Surprisingly, vegetable gardens can have needs as individual as people. Learning what your vegetables need from you is vital for harvesting garden vegetables.
Here are some tips for novice gardeners to make the process easier.
The first thing you need for harvesting your garden vegetables is the right tools.
Online resources like GardenTap are an excellent way of ensuring you have what you need to harvest your vegetables safely.
Some vegetables require extra care and attention. A dedicated gardener always keeps the following tools on hand:
Understand When Vegetables Ripen
Another essential tip for harvesting garden vegetables is to know when each vegetable ripens.
Books, television, and radio dramas are rife with entertaining stories about outsized fruits and vegetables. Consequently, many novice gardeners wait to harvest their produce until it’s a substantial size.
While there’s certainly a place for massive marrows, you need to recognize they may not make for the tastiest meal.
Mind Your Step
Another thing to be wary of while gardening is trampled vegetables. Size may not matter, but bruises and tearing do.
That’s because these are some of the primary ways diseases infect plants. If you aren’t careful, you can feel an otherwise serviceable vegetable with one misstep.
So go slowly and avoid:
- Breaking stocks/vines/stems
If you do find any diseased vegetables, harvest them prematurely. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do much with them anyway, so size matters even less than average.
What’s important is stopping the disease from spreading from plant to plant.
Know Your Pests
Yet another thing to keep in mind when harvesting your garden vegetables is who else might want to eat them. You can take actions to protect your plants and vegetables and ensure they are as healthy as possible when it’s time to harvest them.
That doesn’t mean you need to slather your garden in chemicals and pesticides. Aside from anything else, that can adversely affect any pets you have who frequent the garden.
But it does mean knowing your local pests. Talking with an expert is an excellent way to develop a working knowledge of what insects are most likely to try and nibble your plants.
Better still, an expert can tell you which plants deter these pests. Planting botanical deterrents alongside your vegetables give you a better chance of healthy harvesting produce.
Know When it’s Harvest Time
Typically, we think of autumn as harvest time. That’s true for some vegetables, like gourds, but not everything ripens in the fall.
Tomatoes thrive in hot weather. You can pick this vegetable when it’s still slightly under-ripe because it continues ripening off the vine.
Spinach leaves are at their best when they’re approximately four to six inches long. If you remove older leaves or plants, you encourage more new growth.
Radishes need to be picked when they have a one-inch diameter. Leave them any longer, and they become too astringent and harsh to eat with enjoyment.
Asparagus shouldn’t be picked for the first three years you grow it. It needs time to mature properly.
Do Your Research
Our final tip for harvesting garden vegetables is to do your homework. Different types of vegetables do better in different environments.
Before planting, determine how much sun and shade your garden gets and investigate your area’s weather.
Then, look up plants compatible with these things. It’s possible to simulate sunlight in a greenhouse, but it’s more work for you. And if you don’t have a greenhouse already, building one is an expensive undertaking.
Harvesting garden vegetables don’t need to be complicated. But you do need to understand the vegetables you planted.
So, take time to learn what they need and reduce pests. And remember, whatever those radio soaps tell you, the most extensive vegetable shouldn’t necessarily be the one to win the prize.
Vegetables are as individual as people, and meeting their particular needs will make you a better gardener and your plants healthier.