The vegetable gardens are exploding with produce in August. All your hard work is now paying off with an abundant harvest. But to get the most from all your efforts, it’s important to know when and how to harvest. Here are some tips.
- Pick Early and Often- Once they start producing, some vegetables just won’t quit. Keep harvesting your bush beans, summer squashes, zucchinis, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes every few days. Harvesting will encourage more fruits to form. Even if you miss a monster zucchini, go ahead and pick and compost it, so the plant gets the message to keep going.
- Support Your Veggies- Some vegetables, such as cantaloupes and baby watermelons, benefit from a little support and protection. For vines on the ground, place maturing fruits on upside down empty cans to keep them off the ground and away from voles and slugs. If you’re growing your melons up a trellis, support the fruits with a sling made of old pantyhose or soft cloth attached to the fence with VELCRO® Brand plant ties or fasteners. The fasteners will ensure those heavy fruits don’t fall.
- Pick at the Right Time. Know when to pick your veggies for best flavor. Let tomatoes ripen almost fully on the vine. Pick summer squash when they’re 8 inches long and cucumbers when they’re 6 inches long. Pick winter squash when the skin color changes, potatoes when the vines dieback, and sweet corn once the ears have filled in all the way.
Have any questions or gardening ideas? Email Charlie and you could see them answered in his next post! For more information, tips and inspirations, visit http://gardeningwithcharlie.com.