Everyone wants to get delicious vegetables from their garden. For that, you need to harvest the plants when their flavour is at its peak. There’s no strict rule concerning the apt time to pick. Good vegetable flavour doesn’t depend on the colour and size. If you don’t get the correct combination of water, sun, and soil, then the vegetables might not taste their best. You can check out this article about the 6 most prevalent gardening mistakes.
Do you own a backyard garden? If yes, then you must know that there’s nothing like one single harvest time. You go ahead and pick the tomatoes when they are red. You choose the lettuce when it looks like salad size and yellow tomatoes when they are entirely yellow. There are other similar parameters for other vegetables as well. However, the truth of the matter is, that it’s difficult to dictate the best harvesting time for veggies in your backyard garden. It is more correct when you intend to pick the vegetables when they seem to be at their nutritional best.
Here you need to keep in mind a few important facts. For instance, the leafy salad greens tend to lose all vitamin C content they have within a maximum of two and three days after you have plucked them from the ground. You can well imagine the poor Vitamin C quantity you get to consume when you purchase the same from a supermarket. However, there are few rules that you can implement to harvest the homegrown vegetables in your garden.
1. Make sure that you harvest in the morning
The “a.m.” time is by far the best harvesting time. The vegetables that remain in the ground rehydrate every evening as well as overnight. It helps them to restore any lost moisture.
Additionally, overnight the herbs can transform the starches produced during the day to sugar. Hence, the harvest is crisper, juicier and sweeter early morning than in the afternoon.
2. It’s good to wait for a dry day
Don’t try to pull a vegetable out of the ground when it’s still wet as it might maximizes the chances of the food getting poisoned from the Listeria monocytogenes. This in turn can alter the taste of the vegetable and take away its natural fresh taste.
You need to wait for a minimum of 24 hours once you have watered the garden. Also, if there has been a downpour wait for 24 hours before you harvest. When you let that time pass the level of bacteria shrinks to the baseline, and your vegetables doesn’t pose any health risk.
3. Harvest only what you intend to consume soon
The moment you pick a cucumber or a tomato or pull a lettuce head or cabbage from the soil, its nutritional value starts to decrease slowly. Vitamin C is very delicate. Peas, for instance, lose almost a major half of the C24 nutrient when it crosses 48 hours after harvesting.
4. You have to harvest the vegetables at their peak
Make it a point to harvest the vegetables at their peak! Don’t go beyond it. Many won the county fair award for growing the biggest cucumber, but it might not be tasty at all. Several vegetables have a strong flesh, bitter flavour, and hard seeds, especially when they age. Cucumbers and zucchini taste better when they grow between six and ten inches.
You need to know some essential facts about other vegetables and their harvest times as well. They are as follows:
A large eggplant which looks shiny usually has a soft surface. You can feel it by applying mild pressure with your thumbnail. If the exterior bounces back, then the eggplant is overripe.
Make it a point to pull the carrots when their roots measure three-fourths to an inch in diameter.
Beans and peas
It is essential for beans and peas to look full and feel firm. They shouldn’t appear bulgy and yellow. When they are at their best, peas, taste sweet, and beans are sharp.
Lettuce leaves and cabbage
Harvest lettuce and cabbage when they appear similar to the ones you find in the supermarket. You must pick lettuce before the warm climate makes them taste bitter. Make sure to do away with the outer leaves of vegetables such as kale, spinach, and chard. Just in case the vegetables start to wilt, you will know that it’s losing out on Vitamin C.
You can learn the 9 ingenious tips to grow high quality hydroponic lettuce from this article.
You need to allow ample time for peppers to ripen. The moment you pick them, peppers stop the ripening process. The majority of green peppers mostly change to red peppers. That’s a sign that peppers have produced a right amount of lycopene, which is a red pigment. It’s a potent antioxidant that when consumed minimizes the chances of eye disorders, heart ailments, and cancer.
You need to pluck green tomatoes much before the first frost. However, if you let them ripen indoors, they might be less sweet. The quantity of Vitamin C also declines. However, the vegetable will be still lycopene-rich.
You need to start harvesting when the asparagus spheres measures between six to eight inches. Also, the thickness needs to be like a little (pinky) finger. You need to take them off at the ground level, and the spheres will keep growing. You must stop harvesting the vegetables four to six weeks after the first harvest. It will enable the plants to develop foliage and also produce food for themselves.
Generally, people consume the unopened broccoli flower buds. Therefore, you need to check it on a frequent basis when the weather warms up to make sure that the flower heads don’t bloom. You shouldn’t expect homegrown broccoli to become the size that you see in supermarkets. You need to start harvesting when the individual heads are close to the size of a match head. Once the initial harvest is over, the little side shoots will carry on forming.
Make The Best Choice When Harvesting
Every vegetable has their specifications concerning the apt harvest time. However, if you are planning to grow the above-mentioned vegetables in your garden, you can keep the guidelines discussed here handy to make the task easy.