Understanding when to reap greens is simply as vital as understanding how you can develop them. Some have a very long time over which you’ll be able to harvest, others should be harvested at simply the right stage of ripening. Harvest on the mistaken time, and your greens might not ripen correctly if too younger, or be robust and bitter if too outdated. You possibly can’t actually go by the calendar, or days to maturity, as this may differ from yr to yr with such situations as rain, temperature, and diet. One of the best ways to inform when to reap is by the traits of every vegetable. Listed here are some particular clues.
Lima beans are greatest harvested when the pods are full, however earlier than they begin turning yellow. They’re extra tender when immature, and meatier when mature. The identical applies to snap beans. When the seeds are half of full dimension or bigger, the pods shall be extra fibrous and starchy.
There are three traits which point out a cantaloupe is prepared for harvest—the stem slips simply from the vine, the “netting” on the floor turns gentle tan, and the blossom finish (reverse the stem) is delicate (push gently together with your thumb) and smells candy.
Really feel the information of candy corn ears. After they really feel full by way of the husk they’re prepared for harvest. You’ll see dry silks. Open the highest of the ear, peeling again the husks, and kernels needs to be stuffed out. Press a kernel together with your fingernail, and it ought to have a milky sap. Use as quickly as attainable after harvest for the utmost sweetness.
Size of cucumber when mature will differ with selection, however typically they’re one and one-half to 2 and a half inches throughout, and 5 to eight inches lengthy. They’re greatest harvested barely immature when spines are delicate and earlier than the seeds change into half sized.
Eggplant maturity and dimension varies with selection too. Usually, harvest when almost full dimension and vibrant and glossy. After they flip a boring shade, and seeds flip brown, they’re overripe.
If you happen to didn’t harvest onions for consuming whereas they had been nonetheless small, harvest when bulbs are one to at least one and a half inches throughout for boiling and pickling. Harvest them even bigger, when tops fall over and the bottom of leaves (“necks”) shrivel, for storing and normal cooking.
Harvest scorching peppers as you want them, the younger and inexperienced ones being hotter in lots of instances than the mature and coloured ones. Late within the season, you may pull the entire plant, and dry peppers in a heat, well-ventilated house. Alternatively, harvest candy peppers when the fruits are full and agency. You possibly can depart them on the plant in order for you them to show colours if so for a selected choice (some keep inexperienced, others flip colours when totally mature). Even when a pepper will finally flip colours, it will probably nonetheless be eaten whereas inexperienced with little distinction in taste, if any.
For brand new potatoes, harvest solely a pair weeks after they bloom. For a most important crop, harvest tubers when the tops have died down later within the season. Harvest when the soil is dry if attainable, and dig fastidiously to keep away from bruising (use a backyard fork, not spade, to loosen the soil). Treatment potatoes for about two weeks in a cool (45 to 60 levels F), darkish, and well-ventilated space. For candy potatoes, harvest in fall earlier than frosts and freezes. Deal with them fastidiously to keep away from bruising however, not like common potatoes, treatment them dry and heat (80 to 85 levels F) for one week.
Summer season squash needs to be harvested when younger, tender, and a fingernail simply nicks the floor. Winter squash needs to be harvested when mature fruit is difficult and might’t be scratched with a fingernail. Harvest winter squash earlier than the primary arduous frost, with a pointy knife, and leaving and inch or so of stem hooked up. With no stem, fruit will start decay from the scar. Dry winter squash for 10 days to 2 weeks in a dry, heat space (75 to 85 levels F). Harvest and deal with pumpkins much like winter squash.
The right time to reap tomatoes varies with selection, however generally is when a fruit is uniformly crimson (or coloured within the case of yellow or different varieties), and the top remains to be agency and never delicate. Ripe fruit ought to sink when positioned in water. If late within the season and frosts are predicted, you may harvest inexperienced tomatoes. They may ripen nice in darkish, and in reality gentle can delay ripening. Hold them heat (55 to 70 levels F) till ripe, and you must be capable of retailer them this fashion for 3 to 5 weeks.
For all of your greens, the common inspection each few days is the important thing to one of the best and longest harvest season. There are a number of cool season crops equivalent to lettuce, carrots, and cabbage that may be planted out in late summer season for fall harvest. Extra recommendations on rising these and different vegetable crops within the North, in addition to their storage, may be present in articles from Cornell Cooperative Extension (gardening.cals.cornell.edu).
HARVESTING SUMMER VEGETABLES
Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor Emeritus
College of Vermont