a coffee mug of bowl. Add an equal amount of warm water. Set out in a fairly warm place for about 3 days. A nasty moldy scum will form. this is fine! Get a wire strainer and dump out the mess into it, under running warm water. With your fingers, go round and round, squishing out the yucky stuff. Rinse the seeds and turn off the water. Shake the strainer a few times, then write the variety of tomato’s name on a paper plate. Turn the sieve upside down, rapping it smartly to release the seeds onto the plate. Dry in a warm spot where mice can not eat them for about a week. Rub the seeds with your hands to separate them then store in an envelope in a dry location. Be sure to label the envelope.

  4. Hi guys! This year we planted a huge trial garden of all different winter squashes to try out and sell surplus from. Unfortunately, we planted our Hopi Pale grey right in the middle because we weren’t planning on saving seed from it this year. Is it alright if I send you seed from it that are a few years old? All of what we have saved was really viable this year. I just wanted to check with you before I send it out. And! I’m sorry to hear of all the garden troubles you have had to go through this year! Things are tough in so many ways…for so many of us! Please know how much your Blog helps all of us be inspired to keep on keeping on!!! Much Love, Mia and John

    • Sure thing Mia. I always germinate test everything we offer anyway so I’ll do that with seeds you send. Thank you so very much!!! You know how wonderful those squash are and we hate that folks would be disappointed not to have them this year, especially with COVID. Please stay safe, not only from COVID but also the fires!!! Love you guys!

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