Harvesting Your Produce
When it comes to harvesting it is important to keep track of the produce you have planted and when it was planted. Most vegetables are most flavourful and tender when they are relatively small. However, others are best when harvested at a larger size.
Here are some tips for harvesting some common items in your garden:
The best time to pick tomatoes is when the fruit is a mature green and then allowed to ripen off the vine. By doing so, you can prevent splitting or bruising. Harvest time typically occurs at the
end of the growing season, usually late summer. Look for a light blush of colour as an indicator of when to pick tomatoes.
Grasp the fruit firmly, but gently, and pull from the plant by holding the stem with one hand and the fruit with the other, breaking the stalk just above the calyx that has formed to protect the bud.
The best time to pick jalapenos is after the fruit is a deep, dark green while other hot peppers such as Cayenne, Serrano, Anaheim, Tabasco or Celestial are mature after a colour change from green to orange, reddish-brown, or red. By picking the hot pepper as it matures it encourages the plant to continue to fruit.
Sweet peppers, such as bell peppers should be harvested when the fruit is still green and full sized. By continuing to allow the pepper to ripen, its colour will change from yellow, orange to red which will result in sweeter peppers.
To pick a pepper you must be delicate because the branches easily break. Use hand pruners, scissors or a sharp knife to remove the pepper from the plant. If you are harvesting hot peppers it is cautious for you to wear gloves.
It is important to pick lettuce before hot weather encourages the plant to bolt or develop a flower stalk. These make the lettuce taste bitter. With leaf lettuce and other greens, you can cut twice, three, or even four times in a season.
To pick the lettuce, use scissors to cut the largest leaves individually from the plants. Harvest the smaller leaves once they become big enough.
The best time to harvest zucchini is when the vegetable is no more than six or seven inches long. Any longer than that and the zucchini becomes tough and woody. Zucchini grows very rapidly so it is important that you watch it vigilantly. If you discover your zucchini have become huge, grate it and use it in zucchini cookies or bread.
To pick zucchini gently twist or cut it at the stem.