We all know that stealing is wrong. But there is an exception-stealing from your own garden.
When I need potatoes for part of a recipe this time of year, I reach into the ground around the lush green potato plants, and find a few fresh spuds. The plant will just direct its energy to the remaining tubers, so my theft won't even affect the total harvest.
When your zucchini starts producing pinky finger sized squash, go ahead and pick them. You will get a treat now, or you can wait forthem to become a chore later in the season.
Lettuce growing too close together can turn into a salad today. By picking the small the remaining properly spaced plants will be more productive. And you can be a producer in the baby lettuce craze. "Would you like baby carrots with that monsieur?"
Beets and carrots always seem to grow right next to each other. Pick the bigger of the two and give the runt room to stretch its roots. You'll eat more now- and later.
If we run out of salsa from last year, before the tomatoes ripen this year, I'll make a batch of green tomato salsa. We enjoy that in the fall, and with a few peaches added in, it's a different spicy staple.
Of course, not everything lends itself to early harvesting. A baby watermelon is just not ripe yet. And if you've tried a green apple, the word "enough" is said through puckered lips.
But the principle of enjoying the fruits- and vegetables- of your labor a bit ahead of prime time will allow you to pass by the vegetable aisle in the store a little earlier this summer.
So go ahead. Sneak out to the garden when no one is watching and harvest some pencil thin green beans.