10 Tips for Harvesting Your Vegetable Garden

By now your vegetable garden will be in full swing production.  Here are some tips for harvesting your vegetable garden for the best results... and taste!

Frankie's 10 tips for harvesting your vegetable garden:

1. The best time to harvest zucchini  is when they are 10-12 inches long. They lose taste and texture as they get bigger.

 

2. Harvest carrots when they are 1- 2 inches in diameter at the top where they peak through the soil.

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3. Broccoli needs to be harvested before the florets bloom. Don't wait for them to grow as large as the ones you see in the grocery store, once they start to bloom, they are no longer worth harvesting. 

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4. Leaf lettuce will be tastier  and more tender when they are harvested at a smaller size, earlier in the season. Once the summer heat hits, you will find your lettuce has gone bitter and/or started to flower. This is called "bolting" and it ruins the taste and texture of the lettuce. No worries though! Compost the old lettuce plants and you can start new lettuce plants for late fall harvest.

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5. Corn is ready to be harvested when the silks start to turn dark brown.

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6. Whether you have grown your own, or are buying tomatoes, vine ripened tomatoes will have the best taste. Do not store them in the refrigerator or they will lose flavour.

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7. Cauliflower may look yellowed when you grow it at home. This is just from sun bleaching. If you want it to stay white looking, you have to "blanch" it by shading the cauliflower head from the sun as it matures.

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8. Blueberries are full of antioxidants but can require a lot of work to grow. If you haven't grown them at home, look to buy wild Ontario blueberries. They may be smaller, but have more taste.

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9. Too much water for fleshy fruits like tomatoes, peaches, plums and grapes as they ripen will dilute the flavour. Ease up on the watering as they mature for best taste and to prevent skin splits.

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10. Lost all your strawberries to chipmunks or squirrels? You can grow ever bearing strawberries in hanging baskets so they are harder to steal. At the end of each season you can "plant" the strawberries plants, in their containers, into the ground to over winter. Bury them just slightly deeper than the edge of the container and cover the top of the container with soil so you can no longer see the container or the soil in the container, but you can still see the plants.  Next spring when the ground thaws, you simply pull it out of the ground and hang it back up for another year of delicious strawberries!

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